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2020 Kia Telluride Silver Water Image sm

2020 Kia Telluride

Kia Telluride Wins 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year

The All New Kia Telluride continues to pick up industry awards at an unprecedented rate.  Today’s announcement of the prestigious North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award adds to the list that already includes:

  • Edmunds: 2020 Top Rated SUV.
  • Car and Driver: Winner of 10 Best for 2020
  • Motor Trend: 2020 SUV of the year
  • Kelly Blue Book: 2020 Best Buy Award Winner
  • US News and World Report: Top Midsize SUV for 2020
  • IIHS: Top Safety Pick Award (with LED Headlight option)


Review: The 2020 Kia Telluride Leads the Pack

The new Kia Telluride has established itself as the leader in the mid/full size SUV category.  With bold exterior styling, a feature laden interior, and impressive safety scores, Kia’s first attempt in this category is a very successful one.  One way to tell is to try to buy one.  There are waiting lists at dealers across the country, and even some dealers incorporating the dreaded “dealer markup”, the legal, but controversial practice of tacking on additional profit above the sticker price.  This is usually only done on the most in-demand vehicles.

Exterior Styling

The exterior is nicely chiseled and has an imposing profile from nearly any angle.  The T E L L U R I D E stretched across the front and rear is a bold move.  Manufacturers usually reserve this strategy for when they’ve got a name and a vehicle that eclipses the actual brand.  In this case, it was the right move.  Ask an owner what they drive, and they’ll say “Telluride” not Kia.  As Kia upgrades the rest of their lineup, that will likely change, but for now, that’s a good thing.


The interior has all the comfort and technology you’d expect from an upscale SUV.  Seating in all positions is comfortable for real-sized adults, and that includes the final of the three rows, which even comes with a recline feature.  The front two rows also add heating and air conditioning options.  There are both seven and eight passenger configurations available, with the former placing two well-spaced captain’s chairs in the second row.

The technology features are abundant, and mostly accessed through the excellent 8-inch touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  And when it comes to technology and features, you have to look at what’s standard in even the base LX model (Starting MSRP of $31,890).  It’s an extensive and impressive list, that includes:

  • Blind Spot Collision Avoidance
  • Bluetooth
  • Five USB Charger Ports
  • Heated Mirrors
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA)
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • One-Touch Sliding & Folding 2nd-Row Seats
  • Power Door Locks with Speed Sensing Lock and Impact Sensing Unlock
  • Power Windows with 1st and 2nd-Row One-Touch Auto-Up/Down
  • Privacy Glass
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • Rear Occupant Alert (ROA)
  • Rear Passenger Air Conditioning w/ Controls
  • Rear View Monitor w/ Dynamic Parking Guidance
  • Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop and Go (SCC)
  • Smart Key w/ Push-Button Start and Immobilizer
  • Solar Control Glass
  • Sound-Absorbing Windshield Glass
  • Steering-Wheel Controls for Audio, Hands-Free Cell Phone and Smart Cruise Control Buttons
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • USB Input Jack
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)

When you move up to the S model which has a starting MSRP of $34,290, you’ll add:

  • 10-Way Power Driver’s Seat with Power Adjustable Lumbar Support
  • 20-inch Machine Finished Alloy Wheels,
  • 245/50R20 Tire Upgrade
  • 7-Passenger Seating w/ 2nd-Row Captain’s Chairs
  • Body Color and Satin Chrome Door Handles
  • Dark Metallic Front Grille
  • Dual Chrome Exhaust Tips
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Leather Gearshift Knob
  • LED Map and Room Lights
  • Power Sunroof
  • Premium Silver Finish Front and Rear Skid Plate
  • Satin Chrome Front Bumper Air Duct
  • Satin Chrome Lower Door Moldings
  • Satin Chrome Window Surround
  • Silver Finish Low Profile Roof Rails
  • Split-Folding 2nd-Row Seats 50/50

The next model is the EX with a starting MSRP of $37290, which adds:

  • 10.25-inch Touch-Screen Display
  • 2nd Row Integrated Window Sunshades
  • 8-Way Power Passenger’s Seat
  • Auto De-Frost System
  • Automatic Temperature Control for Rear Passengers
  • Body Color Door Handles
  • Chrome Window Surround
  • Driver Talk Feature
  • Dual-Zone Climate Control
  • Highway Driving Assist (HDA)
  • Leather Seating Trim
  • LED Rear Combination Lights
  • Machined Finish 18-inch Alloy Wheels
  • Power Fold Outside Mirrors
  • Quiet Mode Feature
  • Rearview Mirror Auto Dimming
  • Six USB Charging Ports
  • Smart Power Liftgate Feature
  • Sound-Absorbing Front Window Glass
  • Tire Upgrade to 245/60R18
  • UVO link Including Enhanced Navigation
  • Ventilated Front Seats Surfaces
  • Wireless Phone Charging Area
  • Woodgrain Accents Throughout Interior

And finally, the top of the line SX with a starting MSRP of $41,790 gives you:

  • 10-Speaker Premium Audio by Harman Kardon® inc Clari-Fi™, External Amp and Subwoofer
  • 50/50 Split-Folding 2nd-Row Seats
  • 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Color LCD Display Supervision Meter Cluster
  • 7-Passenger Seating w/ 2nd-Row Captain’s Chairs
  • Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror including HomeLink®
  • Black Sport Finish 20-inch Alloy Wheels,
  • Blind-Spot View Monitoring System (BVM)
  • Body Color and Satin Chrome Door Handles
  • Dual Sunroof Option
  • Forward Parking Distance Warning -(PDW-F)
  • High Beam Assist Feature (HBA)
  • Integrated Memory System (IMS) for Driver’s Seat
  • LED Front Fog Lights
  • LED Projector Beam Front Headlights
  • Power-Adjustable Driver’s Seat (12-Way) plus Two Way Power Lumbar Support
  • Satin Chrome Finish Low Profile Roof Rails,
  • Satin Chrome Window Surround
  • Stainless-Steel Door Sill Scuff Trim Option
  • Stainless-Steel Driver Pedals
  • Surround View Monitor (SVM)
  • Tilt-Down Outside Mirrors for Reverse
  • Tire Size Upgrade to 245/50R20

All models are standard with two-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is a $2000 option.

In addition to all the features found in the new Telluride, the interior also extremely spacious.  The versatile interior has twenty-one cubic feet of cargo area when the third row is up, and when folded down, this expands to 87 cubic feet. These numbers are even more impressive when you compare them to the cargo room in similar sized SUVs.


The Telluride includes and extensive list of safety features, as outlined in the features list above.  There are both active and passive safety systems that should help to keep you out of an accident and keep you safe should you be in one.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives it a Top Safety Pick designation (when equipped with the LED headlights), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association gives it a five-star overall rating in any trim level for both the two and four wheel drive versions.

Power/Fuel Economy/Warranty

All Telluride models come equipped with a 3.8-liter 24 valve V6 and are rated at 291 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque.  This power plant is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission which nets an EPA rating of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway.  All models of the Telluride have a towing capacity of 5000 lbs.  

All Kias come with a five-year warranty and an industry leading ten-year powertrain warranty.  Kia has confidence in the longevity of their vehicles, and their warranty puts their money where their mouth is.


This is one impressive SUV.  In addition to all the awards listed, it came away as top choice for mid/full size SUV at Mudfest, an award that shows the Telluride can handle the rough stuff too, and an award that gives it instant street cred.

The new Telluride is one more piece of evidence that shows that Kia’s been on a roll lately.  With their industry leading safety scores and dozens of high-profile awards (like this latest one) including the coveted JD Power Initial Quality Award -where they’ve won for mass market brands for five years in a row, they’ve put the automotive world on notice.