Stick Shift: 2020 Kia Telluride

The all new 2020 Kia Telluride has made quite a splash in the full-sized crossover scene. It’s enormous, angular proportions and squared-off silhouette is full of some bold style choices. It’s based on the Kia Sorento. Only several inches longer. And way more interesting visually, and in practically every other way. Bold facial features and tall vertical tail lights combine with big wheels and lots of chrome trim to give the big Kia all the necessary curb appeal to turn heads. 

The Telluride offers a spacious cabin with both form and function carefully thought out and executed by Kia. Quilted nappa leather seats are wide, comfortable on long commutes, heated, cooled and adjustable to every position and angle. There’s room to comfortably accommodate eight with the second-row bench. Seven with the optional captain’s chairs. Access to each row of seats is easy enough with one-touch slide and fold 2nd row seats.

 Multiple sun roofs stretch across the ceiling to let in as much natural light as you’d want. Or side window curtains can be pulled up to block it all out on those especially bright Arizona summer days. Interior acoustics are nicely insulated. Kia even included an acoustic conscious front windshield and front door glass to ensure a quite ride.

Photo via: Kia

The ride doesn’t stop at quite. It’s incredibly smooth and composed as well. On highways, whether smooth surfaced or not, the Kia Telluride soaks up any and all road imperfections. To make things even more comfortable, easy and safe, Kia is packaging an impressively comprehensive suite of driver-assistance features in every Telluride model. Lane-keeping assist was smooth and dependable. Not jerky or constantly second-guessing itself like in many models. It also didn’t rely on you adding steering input every few seconds. Which was nice. 

Automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection can be found. Blind-spot monitors, radar cruise control and enough parking sensors to see every square inch of the car as you squeeze its sizable proportions into tight parking spaces. An additional flurry of sensors that I especially appreciated as a parent and dog owner can detect pets or small children in the back seats when you exit the vehicle. Just so nobody gets unintentionally left behind. 

In the technical department, the Telluride is one smart Kia. It comes with plenty of USB ports for connectivity. An inductive charging pad. Big 10” touchscreen display that was easy to operate. Harmon/Kardon surround sound audio. Apple and Android connectivity, and more.

The new 2020 Kia Telluride is propelled forward with a capable 3.8L V6. An 8-speed automatic transmission handled the power and gear changes with smooth confidence. On the whole, the Telluride is wonderfully well-rounded and carefully assembled with tight attention to every aspect and detail. It’s got plenty of utility for towing and light off-roading. It’s a wonderfully pleasant experience for both driver and passengers about town or on cross country excursions. It’s spacious, safe, smart, technically advanced, sharp looking, comfortable and extremely affordable considering the long list of exciting features you’d expect to find in full-sized luxury SUV’s that cost tens of thousands more. Kia has come a very long way from its cheap-feeling, understated and usually underwhelming past. The Kia Telluride is its best example to date of just how far its come.

Price as tested: $46,860.00

By: Brandon Randall

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