2020 Kia Telluride SX V-6 AWD

Telluride is more than a Midwestern film fest, and Kia’s latest iteration is out in showrooms to show just how much of a play on words that name espouses. With the 2020 Kia Telluride SX V-6 AWD, the automaker rolls out a mid-size SUV with plenty of urban cowboy flavor, but oriented for families with teens. While encroaching on soccer mom or dad territory is a bit too soon — hey minivans, what’s Tesla widdit — perhaps, let’s take a closer look at what we enjoyed about our time with this 6-cylinder truck with all-wheel drive. 


We grabbed the keys to this 2020 SUV with fervor and a glaze at the Snow White Pearl, a $395 paint job. It was enough to see more than a frog. But, hold on, the gray interior was just clean and focused. Sort of seems here that Kia’s designers saw the global marketplace as being better with a big three-row crossover SUV to take on a competitive segment.

We’ll save the “armored” Suburban homage of former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to her book devices, but let’s just she even would agree a Chevrolet Suburban is a nice, big, roomy SUV. However it’s also Uber XL-predictable. What isn’t predictable — a la HyreCar stock price — is this Telluride. It does have size — as in less, or three-fifth of the Chevy SUV. It’s styling and design is eye-catching and practical, with a more spread out grilled yet wincing headlights. 

A good comparison in the design flare of this 78-inch-wide multiple people mover? That it’s a bigger version of the Sorento.That’s the story and we, and Kia, are likely to believe that will translate to sales at showrooms.  The headlights are neat and tucked, sitting high and echo the Volvo design in just enough of a manner to inspire loyal preferences among choosy soccer moms and basketball-playing dads.

We like details here at CarFanatics. So check out the chrome touch in the detailing of the design of the center roof pillar, since it’ll stand out once you finish staring at the dubs-sized all-black finished alloy wheels. 


Kia’s got the idea of finesse chiseled well in sedans, but it’s still working through the SUV range (save the Land Rover LR4 jokes). Clearly the idea to step outdoors is what the Telluride is aiming at, as this mid-size SUV is bulked up with 78.3-inch width to go along with 114.3 inch wheelbase, clocking in just under 200 inches when measured bumper to bumper. 

What we liked about our trim was the secret sauce — well, it’s not so secret considering the 10.3-inch touchscreen is great for CarPlay. The SX trim is equipped with Prestige package — and optional add-on — that laces the car with Nappa leather seat trim, premium cloth in the headliner and sun visors, plus a head up display. 

Neat stuff, right? Well, the adjustable thigh support the driver also rocks … or umm … it actually adds to comfort, of course. And the front seats are comfy for longer drives. In our trim, we got the second-row captain chair vibes, which is one of two options: The other being three-seat second row bench.

If you’ve got a 14-year-old high school basketball-playing student-athlete, then bet this former trim will work. In fact, the Telluride actually can fit up to three kids and adult or two in the third row. The three-row configuration, we must remind buyers, is a $2,000 option on all trims. 

While the Telluride just isn’t quite ready for the safari the way Land Rover is, the Telluride is a solid choice amongst Volkswagen offering such as the Atlas. With 21 cubic feet of cargo space with the third row folded up, this Kia SUV is a competitive entry, most definitely. With third row folded down, you’re looking at 46 cubic feet, which is more ample than the rivals. 


There’s no telling which mountain you’ll hear the echo from if you floor the gas pedal on the Telluride’s 3.8-liter direct injection V-6. This gnarly engine carries 291 hp and as it goes, torque up to 262 lb.-ft. Still, all that power does sort of drag, and we have to be honest it’s just no rhyme or mechanics as to why. The mechanics of the 8-speed automatic notwithstanding, this SUV handles well. But, it just doesn’t grip the road or our expectations for a thrill considering those savvy numbers. 

Still, the positives are solid if not spectacular. The truck-like vibes on the exterior design language are noticeable, and so is handling with body roll quite controlled. The SUV has fairly decent maneuverability  in Comfort and Eco modes, which gets amplified real quick in Sport mode. The suspension is modest at best, and we can say with a degree of certainty that the Hyundai Palisade bests the Telluride in a head to head comparison at this level. 


The 2020 Kia Telluride SX V-6 AWD does consume dino juice to our chagrin, and EPA says 19 mpg city, 24 highway and 21 combined is what to expect. This is unexciting and regressive in some ways, but what with the 6-cylinder engine, AWD and nearly 300 hp, it is what it is.  


Shelling out just under $45,000 for the 2020 Kia Telluride base MSRP is not that bad, considering all the SUV offers. Even with the SX Prestige option ($2,000), paint job ($395) tacked on, the price point of $47,255 is accessible to most consumers with families.  

What we liked: The Kia touch is seen and felt with well-apportioned details in the seats, interior design, dashboard, design language — we could go on and on, but this praise is deserved and earned. Entertainment and safety tech are included, and should figure up higher in buyers’ decision-making process. 

What we didn’t like: The ‘you get what you get’ mentality is Kia’s as a mass producer of automobiles with urban appeal. The powertrain is standardized and can’t really be boosted to perform like some other SUVs we’ve driven. In other words, this V-6 2020 Telluride from Kia is dandy on highways and shopping malls, but it is not the turbocharged, 4-cylinder vibe of Mazda CX-9, which usurps less gas, and competes with the less popular Subaru Ascent. 

Edited by Slav Kandyba

Photo Credit: Copyright 2020 Angel Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog

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