2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD new car reviews

OK class: Pop-quiz time! Who remembers the Kia Borrego? If you had to Google it, you’re not alone, and we won’t take points off. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Kia Borrego was Kia’s flagship SUV, introduced to the American market all the way back in 2008. It lasted one model year, 2009. Even with body-on-frame construction and the Tau 4.6-Liter V8 available, consumers weren’t ready for a $38k Kia SUV in 2009, but the Korean manufacturer has come a long way since then.

The new for 2020 Kia Telluride is now unit-body with FWD standard, and AWD an available option.

And just look at it: It looks somehow retro with its box design, and yet modern, too. From Kia’s press site: “From the first pencil stroke it was meant to convey the kind of presence associated with the original legendary SUVs – big, bold and boxy – and the go-anywhere, do-anything attitude their square, burly-shouldered shapes suggested.”

We’d say they got the looks just right.

With a MSRP of $43,490 for a Telluride SX V6, our AWD tester came in at $48,100. Time will tell if consumers are ready this time around.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

What a mix of old and new–and I mean that in a good way. Here, let me explain.

The Telluride has all of the niceties one would expect from a new, full-size SUV. But here’s the kicker: In the Telluride, they’re easy to figure out. Yes, we’re talking conventional buttons and knobs.

Get in and want to adjust the seat? Easy–just drop your hand down to the side of the seat. No instruction manual necessary.

Want to put it in gear? The Telluride features a conventional shifter–not a series of buttons, knobs or other cuteness. Now, the Telluride’s shifter is modern and nicely styled, but it also doesn’t leave anything to chance.

Radio? HVAC? Seat warmers? All are controlled by simple, easy-to-understand buttons. No single knob that, somehow, does all.

Driving dynamics are par for the course. The steering feels a little dead on center. But I have hopes here, as Albert Biermann–formerly VP of engineering for BMW’s M Division–was recently promoted to Hyundai Motor Group’s head of engineering. I’m assuming that we’ll soon see any issues relating to driving dynamics fixed. And stat.

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

The Telluride is a very solid player in the large-midsize SUV market. It looks good enough, rides very well, and handles decently, once you turn the annoying lane management nannies off.

With a towing capacity of 5000 pounds, it suits most towing needs. The interior is quite comfortable, although I am not wild about the rather average front seats. The interior is quiet. The larger-than-average rear doors are easy to get in and out of and with the rear seats folded down, there is ample room to carry furniture and the like in the rear.

Kia and Hyundai came into the market with cheap prices and good warranties. With a price tag just south of $50,000, the Telluride is not a cheap date and you can no longer really think of Kia as being any cheaper than a Honda or Toyota.

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

It’s rare that I get in a SUV and feel any sort of excitement. Not that I’m completely anti-SUV, mind you. Sometimes practicality and utility is an appealing combo, and if they’re not hellish to drive, all the better. But the Telluride feels… special. It’s a fairly unquantifiable type of specialness, but I’ll say that at one point when I pulled up next to a Range Rover at a light, I did not feel for a second like I was in an inferior or in any way less premium vehicle. Sure the Telluride has some nits to pick: The lane departure feedback in the steering wheel tries so hard to be seamless that you have a hard time discerning car-generated feedback from actual road irregularities. I get that this is probably part of the mission statement, but I do still like to be able to know what’s real and what’s a suggestion from a machine. But the overall driving experience is extremely high-end, and the Telluride feels far more expensive than its sub-$50,000 sticker would suggest.

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Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/3/19 10:11 a.m.

 

The Borrego. What a difference a decade makes. 

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