Engine: 3.8-liter gas direct injection V6
Torque: 262 lb.-ft. at 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA ratings: 19/city, 24/highway, 21/combined
Base price: $43,490
As tested: $46,860
Overview: There’s a reason the all-new, 2020 Kia Telluride is winning awards everywhere — it’s simply a great, well-thought-out crossover SUV. At Mudfest, the Northwest Automotive Press Association’s nationally recognized Activity Vehicle of the Year event — a two-day on- and off-road, head-to-head competition — the Telluride won its class, beating out the formidable Toyota 4-Runner, and finished second overall. It took first-place honors at the Texas Motor Press Association’s inaugural Off-Road Invitational, and was also named the Texas CUV of the Year by rival Texas Auto Writers Association. While there are four trim levels, the LX, S, EX and SX, we tested the AWD SX — at Mudfest and in our regular rotation.
Walkaround: The Telluride is easily mistakable for a Volvo XC90 — perhaps intentionally. About the same size as the Honda Pilot, it features big, rear windows, and rounded edges softening its boxy profile. Other notables include a 5,000-pound towing capacity, power liftgate, dual sunroofs, LED headlamps and black or machine-finish 18-inch alloy wheels, with 20s available.
Interior: The Telluride offers a very roomy, luxury-car-quiet, upscale cabin with all three rows easily accessible, spacious and adult-friendly. Seating is very comfortable and supportive thanks to ergonomic contouring and good adjustability, as well as being heated and ventilated. Instrumentation is clearly labeled and logically grouped, and includes a head-up display, plus Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto. Climate controls are easy to use and capable of regulating temperature in all three rows. All functions are controlled from a 10.3-inch touch screen or via voice command, with some steering wheel duplication. Turn-signal activated cameras show what’s next to you as well as directly in front, and there’s a standard rear-view camera. Two 12-volt outlets flank an extra USB port, as well as wireless charging. There’s a driver voice amplifier for the rear seats and a quiet mode that silences the rear speakers. Visibility is excellent thanks to large windows. Cargo capacity is 87 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
Under the Hood: A 291-horse V6 married to an eight-speed automatic is the standard drivetrain. It’s front-wheel drive, with selectable drive modes. All-wheel drive is optional.
Behind the Wheel: While the V6 is capable and responsive, torque isn’t abundant. But excellent engineering helps the Telluride accelerate smoothly from stops and handle passing well. For a standard powerplant in this class, it’s competent and surprisingly eager. Braking is strong, and the Telluride is stable in turns with minimal body roll. The transmission is intelligent and responds quickly.
Bottom Line: Big, bold, comfortable and capable, the all-new 2020 Kia Telluride offers rugged luxury at every level plus a 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. It drives well and delivers plenty of utility, with all the features we expect. If you’re looking at three-row crossover SUVs, the Telluride belongs on your short list — it’s on ours.