Kia debuted the production version of its 2020 Telluride full-size SUV, an adventure-ready vehicle that would rather wander off road than haul groceries.
The SUV was designed with the U.S. market in mind, and its boxy silhouette is a nod to the “original, legendary SUVs” that exude a go-anywhere vibe.
The eight-seater made its official debut at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday. Last year, it appeared clad in special edition trims at the New York Fashion Week and SEMA show in Las Vegas.
‘Largest Kia ever’
The Telluride will be available in four trim levels: LX, EX, S and SX. Each trim offers an all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive version. The SUV seats up to eight passengers and is the “largest Kia ever,” according to the automaker.
The Telluride has a 3.8-liter V6 engine that delivers 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and has four-wheel independent suspension as well as a self-leveling rear suspension.
All-wheel drive models come with active on-demand all-wheel drive, a system that distributes torque between the Telluride’s front and rear wheels in response to driving conditions. This mode is in addition to the vehicle’s other standard drive modes: Smart, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Snow.
Toggling among driving modes adjusts the Telluride’s steering, powertrain and drivetrain settings. For example, Smart and Eco modes shift 100 percent of the SUV’s power to the front wheels, while Comfort and Snow split 80 percent power to the back and 20 percent to the front.
The Telluride also boasts a luxurious interior. All trims of the SUV come standard with brushed metal and matte-finished wood accents, ceiling-mounted second-row climate control, reclining third-row seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Extra-padded Nappa leather upholstery seats are available, as are heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel.
Each trim features the same exterior design, highlighted by a wide grille, stacked headlamps and elongated badging. The EX and SX trims have inverted L-shaped tail lamps and LED strips, as well as integrated twin exhaust tips and a sculpted rear skid plate.
Adding a tow hitch is extra, but if it’s something the buyer wants, standard-sized tow hitches are compatible. The SUV hauls up to 5,000 pounds. Depending on payload weight, the Telluride also will automatically adjust ride height to assist with stability and control (this smart feature is optional on EX and SX trims).
The Telluride features a suite of available advanced safety tech, which the automaker calls the Kia Drive Wise driver-assist systems. It includes forward-collision warning and avoidance assist, blind-spot collision avoidance, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Standard safety features include highway drive assist, lane follow assist and Driver Talk, which lets the driver communicate with the second and third row of seats via a microphone.
Other safety upgrades include high beam assist, blind-spot monitoring, surround view monitor and rear and front parking distance warning. Downhill brake control, hill-start assist, a tire pressure-monitoring system and electronic stability control are all standard.
In addition to its built-in infotainment, the Telluride is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 10.25-inch color touchscreen is available as well as a rearview monitor, a 10-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, wireless smartphone charging and multi-Bluetooth connectivity. Each comes standard with five USB ports.
Kia will announce pricing information closer to the 2020 Telluride’s on-sale date later this year.