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
What do you want to know about?
What We Bought And Why
• Our test vehicle: 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
• Base MSRP: $43,490
• MSRP as tested: $45,860
We fell in love with the all-new Kia Telluride the moment we set foot in the cabin. Like other midsize SUVs, it's spacious and comfortable, but what really grabs our attention is how luxurious the accommodations feel inside. "This is a Kia?" was the collective first impression from the team. And not just on the inside. The Telluride's exterior styling balances rugged with classy — kind of Land Roveresque — without trying too hard.
The Kia Telluride backs up those good looks with a solid performance on the road — a quiet and comfortable ride, with enough power and handling chops to get out of its own way. After driving and testing the Telluride for a few weeks, we realized two things: We had a new favorite midsize three-row SUV taking the spot of our previous favorite, the Honda Pilot, and we'd need a Telluride for longer than just a few weeks.
What Did We Get?
We decided on the top-of-the-line 2020 Kia Telluride SX AWD because life is short and, well, it's a good value considering everything you get. The SX is three levels up from the base LX trim ($31,690), and most options are bundled within trim levels, with only a few available à la carte. All Tellurides come with a 3.8-liter V6 (291 horsepower, 262 lb-ft of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission, and either front- or all-wheel drive. We opted for the latter in anticipation of some light off-roading ($2,000).
The base model comes with some of today's essential tech luxuries such as adaptive cruise control, copious USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But you need to step up to the second-highest EX trim to get keyless entry and ignition and a power liftgate. We thought those EX features were essential but were also drawn to the SX trim's surround-view camera system, providing guess-free low-speed maneuvering. We also wanted to see how useful Kia's unique blind-spot view monitoring system is.
Jumping up to the SX adds a cool 10 grand to the base price, but provides many luxury-level amenities beyond those mentioned above, including 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, second-row captain's chairs, heated and ventilated front seats, a 10.3-inch infotainment screen, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, among many other goodies. We passed on the Prestige package and the Nappa leather that it would've come with.
Why Did We Get It?
Though we have many minivan fans on staff, most people with families these days are opting for three-row SUVs. Despite minivans' inherent greatness as people and cargo movers, many people perceive minivan ownership as the death of fun and adventure. Midsize three-row SUVs can accommodate about as much cargo and as many passengers without the stigma. They manage to more fashionably convey an active lifestyle and return comparable fuel economy. Midsize SUVs such as the Kia Telluride even push third-row comfort to new high levels without the bulk of a full-size SUV.
As we mentioned before, the Kia Telluride is leading a field of popular contenders such as the Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent and Toyota Highlander. And since we're strongly recommending the Telluride for anyone shopping this vehicle category, we figured we should see how it holds up over time and under somewhat accelerated wear and tear. We look forward to keeping you abreast of everything, good or bad.
What Did We Learn?
If something seems too good to be true, in most cases it probably is. Unless you're talking about the Telluride. We're pretty much as smitten with the Telluride now as we were the day it arrived. Want proof? We named it the Edmunds Top Rated SUV for the second year in a row. We're not saying it's the best at everything, but it continues to be one of the most well-rounded midsize SUVs you can buy at an affordable (suggested) price. But the "suggested price" is just that, since the many accolades the Telluride has received over the last couple of years have caused somewhat of a dealer markup frenzy, which makes it less of a bargain. Market demand economics 101.
As far as how well our Telluride held up over the last year and 20,000-plus miles, we'd have to say it was near flawless. Nothing broke or showed signs of premature wear. There was a single recall that affected our vehicle, involving the wiring for the trailer brake-light connecter. But since we never got around to doing any towing, it was never an inconvenience and was fixed during a routine service appointment. If we had to gripe about something, we'd point to the slightly disappointing fuel economy. Though we managed a few decent tanks above the highway rating of 24 mpg, our average hovered more in the area of 19 mpg.
In summary, if you're looking for a midsize SUV, we still think the Telluride is a top pick among a vast field of strong competition. It appears to be pretty dependable at this point too, though it's admittedly early as far as a vehicle's lifetime goes. Should you pay that dealer markup? We don't think a couple thousand would convince us to walk away from the table, but if it's high enough that you could start cross-shopping some Audi or Mercedes-Benz models, we'd suggest you do just that.
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.
2020 Kia Telluride: Head to head with the Toyota Highlander
We named the Telluride the best midsize three-row SUV for 2020. But it may not stay there indefinitely as competitors come out with new improved versions of their three-rowers too. Take the 2020 Toyota Highlander, for example: It's all-new and is sporting some pretty cool features like torque-vectoring all-wheel drive (move over Honda!) and an impressively large infotainment touchscreen. How does it stack up against the Telluride?
- The contender: 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum AWD
- Base MSRP: $48,800
- MSRP as tested: $49,920
Which one drives better?
If you were to compare the Telluride and Highlander based purely on the numbers they produce at the track, the Telluride holds a slight advantage. Both the Highlander and Telluride come standard with V6 engines and eight-speed automatic transmissions, and accelerate at virtually the same speed. The Telluride, however, does a better job of stopping, and it feels lighter on its feet around corners despite the Highlander's fancy torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system.
Where the Highlander begins to shine is its low-speed acceleration and drivability. Maximum acceleration is one thing, but when you're just out for your everyday drive, the Highlander feels more responsive off the line with better low-end torque than the Telluride. This becomes even more important when you have a full passenger load, which is pretty common for this class. So ultimately I think the Toyota is a better choice here.
Which one is more comfortable?
Both the Highlander and Telluride deliver commendable levels of comfort, with one key difference that we'll get to in a minute. Ride quality is top-notch as both dispatch bumps and cracks in the road without breaking a sweat. And although the Telluride can be optioned with some extra luxury touches like ventilated second-row seats, the Highlander doesn't feel short on accommodations.
The biggest difference between the two is third-row seat accommodations, which the Telluride has mastered. Not only is there much more space in the back of the Kia, enough for some adults, but it's easier to access and even has USB charge ports for passengers. The Highlander's third row feels cramped by comparison, much more cumbersome to access, with no USBs. So if you plan on frequently using your SUV's third row for passengers that are not kids, the answer is clear here.
Which one hauls more stuff?
Cargo accommodation is another important factor of a good midsize SUV. There is the total volume, or space, to consider, but also convenience and flexibility, like how easy it is to fold down the third-row seat when it's not in use. The Telluride wins handily on this count with 21 cubic feet behind the third-row seat (enough to fit five pieces of carry-on luggage) compared to the Highlander's 16 cubic feet, and a maximum space (all rows folded) of 87 cubic feet to the Highlander's 84.3 cubic feet.
But it's not just about the space. The Telluride has quick and easy pull-straps that fold the third row seats in a blink, along with remote fold release buttons for the second row, allowing you to collapse all rows, effortlessly, from the rear hatch. The Highlander's third row can be folded from the hatch as well, but isn't as elegant, and the second row must be collapsed from the rear passenger doors. This might seem like a small detail, but for those that use this feature often, the Telluride's added convenience will feel like a godsend.
Which one has the better tech?
At first glance this may seem like a no brainer, comparing the Highlander's optional 12.3-in touchscreen to the Telluride's also-optional-but-small-by-comparison 10.3-in touchscreen. The Highlander's screen is impressive and the menu layout and controls are very well thought out. We were also very impressed with the parlour-trick virtual 360-degree camera system that allows you to view the car "from the outside", which some luxury manufacturers have implemented in recent years. As of this posting, this is a segment first exclusive to Highlander.
While not as flashy, the Telluride also benefits from infotainment system that is easy to navigate. We like that smartphone integration uses the most of the screen for CarPlay, though is not quite as functional for Android Auto. If based on just the media interface alone, we'd give the nod to the Toyota, but the Telluride has some very well-tuned advanced driver aids that really help to lessen the burden of driving in traffic or over long distances. We encountered a few more false alarms and the lane-centering function wasn't quite as good in the Highlander.
Which one would I buy based purely on style?
Design is subjective, but some shapes are more widely accepted as "beautiful" than others. The Highlander makes some bold moves with its latest redesign, incorporating cues from the company's latest "halo car" the GR Supra. I think this Highlander looks much less vanilla than its predecessor, but when viewed from certain angles — like in profile — it gives me pause. A good litmus test is trying to imagine if a car design will look good 10 years from now. The Highlander likely will not.
By comparison, the Telluride looks good from nearly every angle, without looking overstyled. It's rugged but elegant, akin to a Land Rover without appearing like a cheap knockoff. I'd order mine in Dark Moss green with a butterscotch brown leather interior.
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
"So my kids just found a new use for those hooks on the back of the Telluride's front seats. I didn't see that coming." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"Our Telluride's second-row captain's chairs are awesome. At a lanky 6'1", I have no trouble stretching out behind the front row, and just like the front seats, the second-row chairs are well-shaped and firmly supportive. Sure, the Telluride also has a roomy third row if you need it, but I love that you can leave the third row folded and use this thing as a luxurious four-seater without feeling for a moment like you're driving a minivan. How many other family-mobiles can play both roles so well? I can think of some premium-brand examples, but there's not another mainstream three-row crossover that pulls it off like this Kia." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy
"The climate control vents are really well-placed in the Telluride. You can adjust cabin temp without big, sweeping changes to all the vents and the vents are low enough on the dash that you don't feel like they're all pointed directly at your face. This might seem like a small thing but it helps reduce fatigue on road trips and just makes things more comfortable overall. The A/C and heating systems both work quickly, as do the heated and ventilated front seats." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
"Lighter interiors are always better. Unless you're a very dirty outdoorsy sort and don't want mud to show, a lighter interior is always better. There's more contrast, the space feels more open, and I swear textured plastics even look nicer when they're not black. Our long-term Telluride has a black interior, rather than the infinitely better gray, and it makes me sad." — Will Kaufman, Content Strategist
"This may be isolated incident, but I managed to keep catching my shoe on something when exiting from the driver's seat. I couldn't figure out what it was until I inadvertently pulled the inner kick panel out completely with my shoe. Turns out the carpet right below the panel has enough give to catch the underside of the plastic panel piece. I was able to pop the piece back in with little effort and now that I'm aware of it, it hasn't happened since." — Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
"There is a button atop the second row seats. It's a friend to third-row passengers. Give it a quick press and the seatback folds and the whole thing slides forward for easy access. It's an enemy to the parent installing car seats in the second row and adjusting cargo behind it.
"For me, the button was is just the right spot to accidentally press several times while I was moving around. Each time I had to muscle the seatback into place and slide the seat itself back to a locked position. This is a real hassle with a car seat buckled into place. Lesson learned, eventually." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"The seat belt receivers look nice tucked away and nearly flush with the top of the cushion. But I found it wasn't always practical for child seats.
"Both of my kids are in boosters. The 9year-old maneuvered the receiver and could buckle himself in just fine. The 6-year-old struggled to pivot the receiver and buckle herself. Her parents had to do it each time, which got old fast. She has no problem with belts that stick out a bit. It was only with this recessed style. — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"I don't normally care for sunroofs. But in the case of driving through Yosemite Valley I will make an exception. The kids really enjoyed the rear sunroof in our Telluride, which allowed them to see sights they might otherwise miss." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
2020 Kia Telluride: Maintenance
The Telluride's recommended maintenance interval is every 7,500 miles, and those visits mostly entail an engine oil and filter change, new cabin air filter and tire rotation along with various inspections.
However, we've discovered after our second maintenance appointment that service costs can vary significantly between dealerships, and may include some services not outlined in your owner's manual. Read on below to hear about our latest experience, and maybe learn from our mistakes.
In addition, there have been a couple recalls issued which are worth noting, but none have significantly affected our vehicle ownership experience to date.
|Total routine maintenance costs||$754|
|Additional maintenance costs|
|Scheduled dealer visits||2|
|Unscheduled dealer visits|
|Days out of service|
|Breakdowns stranding driver|
|Total body repair costs|
Our Telluride passed 15,000 miles so we scheduled a 15K service at our nearest Kia dealership, Trophy Kia, in Carson, California. We called ahead to let them know that our Telluride was included in a recall (NHTSA campaign number: 20V436000), but was told that the vehicle had to physically be at the dealership for them to verify and order the warranty part.
This would've been a bummer since it meant we'd have to return to the dealership to get the part installed, but they ended up having an extra warranty part in stock and would take care of it during our service. After checking in with the service adviser, we were a bit shocked to see the price of the 15K service, since it isn't much more involved than the one we got at 7,500 miles (according to our service manual).
The price you see in the photo ($499.95) is the basic 15K-service bundle from this dealership, without any of the extra add-ons that could effectively double the cost of this service. An unsuspecting customer, thinking they're being proactive, could be spending as much as $1,025 (before tax) for the full menu of services. It should be closer to what we spent for our first service, at $237.
Some of the extra items we see on this menu list that aren't mentioned in the owner's manual include a "complete fuel system service decarb, injector service, and throttle body service." This fuel service, according to the manual, is only necessary if you aren't filling up with Top Tier fuel. Since there was no à la carte option available, we had no alternative. We made our way to the waiting room.
The service took about five hours to complete including the recall fix, or at least that's how long we waited. I checked in with another service adviser after the five-hour mark (ours went missing) and eventually found our car parked along a wall waiting for someone to notice it.
I suspected our service was a bit on the pricey side so I called up a few of the next closest Kia dealerships in the area and found their 15K services priced at $259 and $374. If I had called around before picking the most convenient dealership location, I could have saved a sizable chunk of change. Lesson learned.
Recalls performed on this vehicle
• NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V436000
What is the recall for?
When a trailer is connected to certain 2020 Telluride vehicles equipped with Smart Cruise Control (SCC), the trailer brake lights will not illuminate when the SCC applies the brakes.
How do I get it fixed?
Kia will notify owners, and dealers will install an additional wiring harness which will fix the trailer brake light issue, free of charge. The recall began September 10, 2020. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC194.
• NHTSA Campaign Number: 19V594000
What is the recall for?
The seat belt assemblies in the front passenger, second, and/or third row seats may not tightly secure a child restraint system in the event of a crash.
How do I get it fixed?
Kia will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and replace any incorrect seat belt assemblies. The repair will also include replacing the driver's seat belt which has a non-U.S. specified label, with a U.S. specification seat belt. The repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall began August 30, 2019. Kia's number for this recall is SC181.
• Technical Service Bulletin — SA410
What is the bulletin for?
Tellurides produced from June 1, 2019, through November 6, 2019, may exhibit the rear door window curtain falling down or unable to latch due to the curtain hook(s) coming loose and/or detaching from the door frame.
How do I get it fixed?
If this issue affects your vehicle, your local Kia dealer will replace the rear door window curtain hooks with the new improved part provided.See all recalls on the 2020 Kia Telluride
2020 Kia Telluride: Performance
When it comes to performance in midsize SUVs, quoting drag strip times seems ridiculous. However, they can correlate to how a vehicle gets to highway speeds when loaded with passengers. All Kia Tellurides come standard with a 3.8-liter V6 engine, making a healthy 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, which delivers solid acceleration for a midsize SUV.
In that same vein, good handling characteristics could mean a less queasy experience for any passengers on board. Our track testing deemed the Telluride decent in this area, too. But what sort of experiences are our editors experiencing out in the real world? Read on below.
"Driving the Telluride in snowy, icy and slippery conditions for the first time was an easy experience. Typically, here in Los Angeles, the worst weather we see is some rain on occasion, but I recently took the big Kia to the mountains right after a 14-inch snowstorm. Plows had been through since the snowfall, so there was no need for chains, but the roads were still slippery, especially where the snow had melted and turned into ice overnight. I had to be careful, but the measured and decreased throttle responses from the Telluride's Snow mode were easy to live with and the all-wheel-drive lock kept me moving up some steep hills at slow speeds. With a name like Telluride, you've gotta get this snowy stuff right, and our three-row Kia did just fine." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
"Driving around the Park City area (elevation: 7,000 feet), I zeroed in on one of the Telluride's few weaknesses — the naturally aspirated V6 doesn't have enough low-end torque to feel strong in the mountains. There's a lot of gear-hunting as the transmission works to maintain your speed up long freeway grades, and below about 3,500 rpm, you simply don't have much muscle to work with. It's one of the few ways in which the Telluride seems less than cutting-edge. Turbocharging would solve this problem, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Kia add forced induction at some point in the Telluride's run. I mean, come on, the car is named after a town in Colorado that sits at 8,750 feet! You gotta give it an engine that gets the job done up there." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy
"I wouldn't say the Telluride is sporty, but it's totally composed going up local mountain roads. Body roll is controlled well, steering is well-weighted and there's a good sense of fun from behind the wheel. I'd happily take the long route on any road trip in this one." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy
"After having my parents in town for a visit, I had a chance to experience the Telluride with a consistent load of five to six people. The extra weight makes the lack of low-end torque much more apparent (peak torque comes in at a lofty 5,200 rpm), which means you have to poke the accelerator harder than you want.
"You can compensate for this a bit by switching to Sport drive mode, which ramps up the accelerator response some, but it also unfortunately delays upshifts, both of which negatively impact fuel economy. — Jonathan Elfalan, senior manager, vehicle testing
"I'm not a huge fan of the engine/transmission combo in the Telluride. It does almost everything else so seamlessly but the engine lacks power down low and pedal response is a bit lazy. The transmission is also a bit slow to react, taking its sweet time to downshift on a long uphill grade." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
"Though we never truly experience four seasons in Los Angeles, we can still venture out of city limits and get to places that do. Having all-wheel drive for a winter weekend trip to the mountains is always good insurance, especially when you have a car full of people counting on you to get them there safely." — Jonathan Elfalan, senior manager, vehicle testing
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
2020 Kia Telluride: Technology
Car technology comes in many forms. There's tech that keeps you entertained while on the road, keeps your devices charged and connected, makes parking a breeze or helps alleviate the stress of rush hour traffic.
The Telluride's tech covers all the bases from its 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment, numerous collision avoidance and mitigation systems, adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and USB ports for passengers in all three rows of seating.
How's this tech hold up over the long haul?
"I spent quite a bit of time in the Telluride over the weekend. I had family in town, so there was always someone in the backseat. Having USB ports for every seat was fantastic as both of my main passengers had phones with battery issues. Having to share power ports is never great, especially when I rely on Android Auto for navigation, music, etc. Sure, there was a mess of cords spread throughout the car, but at least everyone could charge their devices at once." — Reese Counts, vehicle test editor
"I spent four days and 700 miles in the Telluride on a road trip to Yosemite. It was one of our most pleasant (i.e., minimal kid-arguing) family drives, thanks to Harry Potter on Audible. But playing the story was complicated.
"For one, we needed to pair Bluetooth to a new device. That required pulling off of the freeway and stopping because the car wouldn't allow us to do so while in motion. It also required disconnecting my phone, which was connected via CarPlay. Otherwise the audio wouldn't pair up.
"Perhaps I overlooked something and there is a simple solution to my problems, but that requires further investigation. Seems like the process should be easier." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"In most cars with an up and down switch for media controls, down means backward and up means forward. Not so for the Telluride and other Kias. Down skips forward and up skips back. Not only is this inconsistent within the auto industry, but it's also inconsistent within the Telluride! When you use the manual shifter, up will upshift and down will downshift." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
2020 Kia Telluride: Utility
When it comes to hauling things other than passengers, the Telluride remains one of the standouts in the segment next to the Volkswagen Atlas. It has 21 cubic feet of storage behind the third-row seats, which is big enough to fit five carry-ons. So even with a cabin full of people, you have a good amount of space for cargo.
Folding down both third and second rows when you don't need them creates an expansive 87 cubic feet of storage, which allows you to move all sorts of things.
"Our Telluride has a two-inch receiver in the back bumper for towing or, in this case, for sliding in a bicycle rack. Take my advice. Disable the Kia Smart Power Liftgate feature first. If it is enabled and the key is in your pocket, you (or anyone in your party) that stands near the rear bumper for a few seconds will open the hatch. It doesn't mind if that bike rack is in the way or not. Please don't ask me how I know this." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"One of the biggest shocks of becoming a father for the first time is the astonishing quantity of kit required for even the simplest of trips. A short break to Big Bear Lake in California turned into a major expedition with a foldaway crib, a high chair, a stroller and at least 16 different bags.
"For such an undertaking, the Telluride was the obvious choice. Few people genuinely need a vehicle this big, but it's certainly useful. Despite my hapless packing skills, everything fit easily and the rear-facing child seat (huge in itself) could be installed without compromising the legroom of the front passenger. In my experience that's a rarity, however big the vehicle." — Alistair Weaver, VP, editorial & editor-in-chief
"This thing is deceptively large on the inside and that's part of the charm. A big kitchen-table bench, 10 boxes and all sorts of groceries fit in the back of the Telluride with no issue. Folding the second row of seats is a bit janky, but space-wise, this thing totally fits my weekend needs." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
"I maxed out the Telluride's vertical cargo space with the latest addition to my personal workshop: a milling machine. I drove up to Pasadena to pick it up, rather than pay a whole lotta cash for freight. This thing is HEAVY. The big wooden crate cleared the headliner with less than a quarter inch to spare. Good thing, because otherwise I would've had to take it out of the crate and risk getting all of that horrible cosmoline grease all over the place." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor
"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