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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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    6 hours ago, daves87rs said:

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

    They're priced low enough, no rebates neeeded. These are examples GM should study of price it right from the start...

    And have dealers end up with 2 left, and lists of people waiting for the right combo to come in.

    1 hour ago, balthazar said:

    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.

    Oh, the tragedies of Lane Keep helper...blind spot...or auto stopping😂

    No worries. GM still barely offers any of these "standard on a Corolla" features even on a Cadillac, so one brand group is still safe for you.

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    I’m too ‘established in my experience’ to have the brakes & steering wheel fighting me for control. Toyota can go F itself; keep them optional/ defeatable or disabable.

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    46 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    I’m too ‘established in my experience’ to have the brakes & steering wheel fighting me for control. Toyota can go F itself; keep them optional/ defeatable or disabable.

    They always are...it's buttons, in most vehicles. But interesting opinion. Just turn things off👍

    Or drive a GM. They give you so little, except for possibly a hidden cash back perk, features are the least of the worry...

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    Not all features are disable-able. My first course of investigation would be; can you pull fuse(s) to turn off permanently.

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    7 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Not all features are disable-able. My first course of investigation would be; can you pull fuse(s) to turn off permanently.

    I think fuses would work on just about any model.... 🙂 

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    If they're an option (such as on the GM trucks), I'm sure it's on a separate circuit. 
    But for those vehicles where it's mandatory, they may be too integrated- who knows.
    I just have zero interest in my steering wheel, pedals and seat vibrating, buzzing, tweeting, back pressuring constantly. It's like being poked with a sharp stick.

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    I can't imagine things like lane-keep assist and active braking aren't just settings you can turn off. 

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    If you think about it as a stop along the road to full AD, which for some unknown reason OEMs believe everyone wants, I can easily see it as 'we know what you want better than you do' and more & more of these features will be hard-wired/ un-defeatable.

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    Is there any vehicle that can't turn off lane keep assist or auto braking? 

    @Drew Dowdell @William Maley You two could probably answer that with some real-world experience and the most hands-on experience with modern vehicles.. any insight? 

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    We got two Palisades in today.  SE models, one FWD the other AWD.  They're OK I guess.  I like the butch look of the Telluride better.

    My Jeep has a very effective safety feature/driver aid that I cannot turn off.  It's called lack of horses.

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    2 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    We got two Palisades in today.  SE models, one FWD the other AWD.  They're OK I guess.  I like the butch look of the Telluride better.

    My Jeep has a very effective safety feature/driver aid that I cannot turn off.  It's called lack of horses.

    Haha. Sometimes steering feel and blind spot that beeps...are all you need. Works for me.

    As I drive a "self driving...mostly" 2019 Subaru Forester daily. Though I do love when it stops itself...forwards or backwards;)

    Edited by caddycruiser

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    On 7/5/2019 at 11:23 AM, ccap41 said:

    Is there any vehicle that can't turn off lane keep assist or auto braking? 

    @Drew Dowdell @William Maley You two could probably answer that with some real-world experience and the most hands-on experience with modern vehicles.. any insight? 

    Not with any vehicle I have recently driven.

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    On 7/4/2019 at 8:01 PM, balthazar said:

    I just have zero interest in my steering wheel, pedals and seat vibrating, buzzing, tweeting, back pressuring constantly.

    if that's a constant occurrence, maybe you need the driving aids

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    It’s likely that those who have the ‘nanny suite’ will increasingly need them; they certainly aren’t there to improve one’s skills.

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    Never had a vehicle w/ the lane keep or blind spot warning, but I can see how it would be useful in traffic.   I did have a Tahoe rental with lane keep and it was neat how the seat vibrated.    I'm sure I'll have something sooner or later with these features.   One feature the higher trims of Jeep have that mine doesn't that I do wish I had were the power folding mirrors...not a safety feature per se, but it would have prevented smashing my mirror backing out of my narrow-ass garage...

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    Don’t have much of that on my Nox thank goodness... Though I love the back up camera right now.....

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    18 hours ago, William Maley said:

    Not with any vehicle I have recently driven.

    That's what I would have expected. I couldn't imagine anybody has all of that equipment un-defeatable. 

    I don't have anything that is active like lane keep assist or active braking to avoid an accident but I do have whatever cross traffic warning when backing up and it is surprisingly really nice. Just yesterday I was backing out into an ally-like road(not technically an ally but small and narrow) and I was parked next to a shed and could only creep out to even see if anybody was coming and my car let me know there was an F150 barreling down the road before I had any idea there would be anything coming. This and parking lots where there is another large vehicle parked next to you makes this feature surprisingly really nice. 

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    A neighbor down the street from me just traded their previous gen GLS for a Snow White Pearl new Telluride SX.  It has a lot more presence than the GLS. 

    On 7/5/2019 at 11:23 AM, ccap41 said:

    Is there any vehicle that can't turn off lane keep assist or auto braking? 

    @Drew Dowdell @William Maley You two could probably answer that with some real-world experience and the most hands-on experience with modern vehicles.. any insight? 

    Every vehicle that I've driven that has such features has a menu option somewhere to turn them off.  And they stay off.

    The limited features I have in my Encore, Lane keep alert, collision alert, and park assist are all able to be disabled at the touch of a button and they stay off unless I put them back on again.  

    The only one I can't fully disable is rainsense in that it's always on if the wipers are set to intermittent. But I can turn the wipers off or constant naturally. I like rainsense though, so I usually leave it on. 

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    13 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    A neighbor down the street from me just traded their previous gen GLS for a Snow White Pearl new Telluride SX.  It has a lot more presence than the GLS.

    🤨 🤔 😆

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    On 7/8/2019 at 10:43 PM, balthazar said:

    🤨 🤔 😆

    Common lately...

    As are the XC90, Q7, etc. trades...on Ascents, Tellurides, and...

    It's simple. Great ute, loaded features, known quality rep, and "oooh, I like it". After a couple years of "holy...this Benz...this Audi...this...were expensive and those $300 oil changes..." smart ones look elsewhere.

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      “Mitsubishi has shown a new Outlander at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Underneath the Outlander’s new sheet metal lies a new vehicle architecture and will have the choice between gas and plug-in hybrid power. The new Outlander also gets revised interior and new safety equipment. The question is will the new Outlander be able to fix the problems of the current one?”
      It has taken a fair amount of time to get my hands on the new Outlander. In that time, Mitsubishi has made a number of changes and updates to the Outlander lineup such as a revised exterior. Was it worth the wait?
      The Outlander’s shape is nothing too special with rounded corners, large glass area, and a set of 18-inch alloy wheels that comes standard on most models. For 2019, Mitsubishi has updated the Outlander’s front end with a new grille shape, headlights, and more chrome trim. It does help spruce up the design that has been with us since 2014. My only complaint is the dark silver paint on my tester. It makes the vehicle look like a giant blob. There isn’t anything that sets the interior apart from rivals. The design is somewhat plain, but material quality is quite surprising with an abundance of soft-touch materials. There is a fair amount of piano black trim, which does attract fingerprints. All Outlanders come with a 7-inch touchscreen running Mitsubishi’s latest infotainment system is standard. Those wanting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto need to step up to the SE or higher. My experience with the system mimics the Eclipse Cross; lags behind the competition in terms of the interface and performance, but its a huge step forward from the previous system. The Outlander is one of the few models in the compact crossover class that can boast having three-rows to allow seating for seven. This seat is best reserved for small kids due to the limited amount of leg and headroom. Having the third-row also eats into cargo space - 10.3 vs. 33 cubic feet with the seats folded. Front and rear seating is fine. There’s enough padding to keep everyone comfortable on a long trip, and most passengers will be able to stretch out. Most Outlanders come equipped with a 2.4L four-cylinder engine producing 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a CVT and the choice of front or Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control. Step up to the GT to get a 3.0L V6 packing 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a PHEV option which I talk about more in this first drive piece. The 2.4 is serviceable around town with brisk acceleration and minimal noise. But take the Outlander on the highway or fill it up with people and cargo, and the 2.4 feels overwhelmed. Not helping is the CVT that will drone quite loudly when you plant your foot on the gas. Fuel economy is mid-pack with EPA figures of 24 City/29 Highway/26 Combined for the AWD version - front-wheel drive models see a one MPG improvement. My average for the week landed around 24. One area that I was surprised by the Outlander was the ride. Over the varied surfaces on offer in the Metro Detroit area, the Outlander’s suspension smoothed out various bumps. It doesn’t feel comfortable around corners, showing noticeable body lean and a disconnected steering system.  The Mitsubishi Outlander answers the oddly specific question of, “what is the cheapest three-row crossover I could buy?’ I can see why someone on a tight budget would consider one as the Outlander provides a lot of standard equipment, along with seating for seven at a low price. It doesn’t hurt that Mitsubishi’s 5 year/60,000 mile new car warranty does provide peace of mind for those who want a bit of security. But it does become a poor value the higher you climb in price. My Outlander SEL S-AWC tester starts at $29.095. With the optional SEL Touring Package (forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, and a 710W Rockford Fosgate audio system) and carpeted floor mats, the price ballooned to $33,225 with destination. For that amount of cash, you get into a decently equipped Volkswagen Tiguan or Mazda CX-5. I know dealers put cash on the hoods - most dropping the cost to under $30,000, but it is still a tough sell. Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Outlander, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Mitsubishi
      Model: Outlander
      Trim: SEL S-AWC
      Engine: 2.4L MIVEC SOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 166 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 162 @ 4,200
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/29/26
      Curb Weight: 3,472 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
      Base Price: $29,095
      As Tested Price: $33,225 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      SEL Touring Package - $3,000.00
      Accessory Carpeted Floors Mats and Portfolio - $135.00

      View full article
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