• Kia’s largest SUV to date, with seating for 8
  • Standard V6 with 291 horsepower
  • Strong roster of active safety and drive-assist features
  • Made in America and set to go on sale in coming months
  • Kia Telluride price expected to begin in $30,000 range

 

Kia unveiled the production version of the 2020 Telluride, the brand’s largest and most sophisticated SUV to date. Teased last summer as a beefed-up adventure vehicle on a New York fashion runway, the 2020 Kia Telluride in volume production trim gives a more realistic take on this new SUV.

The new Kia Telluride is the flagship crossover SUV for the brand, slotting above the Sorento. This 3-row midsize crossover can seat up to eight passengers and is a cousin to another new family-focused SUV, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.

As with the Palisade, the Telluride has its sights set on midsize SUV stalwarts like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Nissan Pathfinder, and Mazda CX-9. And if that weren’t enough, Ford also just unveiled the brand-new 2020 Explorer.

Kia says the Telluride is its most ambitious effort yet at a product aimed squarely at American tastes. The Telluride SUV was designed in Southern California and will be built at Kia’s factory in Georgia. As Americans are buying more SUVs than ever, the Telluride comes at a perfect time for the brand.

Standard V6 power

Like its Honda Pilot and Chevy Traverse rivals, Kia’s Telluride will come with a standard V6 engine. The 3.8-liter V6 under the Telluride’s hood will put out 291 horsepower, which falls in the middle of those two rivals and should be quite competent at moving this metal. The powertrain also underpins the forthcoming Palisade.

The Telluride’s engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. As is the case with most SUVs in this segment, the Telluride will be front-wheel drive and offer all-wheel drive as an option. Drivers will be able to optimize the Telluride’s characteristics via drive modes such as Eco, Comfort, Sport and a Smart setting. Additionally, all-wheel-drive models will feature a Snow setting, in addition to a “Lock” mode that distributes power evenly to all four wheels.

For buyers who want to bring extra toys on their adventures, the 2020 Kia Telluride is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, a respectable figure for a midsize crossover.

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Filled with features

Far more than a power play, the Telluride aims to woo families with its features, especially those pertaining to safety.

In that respect, the Telluride will boast some firsts for Kia, taking active safety to the next level. For example, it will offer not just a blind-spot monitor, but one that can prevent a collision by applying brakes as needed to keep the vehicle in the lane. Another system performs a similar role if you’re about to back into an object.

The Telluride also offers lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go (a great asset in bumper-to-bumper traffic), and automatic emergency braking.

A couple of notable features that stressed-out parents will appreciate are Quiet Mode, which cuts separate audio output in the second and third rows. That means no more fighting to hear your tunes over whatever the kids are trying to blare. In a similar vein is Driver Talk, which uses a microphone to project your voice to those in the second and third rows.

Also: Check out the latest from the North American International Auto Show

Premium design and features

As a flagship model, the Telluride will also offer a bevy of premium and tech-centric amenities. Highlights include a robust infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, 10-speaker/630-watt Harman/Kardon audio system, wireless phone charging and up to six USB inputs (five are standard). Kia got on board early with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and those smartphone systems are, of course, implemented here.

Then there’s Kia’s UVO telematics system, which lets you check on and even pre-condition the cabin temperature remotely from your phone.

In addition to a strong yet elegant exterior design that looks like it could pass for a premium SUV, the Telluride offers an upscale take on the interior with available Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats, and reclining third-row seats. A self-leveling rear suspension is another surprising but notable option.

2020 Kia Telluride price and on-sale date

The new Kia Telluride is slated to go on sale early this year. As is the case with such vehicle introductions, Kia is holding pricing details until closer to the its exact sales date. However, we think it’s safe to anticipate that the Telluride will begin in the $30,000 range, similar to rivals like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

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