2020 Kia Telluride Preview

The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
January 14, 2019

The 2020 Kia Telluride looks good, but it may need more than that to lure buyers from more established three-row crossover SUVs.

With the 2020 Telluride, Kia dealers now have a full-size, three-row crossover SUV capable of hauling a family of eight while tugging a 5,000-pound trailer.

The 2020 Kia Telluride that debuted at the 2019 Detroit auto show is a close relative to the Hyundai Palisade unveiled last fall. The Telluride fills a gap in Kia’s lineup. Not since the short-lived Borrego has Kia had a crossover SUV bigger than its Sorento.

Like the Palisade, the Telluride uses a 3.8-liter V-6 rated at 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque to send power to either the front or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Kia hasn’t released fuel economy or curb weight figures for the Telluride, but its horsepower rating is on par with most rivals.  

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The Telluride launches later this year in LX, EX, S, and SX trim levels. Kia is keeping its lips sealed on pricing, but it’s likely to be competitive with rivals such as the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

Boxy design cues outside hint at a separate ladder frame underneath, but the 2020 Telluride has a car-like unibody construction and a four-wheel independent suspension. It’s not likely to tackle difficult trails, though snow and four-wheel-drive lock modes should make it adept at handling wintry weather.

EX and SX trims offer a self-leveling rear suspension for heavier loads in the cargo area or trailer towing.

Inside, the 2020 Telluride has a wide, low dashboard. Its front seats are separated by a broad console. Range-topping Tellurides have seats draped in leather that are heated and cooled in both the first and second rows. The Telluride seats eight with the standard three-seat second-row bench. The optional individual captain’s chairs drop that figure to seven passengers.

Kia hasn’t said how much cargo or passenger space the 2020 Telluride has, but the 18 cubic feet of space behind the related Palisade’s third row and 46 cubic feet behind its second row are good indicators. Those figures are strong against the wide range three-row crossover SUVs vying for a driveway spot in suburban America.

2020 Kia Telluride technology and safety

An optional 10.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment takes center stage on the dashboard and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Telluride comes standard with five USB ports and offers a sixth as an option. A wireless charging pad, a multi-Bluetooth system that can connect to two devices at the same time, and a head-up display are optional, too.

One trick up the Telluride’s sleeve is an optional system that lets second and third row passengers turn off audio output at the touch of a button.

Kia doesn’t skimp on active safety gear. In addition to seven airbags, the Telluride comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warnings, active lane control, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, automatic rear braking, and a driver attention monitor. Blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and automatic high-beam headlights are optional.

An advanced child safety lock system for the rear doors can detect vehicles approaching the Telluride from the rear and will automatically keep the doors locked until the coast is clear.

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