2020 Kia Telluride: Should The Competition Be Afraid?

The largest Kia ever is here and it’s a direct threat to the mid-size SUVs that rule the segment, such as the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and the lot.

Yes, we’re talking about the 2020 Kia Telluride, a three-row SUV that shares underpinnings with another big Korean utility vehicle, the Hyundai Palisade. The Telluride slots above the Sorento in the lineup and while the latter model does offer three-row seating as standard for 2019, the Telluride offers more space back there.

Enough for three passengers, actually, as this is an eight-seat SUV — the Sorento is a seven-seater. Sure, two taller adults might not be that comfortable sitting there on longer trips but they will definitely enjoy more room than in the Sorento, as Doug DeMuro’s review points out. As for putting three adults in the third row, it should only be attempted in emergency situations.

Also watch: Consumer Reports Take On 2019 Kia Sorento Is That It Offers Plenty Bang For Your Buck

Space elsewhere is generous, and the seats are comfortable too. But interior quality is where the Telluride scores big, at least compared to its rivals. The switchgear has a classy look and feel, and the materials used inside are impressive.

So how does it drive? The 2020 Telluride packs a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 291 hp and 262 lb-ft (355 Nm) of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels — AWD is optional.

The reviewer found the big Korean SUV reasonably quick and having plenty of power for overtaking. Overall, it doesn’t feel that different from its rivals, though. The cabin is fairly quiet and the ride is good too.


  • TheBelltower

    This is a good looking SUV that’s going to hurt complacent brands like Toyota, Ford and Chevy. Though this color and these wheels aren’t doing this bus any favors.

    • Bullitt2605

      Toyota maybe but i don’t see Ford and Chevy as being complacent. Ford just did a complete redesign of the Explorer and Chevy’s it fairly new.

      • gfurry

        Fords issue is they are the best selling and they know it. I would love a new ST but not for 60K

    • ErnieB

      The new Ford Explorer looks to be awesome.. but this Kia is top notch!

      • gfurry

        As a 4 time Ford Explorer owner that would love to trade my Explorer sport for a new ST I am seriously looking at the Telluride for no other reason than the new ST is going to cost 8K more than my 52K sport Ouch!

        • MarketAndChurch

          It is pretty sad. Ford buyers, especially of the Expedition and Explorer, have shown that they’re more than willing to drop down a ton of cash on whatever top-trim Ford has to offer. I think Ford is experimenting here to see if they can push that ceiling further. I wish the regular ST was the same as the current Sport, with a more expensive version of the Sport coming in at the 56,000. I also don’t know why anyone would want the entry-level Aviator over the Explorer Sport.

  • Hitchens2

    Enough with Doug

    • EM1

      I can’t stand that they are promoting the same person 10 million times.

    • bd0007


      There are so many better YT reviewers.

    • MayTheBestCarWin05

      Say what you want about Doug, but the market has spoken….he is one of THE most watched YouTube auto reviewers.

      • bd0007

        The market has also spoken re the Kardashians; popularity doesn’t = quality or worthwhile programming.

    • Liam Paul

      I don’t watch his videos either but if people want to watch him, I say whatever floats their boats. I don’t know what it is but I find him ignoring

    • MarketAndChurch

      I like doug. I also watch most of his videos when they come out on youtube. But he sometimes doesn’t have the best content.

    • mm ds

      good for him~~~~~~~

  • anthony801

    Buying a kia is like going into a .99 cent store, but everything is over .99 cent.

  • SamBamm

    Why do this referred to this as a Korean Vehicle? It is designed and produced in the USA. Yes, I know it is produced by a Korean owned company, but Jags and Land Rovers are not called Indian. Opel’s are not called French, ect, ect. Just looking for some truth and accountability in reporting.

    • Matt

      Land Rover is still a British brand though, wrong comparison to make.

      • Alduin

        Yes and still unreliable like every British car ever made.

        • Matt

          Absolutely no relevance to the discussion.

  • MayTheBestCarWin05

    bc regardless of how exciting or boring he is…he rakes in waaaaay more views than any of the outlets you just listed.

  • MayTheBestCarWin05


  • ace_9

    Wow, you are COMPLETELY missing a point of Doug’s videos. I can’t believe the channels that you mentioned in comparison 😮 Did you even see one of Doug’s reviews? Did you try to get it? You seem to be 50+ years old (and not cheerful) without really wanting or needing anything else than a typical car review so I don’t understand why you are complaining about something different. Just don’t watch his videos.

    • bd0007

      Totally do “get” his videos.

      Don’t find him at all to be humorous or witty; but rather dull and insipid in the Jay Leno (lowest common denominator) way.

      You think The Straight Pipes or Throttle House are geared for 50+ year olds? lol

      • ace_9

        You don’t completely get his videos. He also shows much much more details and uncommon things in cars that you cannot see anywhere else. He also “reviews” older cars, mostly interesting, weird or uncommon cars with surprising features and details compared to common cars nowadays. I like this very much, because it is not that easy to see the “quirks and features” of an F40 for example, so easily. You don’t get this anywhere else. If you would get Doug’s videos you would also know that they are not about objective factual car review. He provides his opinions in a unique way. Kind of like Jeremy Clarkson, but showing more about the cars themselves and with different type of humor. If you don’t find him amusing at all, then once again, you don’t need to watch him, but don’t compare his videos to real car reviews. His videos are more for entertainment, not getting the usual facts about cars. And yes, he is sometimes wrong, almost everyone watching his channel knows it. So what? I can forget some mistakes or wrong assumptions. He is mostly right. You can get the facts in the channels that you mentioned, which I don’t think are for 50+ year olds. Only you sound like a 50+ year old, because you cannot understand that videos about car don’t necessarily have to be a factual car reviews. Btw. I also find Doug strangely annoying at first, but the more videos I watched, the more I liked it. He provides much more additional information about many cars that are not available anywhere else. And he is very consistent, which I also like. He puts really big effort into his videos and it really shows, so I don’t think he deserves to be criticized so harshly. There are many others who deserve the criticism much more with their narcissistic videos, where they occasionally show some car.

  • Jawohl

    Horrible looking thing

  • MarketAndChurch

    First the X7, and now this. Doug really needs to stop shooting these videos in overcast weather. Get a better camera. Film in the early morning. Or maybe at the beach. Pile up more b-roll. Spend more time editing the final product… something. Anything to show the vehicles he’s taping at their very best.

  • Alduin

    The concept looked better especially the front end.

  • Hot Twink

    I could see it stealing away some sales, but the new Explorer (U625) will have several advantages over the Telluride.

    The Explorer’s longitudinal rear-wheel drive powertrian allows for more powerful engines, better handling, and better towing performance.

    Explorer’s all-wheel drive system will also be superior since uses a heavy-duty transfer case with lockup multi-disc clutch.

    The Telluride doesn’t use a transfer case, since it’s not compatible with a transverse front-wheel drive layout. Instead, the Telluride has to use a front transaxle with PTO (power take off) and RDM (rear driveline module).

    • StephenHendricks

      You’re correct that the Explorer’s rear wheel biased AWD and associated features offers greater towing capacity than the Telluride, but it’s not by much. (5600 vs 5000 lbs.) If you want a “midsize” crossover for serious towing, you need to look at the Dodge Durango or even the Jeep Grand Cherokee, each of which has a much higher tow rating than the new Explorer.

      You’re also correct that the Explorer offers superior performance in some engine options. But I suspect the Explorer ST will have a very low take rate. (The Edge ST does.) Furthermore, the Explorer is about 350 lbs heavier than the Telluride. That’s like carrying around an NFL lineman in the back seat. I’ll be surprised if the typical measures of performance are greatly different, especially in the better selling configurations.

      Finally, and most critically, for comparable trims, the Telluride will be many thousands of dollars less expensive than the Explorer. KIA has extremely aggressive pricing for the SX trim. Comparable features in the Explorer drive the MSRP to about $10,000 more.

      I expect the new generation Explorer will sell very well, especially since Ford relies to a great extent on fleet sales, many to law enforcement and other public agencies that routinely purchase new vehicles far more often than consumers. And the sixth generation Explorer’s improvements are impressive. Good for Ford. But that doesn’t imply that the Telluride is anything other than impressive in its own ways.

    • Galaxium

      You missed the point where the new Explorer design is truly awful.

  • MultiKdizzle

    It’s not just you.

    Hoods are higher these days for pedestrian protection, which means beltlines are higher, which means wheels are bigger to fill the huge expanses of metal on the sides.

  • MultiKdizzle

    Try Lovecars!

    It’s Tiff Needell from 5th Gear.

    Also shoutout to Carthrottle, Carfection, Donut Media, Carwow.

  • brn

    Every time Hyundai / Kia comes out with a new vehicle, the automotive press says the higher end competition should be afraid. Three years later, it’s generally understood to barely be a threat to it’s similarly priced competition. I do not understand the automotive press’ love affair with Hyundai / Kia.

    • Enter Ranting

      Hyundais and Kias are EVERYWHERE in Los Angeles. I see more of them than I do Hondas. They’re doing something right…

  • Maykel

    Not bad for a first gen.

  • jason wu

    First Kia I am seriously considering.

    • Bash

      You got that right.

  • Marc Gruben

    I work in the car business. Where the Telluride REALLY shines is in passenger accommodation, especially in the second row. With the front seats pushed all the way back and reclined a bit, a 6-footer can sit comfortably behind them so that his knees aren’t anywhere close to touching the front seat. Secondly, the rear seats sit high enough off the floor that you put your feet flat on the floor, and your knees aren’t up in your face. Third, the door openings are large enough that a 6-footer really doesn’t have to duck his head getting into the car. Too many SUV’s make these compromises; I looked at a 2017 Buick Enclave yesterday and the second-row accomodation was truly awful considering its size.

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