The 2020 Kia Telluride blends luxury and practicality in an affordable package

If the Kia Stinger made a big splash in the midsize saloon category, the new Telluride is expected to be a bigger seller. Kia’s newest Telluride is engineered and designed from the ground up to compete with the Ford Edge, GMC Acadia, Toyota Highlander, and the Honda Pilot.

The 2020 Kia Telluride is bigger and longer than the Sorento. It’s a true seven-seat SUV that blends rugged luxury and everyday practicality in a more affordable package.

2020 Kia Telluride

The new Kia Telluride sits on the same platform as the Hyundai Palisade

It would be improper to say the Palisade and the Telluride are basically the same, but that’s the truth. Both vehicles are even equipped with the same engine and transmission. Fortunately, that’s where the similarities end.

Hyundai is marketing the Palisade as a luxury SUV. In the meantime, Kia went the other way and decided to make the Telluride an affordable version of the Range Rover. See the boxy design cues of the Telluride? Kia managed to infuse the Telluride with enough muscle to make it look more rugged – and ultimately more off-road capable – than the stately Hyundai Palisade. It looks like the Kia is not ashamed to get down and dirty when it matters the most.

The design harks back to SUVs of yore

The new Kia Telluride is a modern interpretation of an old-school SUV. Back in the not so olden days, sport-utility vehicles had the same shape and silhouette, and it’s there for a purpose. Slab-sided boxy designs offer better visibility with virtually zero blind spots, while the taller profile offers more room and driving visibility. The Telluride is all that and more.

Kia’s newest SUV has a wider tiger-nose grille and a long hood. The stacked headlights give the Telluride an aura of utility while the upright windshield conveys a go-anywhere attitude. Out in the back, the squared-off stance is complemented by a skid plate and L-shaped taillights. It even comes with bold TELLURIDE badges in the front and back. The Kia Telluride exudes a confident and dignified attitude. It’s a refreshing change among the sea of generic crossovers and SUVs with rounded and sloping coupe-like profiles.

The Telluride also comes with twin exhaust tips for a sportier style. And unlike other premium SUVs we know, the exhaust tips are real and are not merely decorative ornaments.

The 2020 Kia Telluride is equipped with a 291-horsepower V6 engine.

It comes with a powerful V6 engine

The Kia Telluride is no slouch. It comes equipped with a direct-injected 3.8-liter gasoline V6 motor with 291-horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The engine is bolted to an eight-speed automatic driving the front wheels. This allows the Telluride to tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs. when properly equipped. It’s not much, but it’s what you’d normally expect from a midsize family SUV. An active on-demand all-wheel-drive system is optional.

The new Telluride offers seating seven or eight passengers.

The Telluride’s roomy interior seats up to eight adults

Depending on the trim model, the Kia Telluride is a seven or eight-seat SUV. It’s a proper three-row crossover with enough room for 87 cubic-feet (2463 liters) of luggage. The new Telluride addresses the obvious shortcomings of the Sorento and is better suited for larger families.

And it’s not just roomy inside the Telluride. It also happens to be plush without bordering on the excessive. The buttons and switchgear have a hefty and well-made fell while the dashboard and surrounding are festooned with brushed metallic and wood trim. The seats are comfortable and bolstered in the right places to deliver long-distance touring comfort.

The Kia Telluride offers a ton of kit for the money

Kia’s tradition of offering more for less stays true in the new Telluride. Even the base model contains a surprising amount of kit. The base Telluride LX comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio and USP inputs, automatic headlights, faux leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a rearview camera.

That’s not bad for a starting price of $31,690. It’s interesting to point out that anti-lock braking, stability control, downhill brake control, hill-start assist and tire pressure monitoring are standard in all trim models of the Telluride. Advanced safety features such as forward collision warning, emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane keeping assist are also standard across the line.

The Telluride S throws in a power sunroof, larger 20-inch wheels, heated seats, and optional captain’s chairs in the middle row for $33,990. The Telluride EX starts at $37,090 and includes a larger 10.2-inch touchscreen display, genuine leather seats, and a power liftgate. The Telluride SX is equipped with LED projector headlights, dual sunroofs, and a surround view camera for $41,490.

In terms of value for money, the 2020 Kia Telluride is hard to ignore. It manages to deliver a refined driving environment with the roominess, ruggedness, and practical nature of an SUV.