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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Quick Drive: 2020 Kia Telluride SX AWD

      Kia brings a credible challenger to the large SUV field...

    2020 Kia Telluride-4.jpgAt an event in May, I got to spend some time with the 2020 Kia Telluride. The Telluride is an all-new model for Kia, though it is based on the Kia Sorento’s platform.  Being a good bit longer than the 7-passenger Sorento, it is substantially roomier inside, allowing for 7 or 8 passenger configurations depending on trim level.  The version I tested was the top of the line SX package with all-wheel drive and an additional Prestige Package.  Kia makes standard a whole host of active safety equipment.  Thankfully, I didn’t get to test any of the more important ones. One important safety feature on my shopping list is Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, and the Kia has it standard.

    On appearance alone, Kia is going to have a hit on their hands.  Though on the same platform as the Kia Sorento, the Telluride strikes a handsome square and almost truck-like silhouette. The overall look is of a vehicle even bigger than it is. Up front are an attractive set of headlight clusters with yellow surround daytime running lamps. As this is a new entry to the segment, Kia spells out the model name across the front of the hood making sure you know what model vehicle it is.  It still manages to look classy. My tester had the black 20-inch wheels, LED headlamps, and rear fix-glass sunroof that comes with the SX trim level.  

    2020 Kia Telluride-6.jpgBecause this was the top of the line SX with Prestige Package, it came with beautiful Napa leather chairs, second-row captain chairs, heads up display, and premium cloth headliner and sun visors.  The overall fit and finish of my tester was excellent. Switchgear is nicely weighted and has a premium, if not luxury, feel to it. The styling inside is handsome if conservative, and passengers could be fooled into thinking they were in a vehicle of higher pedigree.  While it is roomier than the Sorento, is it still smaller than some of its primary competition. The Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, and Buick Enclave all boast roomier interiors.  Still, second-row comfort was good and third-row accessibility is acceptable, though best left to the kids.

    My experience with the Telluride’s 10-inch infotainment system was limited, however, it is based on the same UVO system found in their other vehicles.  Even in its native modes, I find Kia UVO to be one of the easier systems to use, but if you use the included Android Auto and Apple Car Play most often, you won’t be in the native system much anyway.

    2020 Kia Telluride-1.jpgThe only engine option on the Kia Telluride is a 291 horsepower 3.8 liter direct-injected V6.  Torque comes in at 261 lb-ft, about average for this segment.  Coupled to the engine is an 8-speed automatic, and if you check the box for an additional $2,000, you get an active AWD system.  The system constantly monitors traction and via a controller in the cabin, the driver can select between 80/20 (Comfort and Snow), 65/35 (Sport), and 50/50 (Lock, best used for off-roading).  If you do care to do off-roading, you have 8-inches of ground clearance to play with. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds which again is pretty much the expected capacity for the segment. EPA fuel economy is rated at 19 city / 24 highway / 21 combined.  The 2020 Telluride has not yet received a crash test rating.

    Though the engine only puts out 261 lb-ft of torque, the 8-speed automatic makes quick work of it and acceleration is sufficient at a reported 7.1 seconds.  Engine noise is hushed and refined.

    2020 Kia Telluride-5.jpgOne of my favorite things about the Kia Telluride is its ride. The suspension is soft and comfortable.  The big 20-inch wheels can slam hard if one hits some more serious potholes, but overall this is one of the nicest riding big SUVs.  That soft suspension does have a downside; body roll and handling are not what you would call sporting. Though the steering is precise and well weighted, the big Kia hefts and leans through corners. Take it slow with grandma in the back and all will be well.  The towing package adds a hitch receiver and a load leveling suspension.

    Kia is not a brand known for luxury vehicles, but in SX Prestige trim, this Telluride can certainly count as one.  That leads us to the price. At $46,860 after destination charges, the Telluride handily undercuts the competition, some of which don’t even offer the level of active safety technology the Kia offers as standard.  If you’re shopping in the large SUV segment, the Kia Telluride is definitely one to add to your test drive list.

    Year: 2020
    Make: Kia 
    Model: Telluride
    Trim: SX
    Engine: 3.8L Gasoline Direct Injected V6
    Driveline: All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 291 hp @ 6,000 rpm
    Torque @ RPM: 262 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm 
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/24/21
    Curb Weight: 4482 lb.
    Location of Manufacture: West Point, GA
    Base Price: $31,690
    As Tested Price: $45,815
    Destination Charge: $1,045

    Options:
    SX Prestige Package - $2,000
    Carpeted Floor Mats - $210
    Carpeted Cargo Mat w/ Seat Back Protection - $115

    Kia provided the 2020 Telluride during an event for the International Motor Press Association.
    Click any of the pictures to enlarge

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    Kia definitely checked off the popularity box because I am seeing more and more of them around here (not sure what that means nationally though). 

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    I have to say, I tested out 9 vehicles that day and the Telluride is the one that made the biggest impression on me. 

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    Just saw a new one this morning running errands, first I have seen in the wild. Sharp looking and green is very popular here in the greater Seattle Area.

    Agree, I think they checked all the right popular boxes of what this auto needed and while the engine is no rock star for power, it is enough to motivate the SUV to move.

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    Love this in the green color.  I would have one if I could look past some things.  Third row seat would be permanently folded down.  Also, I understand it has pretty decent off-road ability, TFL tested it on their hill climb course and came away with a positive review as well.

    I believe that every AWD CUV needs a system that is fully effective in any on-road weather condition (some are clearly better than others), but when one also can handle moderate off-roading, it earns extra points in my book.

    I read where Kia may put together an upgraded off-road package for the Telluride.  Will be interesting to see it go against the 2020 Acadia AT4.

    Edited by ocnblu

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    Too bad a similarly equipped Acadia Denali or a Traverse Premier would cost at least $5000 more.  I wonder what is missing from this top-level Telluride.

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    Still shocks me a bit that Kia and GMC are being seriously compared.  Makes me sad for GMC.

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    1 hour ago, ocnblu said:

    Love this in the green color.  I would have one if I could look past some things.  Third row seat would be permanently folded down.  Also, I understand it has pretty decent off-road ability, TFL tested it on their hill climb course and came away with a positive review as well.

    I believe that every AWD CUV needs a system that is fully effective in any on-road weather condition (some are clearly better than others), but when one also can handle moderate off-roading, it earns extra points in my book.

    I read where Kia may put together an upgraded off-road package for the Telluride.  Will be interesting to see it go against the 2020 Acadia AT4.

    All they need to do is have a Trail Rated Test Package version like Jeep and this would truly Rock! :metal:

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    Bummer that the SX Prestige Package is only available in black on this SUV.

    image.png

    This just makes no sense to me to limit these features to just lousy black. :( 

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    I think they will sell a lot of these.  I suspect the Hyundai Palisade will sell well also.  They both look good, they both are packed with content and both cost less than most of the rivals.   The Atlas and Ascent I think are mostly just to appeal to existing VW and Subaru owners that need a 3rd row, they don't really make any breakthroughs.  The  Hyundai/Kia cousins I think came to conquest sales.

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    20 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Bummer that the SX Prestige Package is only available in black on this SUV.

    image.png

    This just makes no sense to me to limit these features to just lousy black. :( 

    The Nappa leather is just not available in certain colors. 

    1 hour ago, riviera74 said:

    Too bad a similarly equipped Acadia Denali or a Traverse Premier would cost at least $5000 more.  I wonder what is missing from this top-level Telluride.

    Not much, if anything. 

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    Since this is my first review in a while, would those of you with twitter or Facebook mind sharing this or sharing the tweets and FB posts I already made?  Trying to get into this more full time, but I need page views to do that. 

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    Look how much nicer finished the Kia Sorento load area is, compared to the Acadia.  GM, WTH has happened to you?

     

    8-2017-kia-sorento-213-ms-1535564116.jpg

    9-2017-gmc-acadia-151-cdams-1535564115.jpg

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    5 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    Look how much nicer finished the Kia Sorento load area is, compared to the Acadia.  GM, WTH has happened to you?

     

    8-2017-kia-sorento-213-ms-1535564116.jpg

    9-2017-gmc-acadia-151-cdams-1535564115.jpg

    I think the word you are looking for is DGAF.  As in GM DGAF about certain details while other automakers do.

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    Love the Telluride. Not a single person we're referred to it is anything less than thrilled.

    Money spent on design, refinement, quality of materials, and keeping features standard, not optional, with a great 3.8L V6 & 8-speed underhood, plus a real AWD system that can handle more than...say a Highlander, etc. that'll just spin.

    Biggest market challenge, to others: the Telluride is far NICER, yet at a "normal" far lower price point.

    Look at a Telluride S AWD, with the bigger great looking wheels, and leatherette. It looks nearly identical to the high end SX, yet can be found for a $36-38k sticker...

    Kia got the message, antithesis of GM and others, that keep the prices in line, and spend effort maximizing the vehicle, and you'll get it.

    The only other vehicle in this class priced similarly, and even not as low in ways vs. trim level, is the Subaru Ascent. Both max out around $46-47k with EVERYTHING.

    Yet...these drive nicer, are far more refined, are better built, have more features, are higher quality than...a $45-59k Traverse, a $45-60k+ Enclave, an all over the place Explorer price. You can say "but incentives..." all you want, but that's such a head in the clouds, and they're still thousands more, for less.

    And like Drew said after real experience...this vs. an Acadia? 😂 No comparison. Cargo area trimming above is only a small item.

    We drove a Sorento last year, when testing Traverse replacements, and out of 8 crossovers..."GM only mom", put it in 2nd place next to the Jeep Grand Cherokee she ended up buying. "It drove the best, the power was great, the features and interior seemed the best design...I really liked it, but the Jeep is just more overall what I want."

    Go...Telluride👌

     

    Edited by caddycruiser
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    2 minutes ago, ykX said:

    @Drew Dowdell Out of curiosity, have you driven the new Explorer?

    If you did, how it compares to Telluride?

    I have not yet.  I had a conflict and couldn't make it to the test drive event.   What I can say is that the interior of the Telluride is still nicer than the Explorer.  Explorer, for it's good looks, still had some cheapness built into the interior. 

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    @Drew Dowdell thanks!

    How about Hyundai twin?  Or is it going to be a separate review?

    Personally, I like externally Hyundai a little more than Kia.

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    Just now, ykX said:

    @Drew Dowdell thanks!

    How about Hyundai twin?  Or is it going to be a separate review?

    Personally, I like externally Hyundai a little more than Kia.

    No, they haven't been at an event that I've been at yet.   They are mechanically identical, so I would expect the performance to be the same. Maybe some slight differences in suspension tuning, but I don't know that for a fact.   It may just come down to taste, I like the interior and exterior of the Telluride better than the Palisade.   My only experience with the Palisade was on the show floor in LA in November... so my recollection of the interior is a bit foggy. 

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    I got to play with one as one was one of my bosses rental. It is nice, and I see more of them every day.

    Kia rolls out a few more of theses, and and pretty much makes GMC irrrelivent .....

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    On 6/25/2019 at 12:21 AM, daves87rs said:

    I got to play with one as one was one of my bosses rental. It is nice, and I see more of them every day.

    Kia rolls out a few more of theses, and and pretty much makes GMC irrrelivent .....

    Agreed. Normal customer goes to see the Telluride then "let's check out an Acadia too..."

    Jogs back to Kia. No contest.

    Having seen the Hyundai Palisade now, meh. Same guts & size, semi weird bubble styling, no shifter, etc. The Kia still wins for me overall, in size, shape, fit, and such. But glad to see both give 2 different flavors, with far more quality, refinement, etc. for thousands less than the competition. Tellurides are all over NY.

    Dealer I visited in Buffalo area last week..."it's great. We only have 2 left right now, and good example, last night a customer with a newer Q7 came in and said "I'm over the Audi. Tried it. I need a Telluride. Can you get me one?" Taking orders and doing swaps as much as they can to keep up.

    Edited by caddycruiser
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    1 hour ago, caddycruiser said:

    Agreed. Normal customer goes to see the Telluride then "let's check out an Acadia too..."

    Jogs back to Kia. No contest.

    Having seen the Hyundai Palisade now, meh. Same guts & size, semi weird bubble styling, no shifter, etc. The Kia still wins for me overall, in size, shape, fit, and such. But glad to see both give 2 different flavors, with far more quality, refinement, etc. for thousands less than the competition. Tellurides are all over NY.

    Dealer I visited in Buffalo area last week..."it's great. We only have 2 left right now, and good example, last night a customer with a newer Q7 came in and said "I'm over the Audi. Tried it. I need a Telluride. Can you get me one?" Taking orders and doing swaps as much as they can to keep up.

    Yep, and my favorite part being cheaper as well! I think they could throw on some light rebates and really move these well!

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    I’ve seen a couple on the road by me, they look presentable. But the standard driver safety features would make it a hard ‘no’ for me.

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      Engine: 2.0L 16-Valve DOHC VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 169 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/37/33
      Curb Weight: 3,307 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $40,260
      As Tested Price: $41,285 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation System with 10.3-in Color Multimedia Display - $2,200.00
      F-Sport Premium Package - $975.00
      Power Rear Door w/Kick Sensor - $600.00
      Premium Paint - $595.00
      Parking Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert w/Braking - $565.00
      Blind Spot Monitor - $500.00
      Head Up Display (HUD) - $500.00
      Heated F Sport Steering Wheel w/Paddle Shifters - $150.00
      Windshield Deicer - $100.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00
    • By Drew Dowdell
      MONTH OF DECEMBER YEAR-TO-DATE Model 2019 2018 2019 2018 Rio 2,144 1,608 24,961  22,975  Forte 7,635  7,709  95,609 101,890  Optima 7,141 7,809  96,623 101,603 Cadenza 237 198 1,630  4,507 Stinger 1,034 1,289 13,861  16,806 K900 30 55 390  354  Soul 6,932 10,128 98,033  104,709 Niro 2,284  2,006  24,467  28,232  Sportage 8,426 6,998 89,278 82,823  Sorento 7,319 8,502 95,951 107,846 Telluride 6,496 N/A 58,604  N/A Sedona 1,551 1,126 15,931 17,928 Total 51,229 47,428 615,338 589,673
    • By William Maley
      I’ve driven my fair share of Challengers on both extremes - from the standard V6 to the high-performance SRT and Hellcat models. But I never had any time behind the wheel of the R/T with its 5.7 V8. That changed in the summer when a bright orange Charger R/T Shaker was dropped off for a week. This allowed me to ask a question that has been sitting in my head for some time: Is the R/T the best bang for your buck in the Challenger family?
      The Shaker sets itself apart from other Challenger models with the use of a ‘Shaker’ scoop that prominently pops up from the hood. There is also a blackout treatment on several trim pieces and wheels that make it look even more imposing on the road. Along with the scoop, the Shaker package does add a new cold-air intake seated right in front of the driver’s side corner. This addition should boost the output of the 5.7L HEMI V8 (372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque when paired with the eight-speed automatic. But FCA’s spec sheet doesn’t say anything about the Shaker Package adding more oomph or not. When you first start up the R/T Shaker, it makes presence known with a deep and loud exhaust note. I had to do a double-take the first time as I was wondering if I was given either an R/T Scat Pack or a Hellcat by mistake. While it may lack the high power numbers of the 6.4 and supercharged 6.2 V8s, the 5.7 is no slouch. 60 mph comes in at just over five seconds and power is seemingly available at any speed. My tester came with the optional Performance Handling Group that adds upgraded springs, sway bars, and a set of Bilstein shocks. This does improve the handling by a fair amount with less body roll. But it doesn’t feel nimble due to a curb weight of around 4,158 pounds. The steering has a quick response, but there is a noticeable lack of road feedback. If you want your muscle car to have some handling, consider the Camaro or Mustang. Nothing new to report on the Challenger’s interior. It still has the angled center stack, retro-inspired gauges, and easy to use UConnect infotainment system. The seats are where the Challenger loses some points as it feels like you’re sitting on top of cinderblocks. The Shaker package is surprisingly good value, adding $2,500 to the base price of the R/T which begins at $34,295. But you’ll need to be careful on the option sheet, or you’ll end up with something quite expensive. My tester came with an as-tested price of $46,555, which is $300 more than an R/T Scat Pack Widebody with the 6.4 HEMI V8.  The Dodge Challenger is getting up there in age and sadly cannot compete with the likes of the Camaro and Mustang in terms of handling. But Dodge is still able to offer a lot of performance in the form of the R/T. With a potent V8 engine, old school styling, and different packages like the Shaker to make your Challenger stand out, the R/T is possibly the best value and well-rounded model in the lineup. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Challenger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Challenger
      Trim: R/T
      Engine: 5.7 HEMI VVT V8 Engine
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 372 @ 5,200
      Torque @ RPM: 400 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/25/19
      Curb Weight: 4,158 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $46,555 (Includes $1,495.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      "Shaker" Package - $2,500.00
      TorqueFlite Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission - $1,595.00
      Performance Handling Group - $1,495.00
      Driver Convenience Group - $1,295.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,295.00
      UConnect 4C Nav with 8.4-inch Display - $1,095.00
      Alpine Sound Group with Subwoofer - $995.00
      Shakedown Graphics - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      I’ve driven my fair share of Challengers on both extremes - from the standard V6 to the high-performance SRT and Hellcat models. But I never had any time behind the wheel of the R/T with its 5.7 V8. That changed in the summer when a bright orange Charger R/T Shaker was dropped off for a week. This allowed me to ask a question that has been sitting in my head for some time: Is the R/T the best bang for your buck in the Challenger family?
      The Shaker sets itself apart from other Challenger models with the use of a ‘Shaker’ scoop that prominently pops up from the hood. There is also a blackout treatment on several trim pieces and wheels that make it look even more imposing on the road. Along with the scoop, the Shaker package does add a new cold-air intake seated right in front of the driver’s side corner. This addition should boost the output of the 5.7L HEMI V8 (372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque when paired with the eight-speed automatic. But FCA’s spec sheet doesn’t say anything about the Shaker Package adding more oomph or not. When you first start up the R/T Shaker, it makes presence known with a deep and loud exhaust note. I had to do a double-take the first time as I was wondering if I was given either an R/T Scat Pack or a Hellcat by mistake. While it may lack the high power numbers of the 6.4 and supercharged 6.2 V8s, the 5.7 is no slouch. 60 mph comes in at just over five seconds and power is seemingly available at any speed. My tester came with the optional Performance Handling Group that adds upgraded springs, sway bars, and a set of Bilstein shocks. This does improve the handling by a fair amount with less body roll. But it doesn’t feel nimble due to a curb weight of around 4,158 pounds. The steering has a quick response, but there is a noticeable lack of road feedback. If you want your muscle car to have some handling, consider the Camaro or Mustang. Nothing new to report on the Challenger’s interior. It still has the angled center stack, retro-inspired gauges, and easy to use UConnect infotainment system. The seats are where the Challenger loses some points as it feels like you’re sitting on top of cinderblocks. The Shaker package is surprisingly good value, adding $2,500 to the base price of the R/T which begins at $34,295. But you’ll need to be careful on the option sheet, or you’ll end up with something quite expensive. My tester came with an as-tested price of $46,555, which is $300 more than an R/T Scat Pack Widebody with the 6.4 HEMI V8.  The Dodge Challenger is getting up there in age and sadly cannot compete with the likes of the Camaro and Mustang in terms of handling. But Dodge is still able to offer a lot of performance in the form of the R/T. With a potent V8 engine, old school styling, and different packages like the Shaker to make your Challenger stand out, the R/T is possibly the best value and well-rounded model in the lineup. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Challenger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Challenger
      Trim: R/T
      Engine: 5.7 HEMI VVT V8 Engine
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 372 @ 5,200
      Torque @ RPM: 400 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/25/19
      Curb Weight: 4,158 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $46,555 (Includes $1,495.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      "Shaker" Package - $2,500.00
      TorqueFlite Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission - $1,595.00
      Performance Handling Group - $1,495.00
      Driver Convenience Group - $1,295.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,295.00
      UConnect 4C Nav with 8.4-inch Display - $1,095.00
      Alpine Sound Group with Subwoofer - $995.00
      Shakedown Graphics - $495.00
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