Ace of Base: 2020 Kia Telluride LX

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

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.

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.

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.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 23 comments
  • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Mar 22, 2019

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

  • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Mar 22, 2019

    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.

  • Haze3 EV median weight is in the range of 4500-5500lbs, similar to the low end of full size pickup trucks and SUV's or typical mid-size PU's and SUV's. Obviously, EV Hummers and PU's are heavier but, on average, EV=PU or mid/full SUV is about right. EV's currently account for ~1% of the cars on the road. PU's account for 17% and SUV's count for over 40%. If we take out light SUV's, then call it 30% SUV or so. So, large-ish PU's and SUV's, together, account for ~50% of the US fleet vs 1% for EV's. As such, the fleet is ALREADY heavy. The problem is that EV's will be making the currently lighter 50% heavier, not that PU/SUV haven't already done most of the damage on avg mass.Sure, the issue is real but EV responsibility is not. If you want to get after heavies, that means getting after PU/SUV's (the current problem by 40-50x) first and foremost.
  • Redapple2 Telluride over Acadian (sic-tip cap-canada). 1 better car. 2 60 % us/can content vs 39 THIRTY NINE for an "American" car. 3 no UAW labor. Smart people drive Tellurides. Not so smart for the GMC. Dont support the Evil GM Vampire.!
  • Theflyersfan My dad had a 1998 C280 that was rock solid reliable until around 80,000 miles and then it wasn't. Corey might develop a slight right eyelid twitch right about now, but it started with a sunroof that leaked. And the water likely damaged some electric components because soon after the leaks developed, the sunroof stopped working. And then the electrical gremlins took hold. Displays that flickered at times, lights that sometimes decided illumination was for wimps so stayed home, and then the single wiper issue. That thing decided to eat motors. He loved that car but knew when to fold the hand. So he bought a lightly used, off lease E-class. Had that for less than two years before he was ready to leave it in South Philly, keys in the ignition, doors unlocked, and a "Take it please" sign on the windshield. He won't touch another Benz now.
  • Detlump A lot of people buy SUVs because they're easier to get in and out of. After decades of longer, lower, wider it was refreshing to have easier ingress/egress offered by an SUV.Ironically, the ease of getting in and out of my Highlander is very similar to my 56 Cadillac.
  • Redapple2 LP Michigan. Long straights. A long sweeper. 2 chicanes. 4 hard turns. Lenghts of each element are different but similar to LeMans.