2020 Kia Telluride: 6 Things We Like (and 2 Not So Much)

03-kia-telluride-2020-angle--brown--exterior--front.jpg 2020 Kia Telluride | photo by Brian Wong

Kia wowed us with its all-new Telluride large SUV at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and after crawling around the 2020 Telluride, we gave it our Best in Show award. But does it deliver on all that promise? It does … and then some. The 2020 Kia Telluride hits a lot of high notes: It’s roomy, comfortable, refined and affordable.

Related: 2020 Kia Telluride Review: The New Big SUV Benchmark

Shop the 2020 Kia Telluride near you

2020 Kia Telluride LX
39,957 mi.
$27,995 $1,000 price drop
Great Deal | $2,811 under
2020 Kia Telluride LX
74,330 mi.
$24,987 $1,008 price drop
Good Deal

In his review of the Telluride,’s Aaron Bragman called the all-new SUV big, comfy and classy, and said the newcomer “immediately becomes a benchmark in the large crossover class.” Was there anything Bragman didn’t like? Yes — but the positives far outweigh the criticisms.

Here are half a dozen things we like, and a couple we don’t, about the 2020 Kia Telluride:

Things We Like

02-kia-telluride-2020-brown--exterior--front.jpg 2020 Kia Telluride | photo by Brian Wong

1. Strong Powertrain

The sole powertrain is a 291-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and Bragman says it’s a winning combo. While he notes that it may be just middle-of-the-pack for power numbers when compared with competitors like the Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot, it has more than enough grunt to competently get the job done, while the transmission shines for its unobtrusive, buttery-smooth shifts. Bragman says putting the drive mode selector into Sport seems to make the transmission hold lower gears longer and downshift more readily, providing “a little extra spring in the Telluride’s step.”

2. Comfortable Ride and Handling Balance

Handling is often a sore point for large SUVs, but the Telluride excels at being stable and comfortable. Bragman says steering feel is firm and transmits quite well to the driver what the wheels and pavement are doing. Ride quality is another high point: Even at 40 mph on a rock-strewn dirt road, nothing upset the Telluride’s chassis or steering.

3. Upscale Materials

08-kia-telluride-2020-black--front-row--interior--seat--two-tone 2020 Kia Telluride | photos by Aaron Bragman

The Kia brand is no longer synonymous with the word “budget,” and the Telluride’s cabin showcases the automaker’s creative use of materials and attention to detail. Genuine Nappa leather seats in the top SX trim that Bragman tested impressed the reviewer, as did the fact that none of the metal or wood trim is real — “but damned if you won’t think it is,” he said.

4. Cargo Room

The Telluride’s cargo area is vast, with 21 cubic feet of space behind the third row — second only to the Traverse (23 cubic feet). Folding the third row down nets a class-competitive 46 cubic feet of space. What do those numbers mean?

“Point being, you’re unlikely to run out of room for people or stuff in the Telluride,” Bragman said.

20-kia-telluride-2020-interior--trunk.jpg 2020 Kia Telluride | photos by Aaron Bragman

5. Easy-Peasy Multimedia System

Kia’s always had a user-friendly multimedia system with Uvo, and the Telluride’s builds on that success. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and there are a couple of extra features that make it stand out. The Driver Talk feature mutes the music and activates a microphone to project the driver’s voice to speakers in the back. Conversely, Quiet Mode mutes all but the front speakers and turns those ones down so the kids or anyone else in the vehicle (besides the driver, of course) can nap.

13-kia-telluride-2020-center-stack--interior.jpg 2020 Kia Telluride | photos by Aaron Bragman

6. Standard Safety Features

To be competitive, the Telluride had to show up with loads of standard safety features — and it does. Standards include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane keep assist, automatic lane-centering, blind spot detection with braking and steering intervention, and rear cross-traffic alert and intervention. Also standard is safe exit assistance for the rear seats, which uses the SUV’s rear-facing radar to detect oncoming traffic and can prevent a rear door from opening if an approaching vehicle or bicycle is detected.

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Things We Don’t

1. Third Row Room

19-kia-telluride-2020-interior--third-row.jpg 2020 Kia Telluride | photos by Aaron Bragman

Many three-row vehicles suffer from third-row cramp, and the Telluride is no exception. Although it technically has seat belts for three people, only two passengers will fit and their comfort will be questionable.

2. The Curious Case of a Few Missing Features

The Telluride’s competitors offer a few features that it does not, like an automatic parking function (either parallel or perpendicular) and a rear entertainment system (though the USB ports in back support tablet use). Lastly, there’s no power third row: The seatbacks must be raised and lowered manually.

One feature it does have, meanwhile, is not done well: the head-up display. It disappears completely if you’re wearing polarized sunglasses, which also polarized an otherwise impressed Bragman. “Big fail on that, Kia,” he said.

02-kia-telluride-2020-angle--exterior--green--rear.jpg 2020 Kia Telluride | photo by Aaron Bragman’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Jennifer Geiger
News Editor Jennifer Geiger joined the automotive industry in 2003, much to the delight of her Corvette-obsessed dad. Jennifer is an expert reviewer, certified car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats — many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

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