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  • 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


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    I wish GM could do plood like this... and update their 8" infotainment screens to something a little larger perhaps.

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    The Telluride center stack area reminds me of some BMWs....looks good inside and out.. have seen a couple around, in that green.

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    3 hours ago, Paolino said:

    I wish GM could do plood like this... and update their 8" infotainment screens to something a little larger perhaps.

    Maybe GM needs better suppliers and better and more forward thinking in their cars and CUVs.

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    ocnblu

    Posted (edited)

    33 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    better suppliers

    ?  How is the supplier relevant, when the supplier builds to the manufacturer's specifications.  To the "T".  Dana comes to mind.

    Edited by ocnblu
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    Its not going to age well, its going to look old in less than year.  I thought I look ok but once I see them on the road they are really ugly.

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    ^ I just had that subliminal thought- saw a Telly yesterday and was like 'that's a big 'meh''; when the pics of it first came out I thought kia was punching well above it's pay grade. I agree it's going to age really fast.

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    I think they look great in pictures, driving, and walking around.  I don't know how well they will or won't age but I think they're very attractive for their respective class. 

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    1 hour ago, riviera74 said:

    GM still needs a real answer to the Palisade/Telluride twins STAT.

    Traverse and Enclave are it. 

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    3 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Traverse and Enclave are it. 

    Given that the Cadillac XT5 just had a mid-cycle upgrade for 2020, where is the upgrade for the Traverse/Enclave/Acadia?

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    1 minute ago, riviera74 said:

    Given that the Cadillac XT5 just had a mid-cycle upgrade for 2020, where is the upgrade for the Traverse/Enclave/Acadia?

    Acadia just got an update for the exterior. The interior is mostly carryover except for the shifter. 

     

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    24 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Traverse and Enclave are it. 

    The guy said "real answer". 

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    28 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    The guy said "real answer". 

    The Enclave is pretty luxurious, and if you don't care about automatic cruise control, it's pretty on par.  Similar statement applies to the Traverse, especially in High Country form.

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    Over at the online order guide... the 2020 Acadia AT4 has the very same ground clearance as the rest of the trim levels, and reaches the very same overall height.  Bummed.  It's not even on par with the FWD-based Jeep Trailhawks in that regard... at least they have a tiny bit of extra height and clearance for bragging purposes.

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    1 minute ago, ocnblu said:

    Over at the online order guide... the 2020 Acadia AT4 has the very same ground clearance as the rest of the trim levels, and reaches the very same overall height.  Bummed.  It's not even on par with the FWD-based Jeep Trailhawks in that regard... at least they have a tiny bit of extra height and clearance for bragging purposes.

    That really sucks, this is the one time with the AT4 that GM should be making a noticeable difference and at least be a couple inches of more ground clearance.

    Thanks for keeping us informed, that is good to know and also shows why people will continue to go with the Trailhawk over the AT4. Stupid penny pinching mgmt.

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    Speaking of GMC, there had been a rumor of a GMC 'Jimmy' BOF RWD/AWD SUV based on the next Colorado platform, but I saw an article that it's a no-go, so sounds like GMC will stick w/ the transverse engine AWD platforms for their CUVs.

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    On 8/6/2019 at 12:23 PM, Robert Hall said:

    Speaking of GMC, there had been a rumor of a GMC 'Jimmy' BOF RWD/AWD SUV based on the next Colorado platform, but I saw an article that it's a no-go, so sounds like GMC will stick w/ the transverse engine AWD platforms for their CUVs.

    That's partially because the next generation Colorado platform has been pushed way back. They're just going to refresh the current one and run it another 5-7 years. 

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    East fix. Not a worry, and a common recall.

    The antithesis of Honda (or others) that will never recall anything...but keep doing bulletins..."if the transmission keeps failing...do this...but don't report it".

    Seatbelt thing. Good. Handled. Recalls aren't bad, it means "oops. Stop. Fix it"

    Seeing more of these out. Most dealers only have 0-2 though, so that's also good. If you want it, you order it and make a deal. Not 100 sitting everywhere. Good.

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    On 6/23/2019 at 5:50 PM, 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

    Slacker UAW union workers is what has happened, no pride in workmanship even though generously paid by GM.

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    On 8/5/2019 at 11:57 AM, Drew Dowdell said:

    The Enclave is pretty luxurious, and if you don't care about automatic cruise control, it's pretty on par.  Similar statement applies to the Traverse, especially in High Country form.

    It's a Kia you guys, they don't hold up. They always steal styling inside and out from other makes and models. Mini Escalade or old SRX wagon look and Cadillac vertical taillights, really Kia? Some Audi and BMW cues here and there as well. I agree with others, ugly on the road and not going to age well. 

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    20 minutes ago, USA-1 Vortec 6.2 said:

    It's a Kia you guys, they don't hold up. They always steal styling inside and out from other makes and models. Mini Escalade or old SRX wagon look and Cadillac vertical taillights, really Kia? Some Audi and BMW cues here and there as well. I agree with others, ugly on the road and not going to age well. 

    I wonder how long a KIA holds up after 5-8 years.  Does anyone have pics of a 2010 KIA that looks (almost) as good as new?

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    1 minute ago, riviera74 said:

    I wonder how long a KIA holds up after 5-8 years.  Does anyone have pics of a 2010 KIA that looks (almost) as good as new?

    I'll go to my local junk yard to see.

    Edited by USA-1 Vortec 6.2
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    • By William Maley
      What a difference that four years make. That's the timeframe from the first Kia electric I reviewed (Soul EV) to the model seen here, the 2019 Niro EV. So much has changed in terms of battery technology and overall range that I could see myself having an electric vehicle as a primary mode of transport. There are some still some issues that make me think twice, but they are getting smaller.
      Kia avoided the trend of going crazy with the Niro EV’s design. Little touches such as blue accent trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, and closed-front grille hiding the charging port help the EV stand apart from other Niro models. Changes inside are even smaller with a new center console featuring a dial control for the drive selector. This move is very smart as many buyers really don’t want their vehicle to shout “LOOK AT ME” when driving. The electric powertrain in the Niro EV packs quite the punch - 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. This is up 62 and 92 respectively from the Niro Hybrid I drove a few years back. Providing the electricity is a 64 kWh Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery that provides an estimated range of 239 miles. Kia says the Niro EV will hit 60 mph in under eight seconds. But I found it to be slightly quicker thanks to all of the torque being available instantly. Merging onto a freeway is where the electric powertrain does lose steam - blame a hefty curb weight of 3,854 pounds. I saw a maximum range of 208 to 210 miles throughout my week. This was due to cold temperatures ranging from low 30s to high 40s. But I was able to do a forty-mile round-trip commute for most of the week without having any range anxiety issues. Charging anxiety is a different story. If you have been reading my electric and plug-in hybrid reviews, then you’ll know that I only have access to 120V charging at home. Plugging the Niro EV after my day job meant waiting over sixteen hours for a full charge. This caused me to not want to venture out far unless I had some important errands to run as it would mean a longer time for a recharge. If I had completely depleted the battery, I would be waiting over two days for the battery to recharge. If you have a 240V charger, that time drops to 9.5 hours for a full-recharge. Finding a quick charger has gotten easier in the past year or two, but it is still a hit and miss affair. There are no quick chargers near where I live (unless I have a Tesla). It's slightly better further south where I work as there some around the area. But that introduces its own set of problems such setting aside the time to charge up the vehicle to finding if one works. I should note that I didn’t get the chance to try quick charging with the Niro EV during my week.  Handling is slightly better in the Niro EV thanks to the additional weight of the battery pack which reduces body roll. Steering is very light when turning, but will surprise you with how quick and accurate it deals with changes in direction. Ride quality is a little bit firm with some bumps and imperfections making their way inside. Where the Niro EV shines is noise isolation. During my work commute, I was surprised by how little wind and road noise came inside.  The major downside to the Niro EV is its limited availability. At the time of this writing, Kia is only selling the Niro EV is twelve states - most of them having Zero Emission Vehicle (or ZEV) programs that require automakers to sell a certain amount of electric vehicles in their lineups. Nothing is stopping you from purchasing a Niro EV in one of the states that it is available, but I’m wondering how many people will do that. Pricing for the Niro EV begins at $38,500 for the base EX model. I had the EX Premium at $44,000 which adds such goodies as an eight-inch touchscreen, premium audio system, heated and ventilated front seats; sunroof. Add in a $1,000 Launch Edition package (LED headlights, front parking sensors, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror), and my as-tested price came to $45,995. Expensive bit of kit, but the Niro EV does come with a long list of standard features including heated outside mirrors with power folding; seven-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and push-button start. Plus, the Niro EV qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit which may sway some buyers when it comes time to do their taxes. The Kia Niro EV is the first electric vehicle that I could see myself living with. It drives for the most part as a normal vehicle and offers enough range for most people. The big item you need to be aware of is charging. If you decide to purchase, be sure to get a 240V charger and check to see if there are any sort of fast chargers in your area. It may mean the difference between worry-free and a large amount of anxiety. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Niro EV, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Kia
      Model: Niro EV
      Trim: EX Premium
      Engine: 356V Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric Motor
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Lithium Ion Polymer Battery Pack
      Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 3,800 - 8,000
      Torque @ RPM: 291 @ 0 - 3,600
      Estimated Range: 239 Miles
      Curb Weight: 3,854 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $44,000
      As Tested Price: $46,045 (Includes $1,045.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Launch Edition - $1,000.00
    • By William Maley
      I’ll admit that I have an unabashed love for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. This plucky roadster proves you don’t need gobs of power to provide a big grin when driving. A combination of well-sorted chassis, steering, and slick gearbox does the trick. But Mazda has decided to add a bit more power for the 2019 model, along with including a more powerful four-cylinder and a hardtop option. I’m curious to see if these changes can make the Miata better or worse.
      The model seen here is the RF - short for retractable fastback. Press the switch and the roof panels begin an origami folding exercise into the trunk. The result is a targa that provides the open-air feeling, minus a large amount of wind noise. It doesn’t hurt that roof pillars are styled in such a way that gives off a rakish look, no matter whether the top is up or down. Under the hood lies a revised 2.0L Skyactiv four-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque - up 26 and 3 respectively. A six-speed manual is standard, while an automatic is optional. The small bump makes for a huge improvement in overall acceleration. Just leaving a stop, I was surprised how much pull the engine had as it got to 45 about a half-second quicker than the last Miata.   A key change is Mazda bumping the redline to 7,500 rpm, which allows the engine to fully flex its muscle. This became apparent when I needed to pass a vehicle and found that I didn’t need to drop down a gear to get the power needed.  The six-speed manual is still a joy to work with short and precise throws and a direct feeling clutch pedal. Even when stuck in traffic, doing the motions didn’t feel like a hassle. Average fuel economy for the week landed around 32 mpg, even though I was winding the engine out and playing through the gears just because it is so much fun. My tester was the Club model that adds a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, and a front shock tower brace. This firms up the suspension and provides improve handling on the limit. But out on the backroads, I couldn’t tell there was any real difference in handling between this and the 2016 MX-5 Grand Touring I drove a few years back. Maybe there was slightly less body roll in the RF, but both vehicles had similar characteristics when going into a turn. If I drove both of them on a track, then I think the differences would become more apparent. There is a downside to the Club’s suspension, a very harsh ride. Just making a quick trip to the store was a bit much as the suspension would transmit every little bump and imperfection to the backside of those sitting inside. Another item fitted to my tester was a set of Recaro bucket seats. They come as part of an option package that also adds Brembo Brakes and some cool-looking BBS wheels finished in black. The seats have increased bolstering to hold you in during an enthusiastic drive. But the lack of padding makes them uncomfortable for longer trips. On paper, the RF is an expensive proposition when put against the soft-top: $32,345 vs. $25,730. That massive difference is due to Mazda not offering the base Sport model on the RF. But put the soft-top Club against the RF and the difference shrinks to just over $2,000. Be forewarned that the RF can get expensive. That package I mentioned earlier with the Recaro seats? That will set you back $4,670, bringing the as-tested price to just over $38,000. Mazda’s improvements for the 2019 MX-5 Miata for the most part help, allowing it to become more fun to drive and somewhat easier to live with. That said, the additional cost of the hardtop will depend on whether or not you think it is worth the benefits of possibly being an all-seasons car. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata RF, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata RF
      Trim: Club
      Engine: 2.0L SkyActiv-G DOHC 16-Valve with VVT Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
      Curb Weight: 2,453 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $32,345
      As Tested Price: $38,335 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Brembo with Black Roof - $4,670.00
      Interior Package for M/T - $425.00

      View full article
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