Written by Marco Carvajal
Photographs by Marco Carvajal and Jim Fleming
Sometimes we say a «new car» when an updated version from a previous car model is launched, but this time I really mean a completely new car. For the first time ever, the new Kia Telluride has arrived.
It is original and unique, but some are comparing the Telluride with a Range Rover. It looks a little bit similar to the British SUV, but the price on the Telluride cannot be beat by any other luxury SUV…starting at only $31,690 MSRP.
Kia Telluride 2020
Kia is a new player in the competitive U.S. SUV market with its powerful and luxury Telluride 2020, Kia’s largest SUV ever.
Back in January 2016, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we heard about the debut of a new concept by Kia. At that time the Telluride was just a very ambitious concept SUV, not ready for production yet. But today in 2019, three years later, the Kia Telluride is a reality.
Kia Motors America organized the National Press Introduction for the new Kia Telluride flagship SUV in March 2019 at the Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, located on the unique mountains and canyons of Gateway, Colorado. As a guest on the Telluride national press event I had the opportunity to test drive the new Telluride, all the way from Gateway, through scenic and historic roads towards the small and picturesque ski town of Telluride, Colorado, that gave his birth name to this new SUV.
The new Telluride is a mid size sport utility vehicle, elegant and Sophisticated. It combines breakthrough technology including the most advanced safety features, masculine beauty, and full functionality.
The Telluride is created in America, designed at Kia’s design studio in California, and assembled in Georgia. The Telluride is the largest Kia ever made in the US. After high quality production at the KIA/Hyundai West Point Plant in Georgia, now the Telluride is available for purchase at Kia dealers countrywide in the United States.
I drove the Telluride for several hours on all type of roads and weather, snow, ice, dry rocky roads, hills, and mountains, that allowed me to enjoy the power and adaptiveness of the Telluride. We even drove through a quick snow storm where any regular car could easily slip, but thanks to the Telluride snow mode it was safe and easy to drive on ice and snow. The 291 horse power and precision of the Telluride was more than enough to drive through any difficult roads and go up and down through the Colorado Canyons.
The Muscular look makes the Telluride very attractive on the road. It is one of the Longest SUVs on its segment. It was built for outdoor adventure with four drive modes and the optional electronically controlled AWD. It includes USB ports on each of the 3 seating rows.
The interior is so comfortable, luxury, elegant and spacious, the cabin is located in a great high position for greater wide view of the road.
The standard sound system on the first 3 trim models is a good quality 6 speaker, Four in-door speakers and two dash-mounted tweeters with dynamic audio, however for those who love premium audio quality you can enjoy Harman Kardon premium on the Telluride SX.
Harman Kardon 10-Speaker Premium Audio
The SX trim, the top of the line of the Telluride, includes a premium Harman Kardon audio system with a center speaker, 8″ subwoofer, and an external amplifier for maximum audio quality and power. This premium audio system delivers a deep rich bass, a full mid-range, and clear high frequencies. Harman’s advanced audio system includes Clari-Fi restoration technology that delivers music as it was intended to be heard on the original recording. Just because this audio upgrade and some other options standard, it is totally worth purchasing the higher trim Telluride SX.
The new 2020 Kia Telluride is available on 4 different trims (LX, S, EX and SX) with very reasonable pricing for a luxury SUV. The Telluride MSRP price ranges from $31,690 up to $41,490.
MSRP Starting Price:
- LX $31,690
- S $33,990
- EX $37,090
- SX $41,490
Even the SX top of the line is a bargain at a low price near $41K.
All the 4 different Telluride models include:
- 3.8-liter Lambda DOHC 24-valve V6
- 291 hp @ 6,000 rpm
- 262 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm
- Electronically controlled 8-speed automatic transmission and sportmatic sports shifter
- Towing capacity: 5,000 lb.
- Five or six USB charger ports.
- Three 12 V. power outlets
- Seven or eight passenger seats divided into three rows
- Reclining 3rd-Row Seats with 60/40 split-folding
- FWD standard and AWD optional
- Several standard safety features
The Telluride’s sophisticated exterior matches its luxury interior with a long broad hood and wide grille. The bold, stacked headlamps show power. Elegant inverted “L” tail lamps with LED stripes are standard on EX and SX trims, producing a beautiful accent on the exterior. Nameplates on the edge of the hood and on the liftgate for a strong brand identity. Sculpted rear skid plate with integrated twin exhaust tips match the off-road ability and power of the Telluride.
The EPA MPG Estimates for the FWD and AWD versions average 24 and 26 MPG. This is a very good and efficient fuel economy considering that the Telluride is a large mid size SUV.
Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) (City/Highway/Combined), 20/26/23 MPG
All-Wheel Drive (AWD) (City/Highway/Combined), 19/24/21 MPG
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.8 gallons.
FWD Standard, Optional All-Wheel Drive AWD
For an additional $2,000 you can upgrade your Telluride to Active On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) with AWD Lock and Snow Mode. All four Telluride models are FWD standard.
This advanced Active On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system uses electronic sensors to monitor road conditions and distribute the power of the Telluride into the appropriate wheels, for a balanced drive with optimal traction and control. In extreme conditions like when I was driving the Telluride through ice and snow in Colorado, I was able to activate AWD Lock and Snow Mode, providing optimal traction and great performance.
For those who have doubts about Kia’s high quality on recent years, the Telluride includes one of the best warranties you can ever find, Kia’s 10-year or 100,000-mile warranty program. Buyers will enjoy the confidence to know their Telluride is fully covered during 10 years with maximum 100,000 miles.
The SUV market is one of the largest growing automobile markets in the United States. Most car buyers in the U.S. want to own a nice and spacious SUV. Some of the main competitors for the Telluride are the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and Volkswagen Atlas, among other SUVs.
More expensive premium SUVs like the Range Rover or Porch Cheyenne also could suffer some loss from car drivers switching to the Telluride, especially considering all what you get for a low price, a much longer warranty and the very low cost of maintenance and repairs, typical of Kia.
The Telluride is a new car and is just starting its journey in the automotive market in the U.S., but it is forecast as a car that has been born to stay on the long run, and to be a winner, just like many other Kia’s already successful automotive products.