2020 Kia Telluride: A Star is Born

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

The all-new 2020 Kia Telluride 8-passenger SUV is pretty fly, so fly people are aligning the design language with that of a Range Rover. Ha, I guess it’s never a bad thing when your brand is compared to the styling of British luxury elites. Anyhow, the Telluride, aptly named after a former Colorado mining town in the Rocky Mountains, is perfect for those who enjoy the lifestyle of adventure sports such as the enterprising crew at Fit Fathers.

To say I was impressed by the Korean utility is not doing it enough justice. For $47,255 Kia is offering a fully-loaded Telluride SX V6 AWD that impresses to the core. I know of a few non-luxury, import sedans that cost more than that. The styling is clean and vigorous with room for improvement as the model line progresses. For example, split exhaust tips are a must in my book but product planners already had to fight for the amenities the vehicle currently retains, for instance, those sexy, vertical taillamps. Small touches like the aluminum trim around the windows and the black trim lining the B and C pillars for contrast is clever. Black stock rims are always a winner as well, especially the 20” alloys supplied on my Snow White Pearl test car during evaluations in the enlightening ambiance of the Centennial State.

You know you have a star on the roster when attention is attracted by cross-shoppers coming from BMW and Audi. This is an interesting disposition being that the Telluride competes in the midsize SUV market against the Toyota Highlander, VW Atlas, Subaru Ascent and Ford Explorer to name a few. Built in West Point, GA for the U.S. market, the Telluride can be purchased in the LX (FWD) entry level form for $31,690, $33,990 for the S (FWD), the $37,090 EX (FWD) or the aforementioned $41,490 SX (FWD). Add another $2,000 to each trim if you prefer AWD performance as I do. Some of the niceties owners will enjoy in the SX at no additional cost include 20” wheels wrapped in 245/50R20 Michelin Primacy A/S tires, LED headlamps, front and rear sunroofs, captain chairs, stellar 630-watt, 10-speaker Harman / Kardon audio with Quantum Logic Surround Sound and Clari-Fi technology, Surround View and Blind-Spot View Monitor and much more.

On the road our Telluride SX was powered by Kia’s 3.8-liter GDI V6 dispensing 291-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The power was proper for just a few folks but I wonder what the strain would have been if the utility was weighed down by 8 people and luggage. Shifts from the 8-speed automatic transmission was fluid which allowed me to enjoy the drive while gazing at the granite walls of the geologically unique Unaweep Canyon. Steering is on center and braking was good. When rain and sleet hit I put the active on-demand AWD in SNOW mode to tackle the elements. During a brief and muddy off-road excursion the AWD Telluride was set in LOCK (evens power delivery) and SNOW mode simultaneously. Of course, winter tires would offer ultimate traction in these conditions. The other options for vehicle mannerism manipulation are COMFORT, ECO, SMART and SPORT. Also, expect an 8” ground clearance, 5,000-pound towing capacity and Downhill Brake Control for tracking down steep descents.

The interior is comfortable, roomy and fresh. Dual USB ports up front and a wireless charge pad will keep you fully engaged and connected. Passengers in the 2nd-row can lounge in style within the ventilated, heated and reclining captain chairs which is perfect for laying back and looking out the glass pane for peaceful meditation. Two more USB ports, rear window shades, and a reading light are also at their disposal. Sofino standard synthetic leather is the choice for those who do not prefer the leather in the EX or the Nappa leather in the SX.

The technology is insane in the Telluride and often left me comparing it to luxury vehicles from Germany and Japan. Aside from the 10.25” multi-function UVO screen for infotainment and dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags and a driver’s side knee air bag for safety, owners will also become proud of the “Kia Drive Wise” collection of advanced driver-assistance systems. Some of these include Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Surround View Monitor. However, there are many more that would just bore you by listing. But rest assure that your new Kia is as safe as can be.

The 2020 Kia Telluride is the brand’s largest vehicle and represents class and swagger. With technology abound and a 10-year warranty best believe it will garner attention from current industry players.

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