The Telluride has a delightfully normal shape, save for the hockey-stick-shaped taillights and tiny stacked headlights with the orange rings. All-wheel-drive is standard. Photo: KIA

The Telluride has a delightfully normal shape, save for the hockey-stick-shaped taillights and tiny stacked headlights with the orange rings. All-wheel-drive is standard. Photo: KIA

2020 Kia Telluride

Kia unleashes its biggest, brashest model yet

The town of Telluride, Colo., is home to one of North America’s top ski resorts. The newest Kia vehicle, which borrows the Telluride name, is tops among the brand’s lineup for passenger and cargo capacity.

In recent years, a number of big and stout utility models — with three rows of seats — have swelled the ranks of the existing people carriers and trailer towers. These newbies include the Volkswagen Atlas, Subaru Ascent, Lincoln Aviator and Hyundai Palisade. Whether it’s due to increased family sizes and/or the need for greater stowage and towing capacity needs, it’s clear the big-uns are riding a popularity wave that has yet to crest.

The Telluride’s fulsome dimensions completely outsize Kia’s next largest seven-passenger vehicle, the Sorento, being 20 centimetres longer, 10 centimetres wider and having about 13 more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. The Telluride’s extra two centimetres ground clearance gives it more breathing room for traveling rough and rutted roads.

The size allows for up to eight occupants to sit comfortably aboard, but one less in the middle row when the optional bucket seats replace the bench.

The Telluride’s cargo capacity matches most competitors, and the tow rating of 2,770 kilograms is also in line with the rest of the pack.

Commensurate with its stated intent, the California-styled (and Georgia-built) Telluride projects a rugged, no-nonsense image. From “tiger-nose” grille to tail, the broad-shouldered shape has nary a hint of excess flab or misshapen sheetmetal.

Access to the standard third row is relatively easy, with extra-wide rear doors plus second-row seating that folds forward.

Overall, the Telluride is an object lesson in design restraint that sets it apart from key competitors such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Volkswagen Atlas and Honda Pilot.

The interior design and fittings also eschews any hint of superfluous excess, yet it’s far from austere. The dashboard is elegantly turned out, including the standard 10.25-inch touch screen that’s perched above the air vents.

In back, both rows of seats fold nearly flat and the load floor lifts to reveal a generously sized hidden stowage compartment.

Getting the Telluride in motion is the job of a 3.8-litre V-6 that puts out 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of peak torque. It’s connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is rated at 12.5 l/100 km in the city, 9.6 on the highway and 11.2, combined. Amazingly, those numbers are very close to the Sorento’s, despite the Telluride weighing 140 kilograms more.

With the standard all-wheel-drive, 100 per cent of the torque goes to the front wheels in Eco or Smart mode, while Comfort and Snow modes split it 80:20 front to rear. For more aggressive driving, the Sport-mode split is 65:35. In Lock mode, the torque is split equally to all four wheels and the system’s Downhill Brake Control can also be engaged to keep the Telluride moving at a controlled (slow) rate.

The base EX trim lists for $47,000, including destination fees. This gets you plenty of upscale features as well as a navigation system and dynamic-safety technology, such as automatic emergency braking and active cruise control.

The SX trim adds a dual sunroof, leather seat covers, six-way power passenger’s seat, premium 12-speaker Harmon Kardon-brand audio and 20-inch wheels (18s are standard).

The SX Limited comes with a self-leveling rear suspension, heads-up driver information display, premium leather seat coverings, heated/ventilated front- and second-row seats, and rain-sensing wipers. The second-row high-back bucket seats come only with the SX Limited.

With size, comfort and power in its favour, the Telluride checks off the boxes that most buyers of full-size utility vehicles are looking to fill.

Welcome aboard.

What you should know: 2020 Kia Telluride

Type: Four-door, all-wheel-drive full-size utility vehicle

Engine (h.p.): 3.8-litre DOHC V-6 (291)

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Market position: Kia is following parent Hyundai’s lead in filling all the obvious gaps in its utility-vehicle lineup. The full-size Telluride takes on similar offerings from nearly every mainstream automaker.

Points: Styling is straightforward and projects a sense of ruggedness. • The well-appointed base model exudes has an upscale feel; other trims even more so. • Standard V-6 engine is more than enough to keep the nearly-2,000-kilkogram vehicle on the move. • When can buyers expect a hybrid? • A premium look and feel without a premium price tag.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); emergency braking (std.); drowsy driver alert (std); pedestrian detection (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 12.5/9.6; Base price (incl. destination) $47,000

BY COMPARISON

Volkswagen Atlas AWD

Base price: $51,800

Value-driven large-size VW has a 376-h.p. V-6 and elegant styling.

Chevrolet Traverse AWD

Base price: $40,900

Roomy and affordable. A 301-h.p. V6 is standard; Turbo I-4 is optional.

Honda Pilot

Base price: $43,100

Well-regarded utility vehicle has AWD plus a smooth 280-h.p. V-6 as standard.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, visit TodaysDrive.com!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

2020 Kia Telluride

Aiding rear-seat access are wide rear doors and a second row that slides forward. The smaller Kia Sorento also has a third-row seat, but that vehicle is 20 centimetres shorter and 10 centimetres narrower than the Telluride. Photo: KIA

Aiding rear-seat access are wide rear doors and a second row that slides forward. The smaller Kia Sorento also has a third-row seat, but that vehicle is 20 centimetres shorter and 10 centimetres narrower than the Telluride. Photo: KIA

The 291-horsepower 3.8-litre V-6 is a bit odd in a class teeming with smaller turbocharged powerplants. For whatever the V-6 might give away in fuel economy, it surely makes up for in smooth power delivery. Photo: KIA

The 291-horsepower 3.8-litre V-6 is a bit odd in a class teeming with smaller turbocharged powerplants. For whatever the V-6 might give away in fuel economy, it surely makes up for in smooth power delivery. Photo: KIA

2020 Kia Telluride

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

The Kitimat River in July. (Clare Rayment photo)
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has been named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy for the BC Liberals. (Peter Versteege photo)
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Previously, Ross was the critic for LNG, Resource Opportunities, and Responsible Development

Red sky in morning: an early-morning sunrise on May 16, 2020, captured just north of Kitimat. (Eric Roy photo)
Clare’s Corner: Hello, darkness, my old friend

Why does the after-work darkness affect you so much more as an adult than as a child?

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Most Read