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2020 Kia Telluride - Driven

2020 Kia Telluride - Driven

We put Kia’s newest and largest SUV to the test - is it noteworthy?

The Telluride joined Kia’s lineup for the 2020 model year as its biggest SUV yet. It’s positioned in the midsize class, despite the fact that it’s not much larger than the Kia Sorento. As is the usual case, it shares a lot of core DNA with a Hyundai product – in this case, the Hyundai Palisade – but it still features its own distinct styling. It’s only available with a V-6, but it does provide ample power, towing up to 5,000 pounds, and it comes at a price that gives it a competitive edge over models like the Honda Pilot and Volkswagen Atlas.

As Kia’s newst SUV, we’ve been itching to see what it’s like to live with the new Telluride, and we finally got out chance. This is what we’ve learned after a week of driving the Hyundai Telluride.

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2020 Kia Telluride - Driven

2020 Kia Telluride - Driven

A three-row crossover that’s no mere family-hauler

As I photographed the 2020 Kia Telluride in a Maryland park, a fellow visitor peeled off from his family to ask about the car. It made sense. Full-size crossovers like the Telluride are the chariot of choice for many families today, thanks to their three rows of seats and long lists of amenities. And the all-new Telluride had just hit the market. But as it turned out, the man wasn’t eyeing the Telluride for himself. It was his teenage daughter who’d sent him across the parking lot to check out this newly released SUV. It looked cool, she told him, kind of like a Range Rover. And she wanted one.

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2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

Kia’s contender for the premium midsize SUV market

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2020 Kia Telluride is the company’s largest SUV yet and the first vehicle the Korean brand developed specifically for the U.S. market. It is based on the Telluride concept shown in 2016 but the two share very few features inside and out. It shares underpinnings with the 2019 Hyundai Palisade, introduced in 2018.

Although it’s the largest Kia yet and it can seat up to eight people, the Telluride isn’t much bigger than the Sorento. However, the few extra inches it has in the wheelbase and width enable it to compete with the popular Honda Pilot and the newly introduced Volkswagen Atlas. Like most midsize SUVs, the Telluride comes with just one engine in the form of a V-6, but if the concept before it is any indication, a hybrid drivetrain will be offered soon.

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2016 Kia Telluride Concept

2016 Kia Telluride Concept

Kia’s vision for a future full-sized luxury SUV that will sit above the Kia Sorento took shape at the 2016 North American International Auto Show with the debut of the Kia Telluride Concept.

The three-row, seven-seater SUV concept is actually based on an existing platform that already underpins the Sorento. To accommodate the bigger size of the Telluride, Kia stretched the wheelbase of the chassis to 121.3 inches, almost a foot longer than the wheelbase of the Sorento. Its massive size notwithstanding, the Telluride also comes with a dramatic body design that’s fixing to attract its fair share of fans. Inside, Kia loaded up on the technology, even though most of them is unlikely to make it to production anytime soon.

The whole SUV, for that matter, is simply a “theoretical” exercise for Kia so even if the Telluride does get positive reviews from the gathered folks at Detroit, there are no assurances that Kia will proceed with a production version anytime soon. That’s not to say that a full-sized luxury SUV isn’t going to happen for the Korean brand. It just means that we shouldn’t hold out hope of seeing the Telluride in showrooms in the near future.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Telluride Concept.

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