The Kia Telluride's Fuel Economy Is Pretty Much Exactly What You'd Expect

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the kia tellurides fuel economy is pretty much exactly what youd expect

Built with the sprawling American lifestyle in mind, Kia’s range-topping Telluride doesn’t deploy any fancy tricks to lower its fuel consumption. With EPA fuel economy figures for the 2020 Telluride now out, the three-row midsizer can rest assured that few consumers will take its thirst as a selling point or deal breaker.

The Telluride begins arriving at Kia dealers this spring, though widespread availability of the model range won’t occur until later this year. It carries a single powertrain: Hyundai Motor Group’s naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6, mated to an eight-speed automatic. Power amounts to 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Front-drive is the standard setup, with all-wheel drive available for added security.

In front-drive guise, the EPA rates the Telluride at 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway/23 mpg combined, with AWD versions returning 19/24/21. Expect the Telluride’s Hyundai Palisade twin to boast similar numbers when it appears this summer.

In terms of FWD fuel consumption, the Telluride basically matches its Japanese competition, though the AWD Honda Pilot beats the AWD Telluride by 2 mpg highway and 1 mpg combined when equipped with a nine-speed automatic. The AWD Toyota Highlander sees an identical highway and combined advantage, though the difference isn’t likely to sway sales.

Given that the 2019 Ford Ranger nets a 22 mpg combined figure with its turbo 2.3-liter/10-speed auto combo, the upcoming 2020 Ford Explorer isn’t likely to blow the Telluride out of the water. As for the rest of the competition, Chevrolet’s big Traverse falls behind the Telluride by 2 mpg combined in front-drive form and 1 mpg in AWD guise. That’s when outfitted with the 3.6-liter V6, keep in mind. The AWD Telluride still beats the 2.0-liter, FWD Traverse by 1 mpg on the combined cycle.

There’s also the Volkswagen Atlas, which trails the Telluride in economy. While the 3.6-liter Atlas returns 19 mpg combined in both FWD and AWD guise, the rare 2.0-liter FWD model still falls behind its FWD Kia competitor by 1 mpg. Should automakers stop putting optional 2.0-liters in big, two-ton-plus crossovers?

Of course, hybrid options exist in this segment for eco-conscious consumers (just the Highlander right now, but the Explorer goes gas-electric for 2020), and in this field the Telluride does not apply. It’s ICE only for the time being.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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  • Ajs122 Ajs122 on Feb 19, 2019

    I'm a low milage retiree and lease a 2017 Sorento SX with FWD. using Mobil 1 and regular gas my V6 averages 21.5 MPG around town set in economy mode. on my road trip to DC last year @ 75MPH my gage cluster said consistantly 32MPG. dropping the speed to 70MPH the milage improved to 35MPG. not bad.

  • JayDub JayDub on Feb 19, 2019

    NEEDS SKID PLATES. And other off-road kit. Thank you.

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