2020 Kia Telluride: What's It Like To Live With?
Life With the Edmunds Top Rated SUV for 2021
|Miles Driven||Average MPG|
Latest Highlights (updated 08/02/21)
- Service costs vary greatly between dealerships. Shop around before committing!
- A few recalls have surfaced
- Handles more like a wagon than an SUV (in the best way possible)
- V6 engine lacks for low-end torque
- Very versatile cargo hauler without passengers
- Fuel economy still on the low end of the EPA estimates
2020 Kia Telluride: Real-World Fuel Economy
Our Kia Telluride finally hit the wide-open road, logging a number of highway tank fills providing a little boost to our low lifetime average mpg. We added 3575 miles to the odometer in just over a month, bringing our new average to 19.4 mpg up from the previous 18.3 mpg average. Though our single most efficient tank remains at 26.4 mpg, the majority of our fills in this period were in the mid- to low 20 mpg range.
Average lifetime mpg: 19.3
EPA mpg rating: 21 combined ( 19 city / 24 highway )
Best fill mpg: 26.9
Best range (miles):: 418.7
Current odometer: 21,197
2020 Kia Telluride: Comfort
One of the Telluride's greatest strengths is the comfort it provides. The cabin is luxury-car-quiet even at freeway speeds and the seats provide good support for when you're trying to stretch those stints out between road trip pitstops. For a three-row SUV, the Telluride is generally smooth-riding, although there are some others, like the Honda Pilot, that do better over particularly rough patches.
"I tend to think of midsize three-row crossovers as ungainly family buses, but the Telluride is a different cat. Granted, my primary vehicle these days is a 2001 Land Cruiser that has the road manners of an elephant, but to me, the Telluride drives more like a wagon than a minivan or SUV. It feels planted whether the tarmac is straight or twisty, and the enveloping cockpit makes me feel like I'm ensconced within the vehicle, as opposed to that Volkswagen Atlas or Honda Pilot sensation of driving the bus from way up front. I can't remember the last time I could see myself actually owning something in this segment — quite possibly never — but I could get down with a Telluride." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy
"I had roughly 12 hours of seat time in the Telluride on my recent road trip and made some observations. The seats are extremely comfortable and held up well with no fatigue for both the driver and passenger. The interior is quiet and you can hardly hear the engine unless it is working hard. I can see the appeal of that for some, but for my taste, I'd like to hear the engine a bit more. I also appreciated the effectiveness of the climate control as it was quick to cool the cabin during this weekend of record-high heat." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"I had roughly 12 hours of seat time in the Telluride on my recent road trip and made some observations. The seats are extremely comfortable and held up well with no fatigue for both the driver and passenger. The interior is quiet and you can hardly hear the engine unless it is working hard. I can see the appeal of that for some, but for my taste, I'd like to hear the engine a bit more. I also appreciated the effectiveness of the climate control as it was quick to cool the cabin during this weekend of record-high heat." — Scott Jacobs, senior (grumpy pants) manager, photography operations
"If I weren't a journalist, I should be getting commission checks from Kia for selling a bunch of Tellurides. One example is a friend who has owned Land Rovers, Jags, BMWs, you get the picture. Every two or three years he asks me what he should get next. The last time, I said Kia Telluride and he scoffed.
" 'Kia?' he questioned.
" 'Yes, Kia,' I answered authoritatively.
" 'I'm not buying a Kia,' he rebuked.
" 'Your loss.' I lightly murmured back, and that's what caught him off-guard.
"Fast-forward a few weeks and his son texts me, 'Dad bought a Telluride, it's awesome. He loves it.'
"Keep an open mind and allow the world to surprise you. When I started here at Edmunds a dozen years ago, Kia was a bit of a punchline. Or maybe a punching bag. Then the Soul came out and it wasn't bad. Then the next Optima in 2010, and people began to take notice.
"It may seem like Kia burst on the scene with the success of the Telluride, but in reality, they've been making steady progress for a decade. Some shoppers struggle with releasing their previous notions of the brand, but the Telluride and new K5 should change their mind." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor
"The Telluride's rapturous reception across the automotive world had me feeling skeptical when I first grabbed the key. Surely there's a bandwagon effect here, right? It can't be that good! But after driving it to Utah and back, I have to say yeah, it's that good. The interior materials are convincingly upscale, the cabin stays luxury-quiet at speed, the infotainment is slick, and the seats are Euro-firm and long-haul comfortable. Plus, there's a coolness factor here that earnest family trucksters like the Pilot and Highlander just can't touch. I usually get sticker shock when I look at new-car prices, but our loaded Telluride's $45K MSRP seems downright reasonable. No wonder dealers can't keep these things on the lot and markups are rampant. I still think Kia needs a new logo to separate the current brand from its bargain-bin past, but when a corny old logo is the worst thing about a car, you know it's a home run." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy
"If I had to describe the Telluride in one word, I would say: easy. It's easy like Sunday morning. Easy to drive, load stuff into, maneuver in parking lots, carry lots of people in, etc. It simplifies and optimizes." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle test technician
For the second year in a row, the Kia Telluride was voted as Edmunds Top Rated SUV. What better way to validate that decision than by owning one for a year? That's exactly what we did.
What was it like to live with a 2020 Kia Telluride for nearly a year? What makes the Kia Telluride our favorite SUV for two years in a row? Find out as Edmunds wraps up its ownership of a 2020 Kia Telluride. This video covers what we liked and what we didn't, as well as fuel economy and other key attributes