Power291 HP / 262 LB-FT
DrivetrainFWD / AWD
Curb Weight4,112 LBS.
Cargo87.0 CU-FT Max
MPG21 - 23 MPG Combined
Warranty5-Year/60,000-mile limited, 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain
As Tested Price$46,860
When I first saw the 2020 Kia Telluride at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show press days, I was super impressed. It looked great on the show floor, the interior was roomy, materials were high-quality and details well attended to. I couldn't wait to show my wife, Cat, who has been looking to move from a Mercedes-Benz GLK into something a bit bigger.
The Tellurides were less accessible when Cat and I took our son, Wollie, to the public show, so I couldn't fully show off this new ute I thought was so cool. "Eh, it's a Kia," Cat said, despite my many previous attempts to convince her that the notion of crummy, boring, cheap Kias is a thing of the past. Anyway, I'd have to wait to get a Telluride from the press fleet to convince her further and to see if I even liked it as much on the road as I did seeing it on the show floor.
The day I brought it home, my 3-year-old son called — as he often does — around lunchtime to ask what car I'd be driving. When I said "Kia Telluride," he got excited. He's been a huge fan of our long-term Stinger (as well as an Optima we once rented in Arizona), so the Kia brand name impressed him. My wife, who was also on the line, had no reaction.
Driving it home, I fell in love with the Telluride, just as I expected I would. Our top-of-the-line SX-trim tester was nice, loaded with content, trimmed with what looked and felt to be high-quality materials. It took close inspection to see that the headliner isn't a soft microfiber, and that the wood trim is actually plastic. The Nappa leather upholstery is rich, and the seats supportive. The huge dual sunroof and gigantic windows give the cabin an open, airy feeling. I would be pushing for a Telluride as a future addition to Autoblog's long-term garage, as I could see myself enjoying this car for many a mile, with the space to serve many purposes.
When I got home, Wollie was eager to check the Telluride out. He climbed all through it, and marveled at the sheer amount of space it affords. He had the room to navigate freely from seat to seat and row to row. As a full-grown adult, I also found it fairly easy to navigate between the captains' chairs and get comfortable in the third row. I wouldn't recommend putting three adults in the back, but I'd be happy back there for shorter rides, or perfectly relaxed in the second row on long hauls. The Snyder boys were sold.
Cat came out to see it, and still wasn't impressed. She's wasn't in love with the exterior, which to her came off as something like a fake Louis Vuitton. She was particularly put off by the front fascia, including the Range Rover-like "Telluride" badging on the hood. I completely disagree, for what it's worth, but I'd come to appreciate this car quite a bit, and was hoping to show her why.
When she sat inside, I could see her begin to appreciate the ute a bit more. I pointed out the great visibility, the useful tech and the quality of the materials. She particularly liked the captains' chairs — she's got some sort of fixation for this sort of second-row setup for whatever reason.
Over the course of the weekend, I had the chance to drive it under a variety of conditions, and only came to love the thing more. The 3.8-liter V6 — which West Coast Editor James Riswick found slightly lacking at the lofty elevations of his first drive — felt perfectly ample making presumably its full 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque at Michigan's sub-1,000-foot elevation. The eight-speed transmission stayed out of the way, and I found the Telluride to be a quiet place of serenity between errands. Wollie was perfectly comfortable in his car seat, with room to swing his legs around as he sang softly to himself or asked me achingly innocent questions about life (and cars).
Just like my large son, the Telluride's size is a strength, and rarely a weakness. It is calm in corners, and surprisingly easy to maneuver in parking lots. The big windows help minimize blind spots, and helpful camera views — including a 360-degree virtual birds-eye view — let you park with confidence. Even with the third row up, there's a good amount of room for groceries (or, in my case, Autoblog's Urb-E scooter), and both rear rows drop flat with ease from the rear of the vehicle if you need more room.
Without actually having a reason to go anywhere, I urged Cat to come along for a ride with Wollie and me to see just how nice the Telluride experience was. Pay attention to the ride, I urged her. Take in the view from the windows. Listen to how quietly it moves down the road. Play with the infotainment. See what happens when I signal in either direction (a camera view of the corresponding side's blind spot displays on the central touchscreen — an impressive and useful trick). Inside the car she didn't have a negative thing to say about the Telluride, and neither did I.
I hadn't bothered to look at this Telluride's window sticker until I had driven it for a couple of days. How pleased I was, then, when I peeked at it to find our tester came in much lower than it felt, at $46,860 (the photos you see above are from our First Drive, but my tester appeared to be almost identically equipped). I'm not saying I'd pay far more for the Telluride, but it absolutely feels worth every penny at its price point. I made sure to point out the price to Cat. After spending some time inside the Telluride, I could see that figure impressed her, too, even if the exterior design still didn't (perhaps she'll like its fraternal twin, the Hyundai Palisade, better).
It has been a couple of weeks since I brought the Telluride home, and recurring issues with her current car have Cat talking about getting a new vehicle again. The Volvo XC90 has been at the top of her short list of cars to test drive, and still is. This time around, though, her list of cars to test included the Kia Telluride. Considering how aggravatingly particular Cat can be, I found that to be a ringing endorsement of this particular product. And when she does go to test drive it, she'll have me and Wollie in back, talking about how much we love the captains' chairs.