The near-twin sibling to the all-new 2020 Hyundai Palisade is the Kia Telluride. It’s a large, bold, capable and comfortable, midsize SUV that opens the door to exploring in a whole new way. Imagined in America, designed at Kia’s design studio in California, and assembled in in the USA, the Telluride conjures up ideas about big skies, desert roads, mountain passes, shady forests, smooth highways, and long coastal drives.
Comparisons with the Hyundai Palisade stop pretty much at the shared architecture and platform. We’ve driven both, and can say confidently that the Palisade and Telluride are both unique and different in their own way.
This is the largest Kia ever, and it provides comfortable seating for up to eight, a powerful 291-hp 3.8-liter V6, available active on-demand all-wheel drive, and an inspiring view of the world. In short, the Telluride offers potential for exploration and adventure every time it’s on the road.
Pricing starts at MSRP $31,690. Our fully-equipped SX V6 all-wheel drive test vehicle, which included nearly every available option was priced at $43,490 with the SX Prestige package adding another $2,000 on top of that. Fuel economy EPA estimates range from 19-mpg to 24-mpg.
Telluride is built at Kia’s manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia, alongside certain trims of the Sorento and Optima. Telluride is available in four trims, LX, EX, S and SX with a choice of front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive.
Telluride is the first Kia designed specifically for the U.S. and is a product of the Kia Design Center in Irvine, CA. From the first pencil stroke it was meant to convey the kind of presence associated with the original legendary SUVs – big, bold and boxy – and the go-anywhere, do-anything attitude their square, burly-shouldered shapes suggested. The Telluride’s sophisticated exterior accents also hint at its interior luxury.
The Telluride interior is designed to continue the impression of upscale exploration. Telluride is engineered to be capable in a variety of driving conditions and provide a driving experience that is enjoyable and confidence-inspiring. Among the many factors that contribute to the Telluride’s composed ride and performance are:
• Atkinson Cycle LAMBDA II 3.8L V6 GDI engine producing 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm
• 8-speed automatic transmission
• Four-wheel independent suspension
• Strong, stiff, and torsionally rigid body structure due to the monocoque shell that is composed of 59.4 percent advanced high-strength steel
• Self-leveling rear suspension. Ride height is automatically calibrated depending on vehicle load to optimize control and stability (optional on EX and SX)
• Choice of four drive modes – Smart, Eco, Sport and Comfort.
• Available active on-demand all-wheel drive.
• Standard towing rated up to 5,000 pounds.
• Downhill Brake Control maintains a controlled descent on steep roads.
Planning the Telluride interior, Kia designers set out to create an upscale cabin with an abundance of premium materials, attention to detail, and an array of convenient features including:
• Available double-stitched, quilted and extra-padded Nappa leather trim upholstery
• Simulated brushed metal and matte-finished wood
• Interior hooks to keep packs and bags off floor and away from feet
• Available heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats
• Ceiling-mounted second-row climate control
• HVAC diffusing ceiling vents provide wider spread of airflow for increased comfort
• Reclining third-row seats
• Leather-wrapped, tilt and telescoping steering wheel
• Available heated steering wheel
Telluride is packed with high-tech, advanced automotive technology, including the “Kia Drive Wise” suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment, highlights of which are listed below:
• Available 10.25-inch color touchscreen with rear view monitor and parking guidance
• Available 630-watt, 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM) with Quantum Logic Surround Sound and Clari-Fi.
• Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
• 7 airbags (dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, driver's side knee air bag)
• Vehicle Safety Systems (such as Antilock braking, Vehicle stability management, Downhill brake control, Electronic stability control, Hill-start assist control, Tire pressure monitoring system).
• “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (including Forward Collision Warning and Avoidance, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor and much more).
Overall, we like the Telluride. It has an everyday livability character that just seemed to fit into our daily drives very nicely. Even though it’s classified as “mid-size,” it is a large SUV. Its mass seems to be on par with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Explorer, but it’s easy to drive and park.