A blue 2020 Kia Telluride is driving through a river in front of mountains.

Introducing the 2020 Kia Telluride


Next year’s models are starting to pop up already, and along with them comes the 2020 Kia Telluride. Designed in the spirit of adventure and named after a town in the Rocky Mountains, the Telluride is meant to be the perfect all-around crossover sport utility vehicle. Boasting a bunch of standard features as well as ample space and style, Kia has put together a product perfect for someone looking to put their SUV through it all while still riding in comfort.

The Concept

In the world of chemistry, Telluride is a compound of tellurium with another more electropositive element or a radical. In that spirit, Kia took everything that makes an SUV special and added it to it until they reached something more: the Telluride. The exterior hints at ruggedness while not getting too in-your-face. The Telluride proudly bares its name on the hood and rear. The grill in the front is minimal, with two smaller grills below and stacked headlights on the side and fog lights down below. The back looks tidy with hook-shaped taillights and dual exhaust with the pipes stationed side by side.

The interior is where the majority of the magic is found. Kia refers to the front as the “Driver’s Cockpit,” and it’s honestly the best way to describe it. The look is clean, with many of the controls centered on the steering wheel. There aren’t too many knobs or buttons all over the place, but rather everything where you expect to find it without getting in the way. There’s also the available 10.25-inch touchscreen at the center of the dash, perfectly placed in the middle like a control system. Telluride drivers also have the option to add a Head-Up Display giving miles per hour and navigational instructions right on the windshield.

The interior of the 2020 Kia Telluride is shown.

The Telluride is very driver-centric, but also pays equal attention to all your passengers as well. Kia has also created a feature called “Driver Talk,” which amplifies the driver’s voice to the rear passengers. Those who have had passengers complain about being left out of the conversation will have no excuse anymore, and with three rows of seating, the concern would otherwise be justified. On the other end of the spectrum of needs, The Telluride can also have a “Quiet Mode” where music only plays through the front speakers. This is ideal for anyone with sleeping passengers. There’s also enough USB ports to go around, so all outboard passengers have an opportunity to charge their phones. The Telluride can also connect to multiple phones at one time via Bluetooth and has an option for wireless charging.

The Features

Connecting your phone to your car goes farther than ever these days with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both available in the Telluride. These allow you to access apps safely that can entertain or guide you. Listen to your music, podcasts, or audiobooks with ease. You can also access the navigation apps you know and trust that will feed into your screen.

The 2020 Telluride has four driving modes:

  • Comfort Mode — For easy everyday driving.
  • Sport Mode — Designed with the track in mind, this will utilize all 291 horsepower the 3.8-liter V6 has to offer.
  • Eco Mode — This adjusts your Telluride’s systems, like lowering throttle, allowing you to drive with higher fuel efficiency.
  • Smart Mode — Your Kia learns from your driving habits and intuits which modes you prefer for certain situations.

Safety is paramount when selecting a vehicle, and Kia has provided the Telluride with plenty of options to keep you and your passengers out of harm’s way. The available Blind Spot Warning helps warn you if you’re attempting to change lanes while another vehicle is traveling out of easy view of your mirror. There’s a Highway Driving feature that allows you to cruise safely, matching the speed of other cars ahead of you to prevent unneeded tailgating.

Safe Exit Door Sensors are handy for those who frequently have to park on the street, sensing when an oncoming object or vehicle may come into contact with the opening door. The available Surround View Monitor gives you a birds-eye view of your Telluride and the obstacles around it, helping you to park safely in any spot. Kia also provides a Rear Occupant Alert that warns an exiting driver that one of the passengers behind them is still in the back, very useful for parents.

The Goods

The 2020 Telluride is already receiving awards and recognition. Cars.com awarded it the “Best in Show” at the Detroit Auto Show. It was recognized for its space, comfort, technology, and amenities that rivaled any luxury vehicle. The Telluride was also awarded “Mid-Size CUV of Texas” and “CUV of Texas” by the Texas Writers Association. Forty-four journalist members of TAWA met at the 2019 Auto Roundup and evaluated a variety of 29 vehicles and gave the Telluride these top honors.

While the Telluride is so clearly designed to be as comfortable and great to drive as possible under normal conditions, it can be easy to overlook how practical it can be as a work machine. The 2020 model can get up to 5,000-pound towing capacity so you can hitch anything from a trailer full of bricks to a camper with ease. Combine this with the stellar 87 cu.ft. of maximum cargo space, and you have an SUV ready to take on any task.

The Telluride is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive model averages a combined twenty-three miles per gallon. The all-wheel drive option drops down to a combined average of 21 miles per gallon.

A blue 2020 Kia Telluride is crossing a river.

The Rest of It

The 2020 Kia Telluride is trying to do a lot. To make a statement, with more than a quirky name. The Telluride is an attempt at making the perfect SUV, one the driver can be proud of. So proud they welded the name on the front and back, so you know exactly what is coming and going. An SUV where the designers sat in the driver’s seat and went over every little detail and aspect of a drivers experience, getting down to stuff like “Hey, sometimes it’s hard for people to hear me when I’m upfront.” So they put in an amplifier so the captain can address their whole crew. They developed a control system, mainly on the steering wheel but also on the beautiful touchscreen display right in the middle of the dash. They knew you still need to be connected on the road, so they made your phone a part of your car.

When they were done, they sat in the other seven seats. They realized that everyone’s going to want to charge their phones, and they shouldn’t have to fight over who can plug-in and where. They figured that people in the back, whether they be kids after a long day or friends during a long trip, might want a little peace and quiet from the sounds upfront. They realized that the people in those seats are most likely going to be friends and family that need to be kept safe at all costs, so they developed a plethora of safety systems, aides, and warnings, so you don’t have to worry. It’s impossible to say whether the 2020 Kia Telluride is perfect, but it’s starting to get the recognition to back the idea up.