New for model year 2020 is the Kia Telluride.
The Telluride is, like its corporate cousin Hyundai Palisade, a three-row, seven- or eight-passenger sport utility vehicle. Both vehicles entered the United States market recently. Palisade supposedly is the more luxurious SUV of the two. That is tough to tell as Telluride, even in its base configuration, has, for example, a plethora of safety features in addition to the usual antilock braking system, airbags and curtains, seatbelts partnering with headrests, stability and traction controls.
The standard additions for all models (LX, S, EX, SX) are blind spot monitor, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear park sensors, lane keep assist plus sensors detecting if children or a pet or two has been left unattended in back seats after exit has been made from the vehicle. This feature of interior sensors, which major manufacturers have agreed to install on vehicles by 2025, is on today's Telluride. It is primarily designed to protect children left strapped into a child's seat on a hot summer's day.
Another standard safety item is a lockout for rear doors when sensors detect a vehicle approaching too closely from the rear at a high rate of speed. Forward collision warning and blind spot detection also are standard.
Telluride is loaded with technical and electronic equipment. Sound and climate systems are easy to reach and understand. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. There are four drive modes, comfort, eco, sport and smart. All-wheel-drive is optional for the four trim levels. Prices, as suggested by the manufacturer range from $31,690 to $43,490 for the SX. It was the loaded SX with AWD which was tested recently.
As the top end model, the SX was dressed in 20-inch black-finished alloy wheels, LED headlights and front fog lights, a rear fixed sunroof in addition to the power-operated front tilt and sliding sunroof and second-row captain's chairs (a bench for seating for three in second row is on lesser trim levels). The SX also had upgraded 12-way power driver's seat (front passenger seat also is power), memory for driver's seat and outside foldable and heated exterior mirrors, leather trim, surround view of vehicle, parking distance warning and Harmon/Kardon surround sound system. The 10-inch color touchscreen serves AM-FM-satellite radio, smart phones and navigation system. A smart phone charger is standard.
The interior is laid out comfortably with a large center console to serve as an arm rest. Second row seats fold and they are one-touch slide and fold. Curiously, there is more leg room in the middle row (42.4 inches) than in the front row (41.4 inches). The 31.4 inches of leg room in the foldable third row is equivalent to that found in the rear seats of compact sedans. If that is of some relief to mid-sized three-row SUV buyers, so be it. Although confining, the third row is very functional for families with three or more older children.
A neat twist to the four drive modes is that if the AWD Telluride is in sport mode, the torque splits from 100 percent to the front wheels to a 65/35 split to front and rear wheels. During the test week, mostly in comfort mode and with two adults aboard, the Telluride averaged 22.1 miles per gallon in combined suburban and Interstate driving. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 4,482-pound SX at 19 mpg city, 24 highway and 21 combined.
With a ground clearance of eight inches, the Telluride can go off-roading. During the test week there were minor excursions and no difficulties were encountered.
Telluride and Palisade share the same powertrain, a 3.8-liter, 291-horsepower V6 mated to a shiftable automatic eight-speed transmission. There is no alternative engine. If that is a drawback, so be it. The two share the same platform but the Telluride is a tad wider and longer than the Palisade. The few inches do not affect leg room in front and rear two rows.
The Telluride SUV is named after an upscale ski resort in Colorado.
Vehicle: 2020 Kia Telluride
Type: three-row, seven-passenger, all-wheel-drive mid-size sport utility vehicle
As tested: $46,860 including $1,045 delivery
Engine: 3.8-liter, 291-horsepower, dual overhead cam V6
Transmission: eight-speed shiftable automatic
Towing: 5,000 pounds
Fuel tank: 18.8 gallons
Fuel: regular 87 octane or higher
Weight: 4,482 pounds
Tires (245), alloy wheels: 20-inch
Brakes: ventilated 13.4-inch discs front, solid 12-inch discs rear
Suspension (independent): struts, coil spring front, multilink rear, front and rear stabilizer bars
Curb-to-curb turning radius: 19.4 feet
Wheelbase, width, height with roof rails, ground clearance in inches: 114.2, 78.3, 69.3, 8
Leg room first, second and third rows in inches: 41.4, 42.4, 31.4
Cargo behind first, second and third rows in cubic feet: 87, 46, 21
Warranty: five years or 60,000 miles with roadside assistance, 10 years or 100,000 miles powertrain