Why Is the Kia Telluride So Popular?

It’s not very often that a single car ends up defining an automotive brand, but in the past year, the 2020 Kia Telluride has single-handedly solidified the South Korean automaker as being a brand that knows what it’s doing. Kia has been the butt of jokes since the early 2000s as its beginnings mainly consisted of having a sub-par build quality in its products and less-than-average ratings in almost every segment they competed in. Now, Kia is making its way up to the front seat and it has its venerable three-row SUV to thank for it. But why is the Kia Telluride so popular?

The Kia Telluride is also known as the “Sell-U-Ride”

2020 Kia Telluride driving in the country
2020 Kia Telluride | Kia

According to Automobile Magazine, Kia’s Director of Corporate Communications, James Bell, once said that the internal nickname for the Telluride is the “sell-u-ride,” in reference to a monstrous amount of sales success that Kia has experienced with the SUV in the past year. Kia launched the Telluride in the Spring of 2019 as a 2020 year model and sales came pouring in from the beginning. In its first full month of sales, Kia sold 5,080 copies of the SUV and the numbers held steady throughout the year, increasing to over 6,000 per month by the end of the year.

According to Bell, most Telluride units are only on dealer lots for a maximum of 7 to 9 days and with such a quick turnover time, it’s been tough for dealers to keep them on the lots, which means there’s even a waiting list for them at some dealerships. In order to meet the demand, Kia is now planning to increase its production to 100,000 units per year, according to CNET. That sounds like a good idea, considering the automaker sold more than 58,000 units last year, and it hadn’t even in production for the whole year yet.

RELATED: How to Choose Between the Kia Telluride and Sorento

2020 Kia Telluride
2020 Kia Telluride | Kia

What’s so great about the Kia Telluride?

With all this popularity and demand, it’s easy to wonder what exactly is so great about the Kia Telluride. From what we can tell, the keyword in the Telluride’s success is “value.” While the Korean automaker has been known for being able to include a lot of features in its cars and price them much lower than their Japanese rivals, the Telluride is basically the poster child of providing such great value. With its competent driving dynamics, handsome interior, and wealth of luxurious features at a price that tops out around $45,000, we can get a much clearer picture as to why so many people like it.

RELATED: 20,000 Miles Later and the Kia Telluride Still Is Unmatched

One such person is our own Editor in Chief, Bridget DeMeis, who recently purchased a 2020 Kia Telluride SX and has nothing but good things to say about it:

“I love how high-end it feels, both inside and out, but I didn’t have to pay a luxury price to get everything it comes with. I honestly get excited every time I see my Telluride across the parking lot when I’m out running errands. It feels like Kia thought of every detail and how it would impact someone driving the vehicle. I haven’t had a single moment yet where I stopped and thought, ‘oh, I wish my car had this or I wish they made that differently.’”

That likely sums up almost every Telluride owner’s thoughts on the car. But the praise even echoes among the folks over at Car and Driver. In talking about their long-term Telluride test car, they stated, “More than halfway through its 40,000-mile test, the Telluride’s exterior styling, and interior finish can still surprise and impress us the way it did the first time we drove it.” In that case, it’s probably safe to say that the Kia Telluride’s charms will likely withstand the test of time as well.

RELATED: Is the Kia Telluride Nightfall Edition Worth The Luxury Price?

The 2020 Kia Telluride's grey cloth interior
2020 Kia Telluride interior | Kia

Will the Kia Telluride remain popular for years to come?

It’s hard to tell whether or not a car will be a perennial superstar or a one-hit-wonder within its first couple of years on the market. However, considering the phenomenal sales success that Kia has been having with the Telluride and the immediate love that owners have fallen into, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Telluride charges right through the rough waters in such a burgeoning and competitive segment.