By on March 20, 2019

2020 Kia Telluride

Korean automakers have a history of labelling their crossovers and SUVs with names ripped from rugged-sounding towns of the American mid- and southwest. Witness the Santa Fe and Tucson. The newest entrant? Telluride. Even the little-known Borrego Pass got a nod during the five minutes in which Kia built a body-on-frame brute.

Until now, the most we’ve seen of the new Kia Telluride was that oddball New York fashion week thing, replete with a not-from-factory rear spare tire carrier and leather hood straps. Now that the build and price site’s gone live, we can see the model without all that froufrou. You know we’re most interested in the base LX model…

It matters not what trim one selects on the Telluride totem pole; a 3.8-liter V6 making 291 horsepower will be under its bonnet, backed by a real eight-speed automatic and not a miserable CVT. This is an excellent start for the LX, as a pay-to-play system rankles the budget shopper worse than rogue ATM fees. It makes that power on regular 87 octane unleaded, too. A 5,000-pound towing capacity is standard across the board, but be aware that all-wheel drive is a $2,000 option.

2020 Kia Telluride

Wearing a sticker price of $31,690 before inevitable destination fees, the front-drive 2020 Telluride LX is surely one of the cheapest ways in which to ferry eight passengers, save for corralling an octet of bicycles. An expansive 8.0-inch touchscreen handles infotainment duties, seeing fit to bundle in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety nannies like blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and lane keeping stand at the ready.

2020 Kia Telluride

Five USB ports and a trio of 12V outlets keep devices charged and kids (mostly) silent. Rear seat minions also get their own air conditioning and set of controls for such. Many leatherettes died to create the seating surfaces but real dead cow covers the steering wheel and gearshift knob. As is Kia’s wont, there are no option packages. Those who desire more features will have to step up to another trim level.

2020 Kia Telluride

Sadly, only two colors – Everlasting Silver and Gravity Grey – are no-charge choices. The other three, including a good-looking Sangria, cost $395. Your author seriously enjoys the silver TELLURIDE billboard on the hood’s leading edge, not unlike the one found on the Ford Flex.

Making solid value-for-money and value-for-passenger-volume plays, the new Telluride from Kia checks a lot of important boxes. All that’s left now is for us to drive one.

[Images: Kia Motors]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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23 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Kia Telluride LX...”


  • avatar
    TimK

    Amazing, a vehicle in 2019 with driver controls and gauges that seem to make sense. The listed towing capacity is good, but where is the hitch in the rear view photo?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I imagine the car is rated for that capacity, but the hitch receiver itself doesn’t come standard on the LX. You’d have to have one added aftermarket or by the dealer, plus the associated wiring if the hitch wasn’t for something menial (like a bike rack).

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      It’s a $475 option on the LX and S.

      EX and SX have a $795 package that includes self leveling rear suspension.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It looks so much like a GM Traverse/GMC Acadia for about the same price. Is it really a better option?

    • 0 avatar
      TimK

      You’ve obviously never driven a Traverse. I had one as a rental for a week, believe me anything is a better option.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Telluride is already on sale so I had the chance to check one out when my car was in for service.
      Trim-to-trim, I definitely think they feel more “upmarket” than the Traverse. You’re getting an Enclave for Chevy pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Ok, that’s why I asked the question, because based on looks alone the GM group of 3-seat crossovers is what Kia was aiming for, so they exceeded and excelled. That’s good to know

    • 0 avatar
      RSF

      I owned an Acadia. After pulling the engine three times and replacing the transmission, all in 70k miles, we figured it was time for it to go.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      “It looks so much like a GM Traverse/GMC Acadia for about the same price. Is it really a better option?”

      Not only does it look far better, it has a far better warranty. Easy choice for me, and I am a GM Guy.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Nice vehicle, but I’d have to go for the red color.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    I stumbled across this at the local auto show last week. Had no real interest in it just checking out what is available and it really surprised me. Felt much more upscale then it’s price would suggest. Far more so then the comparable ford or GM product. Even more so then the Pilot or Highlander.

    Honestly it’s on my short list to test drive when my lease is up next year. I was that impressed.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Kia’s new eight-seater has more design presence than any of GM’s large C1XX vehicles, including the new XT6.

    I particularly like how not-cheap this looks in base spec; the grey plastic cladding compliments the upright styling quite well. Moreover, it’s cleaner than its Pallisade sibling. Good job, Kia.

    Meanwhile, I can’t wait until some Beyonce song has the lyrics, “Tell your ride (Telluride) to come pick you up.”

  • avatar
    maui_zaui

    This is at the top of our list for our next family car. We’ll be chaperoning kindergarteners on field trips, but my wife refuses to acknowledge the existence of minivans. So that leads us to the next option which is a 7/8 seat CUV/SUV. I dig the Dark Moss paint and the yellow/amber DRLs on the SX trim. Looks are subjective, but to me it looks more distinct and “upmarket” than the competition. Alex on Autos posted a detailed video review last night for anyone interested.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Regarding the minivan….my wife was the same way, but we did end up getting one and it’s wonderful and she loves it. It replaced a Subaru Tribeca and for roughly the same sized vehicle it’s so much more practical. I like it as well….seriously it’s basically the same vehicle but with sliding rear doors and she now appreciates that. The Telluride is nice though. Had she gone for another crossover I may have pushed for it.

      • 0 avatar
        maui_zaui

        Totally agree about the convenience of the sliding doors. It’s a pain with swing doors when you’re sandwiched between two cars in a parking lot trying to get kids out of their car seats. So much easier with the sliding doors. I’ve always appreciated that fact and pointed it out to the wife whenever we happened to get a van as a rental during vacation. She remains unimpressed.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        My wife hated minivans until we borrowed my parents vans a few times. Now she wants one.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Looks like KIA finally figured out that tires do make a difference. I’ve been seeing more of their models being released with Michelin tires instead of Kuhmo, Nexen and Hankook’s they’ve used for quite some time.

    Looks like the Telluride gets a mix of Pirelli’s and Michelins.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      There are good Hankook and Kumho (not so much Nexens) and not so good Hankook and Kumho tires ; these days, German manufacturers shod some of their models w/ Hankooks and Kumhos.

      The worst OEM tire were probably the Continentals Genesis used on the G80s and G90s.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Yup. We have had many different tires on the Durango and for the summer we have gone back to Kumho tires. Good ride, good handling, good gas mileage and they last a decent amount of miles.

        Had Kumho tires on the Nissan and couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.

        Those weren’t as bad as the Eagle LS all season tires that came on the sedan. Those were the most horrible tire once it got below 50*.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Based on the early reviews, seems like the Telluride is the one to beat compared to the likes of the Ascent, Atlas and Pilot (the current Highlander is a bit too small to be considered a true competitor).

    Overall, seems to be a better package than the Palisade.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Daddy likes the EX for the middle bench and would get AWD plus the leveling suspension.

    Why do we as a nation insist that our full-size wagons have so much ground clearance? Sigh…

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Seems like maybe you should drive it before proclaiming it Ace of Base, no??

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    I’ve now seen several Tellurides on the road, and the taillights are the major letdown on the base models. Cheapo looking incandescent, you know, the forefront of lighting tech in about 1935. The higher level models with LED tails look about 10 classes higher just from that one simple feature.


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