2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD new car reviews

OK class: Pop-quiz time! Who remembers the Kia Borrego? If you had to Google it, you’re not alone, and we won’t take points off. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Kia Borrego was Kia’s flagship SUV, introduced to the American market all the way back in 2008. It lasted one model year, 2009. Even with body-on-frame construction and the Tau 4.6-Liter V8 available, consumers weren’t ready for a $38k Kia SUV in 2009, but the Korean manufacturer has come a long way since then.

The new for 2020 Kia Telluride is now unit-body with FWD standard, and AWD an available option.

And just look at it: It looks somehow retro with its box design, and yet modern, too. From Kia’s press site: “From the first pencil stroke it was meant to convey the kind of presence associated with the original legendary SUVs – big, bold and boxy – and the go-anywhere, do-anything attitude their square, burly-shouldered shapes suggested.”

We’d say they got the looks just right.

With a MSRP of $43,490 for a Telluride SX V6, our AWD tester came in at $48,100. Time will tell if consumers are ready this time around.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

What a mix of old and new–and I mean that in a good way. Here, let me explain.

The Telluride has all of the niceties one would expect from a new, full-size SUV. But here’s the kicker: In the Telluride, they’re easy to figure out. Yes, we’re talking conventional buttons and knobs.

Get in and want to adjust the seat? Easy–just drop your hand down to the side of the seat. No instruction manual necessary.

Want to put it in gear? The Telluride features a conventional shifter–not a series of buttons, knobs or other cuteness. Now, the Telluride’s shifter is modern and nicely styled, but it also doesn’t leave anything to chance.

Radio? HVAC? Seat warmers? All are controlled by simple, easy-to-understand buttons. No single knob that, somehow, does all.

Driving dynamics are par for the course. The steering feels a little dead on center. But I have hopes here, as Albert Biermann–formerly VP of engineering for BMW’s M Division–was recently promoted to Hyundai Motor Group’s head of engineering. I’m assuming that we’ll soon see any issues relating to driving dynamics fixed. And stat.

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

The Telluride is a very solid player in the large-midsize SUV market. It looks good enough, rides very well, and handles decently, once you turn the annoying lane management nannies off.

With a towing capacity of 5000 pounds, it suits most towing needs. The interior is quite comfortable, although I am not wild about the rather average front seats. The interior is quiet. The larger-than-average rear doors are easy to get in and out of and with the rear seats folded down, there is ample room to carry furniture and the like in the rear.

Kia and Hyundai came into the market with cheap prices and good warranties. With a price tag just south of $50,000, the Telluride is not a cheap date and you can no longer really think of Kia as being any cheaper than a Honda or Toyota.

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

It’s rare that I get in a SUV and feel any sort of excitement. Not that I’m completely anti-SUV, mind you. Sometimes practicality and utility is an appealing combo, and if they’re not hellish to drive, all the better. But the Telluride feels… special. It’s a fairly unquantifiable type of specialness, but I’ll say that at one point when I pulled up next to a Range Rover at a light, I did not feel for a second like I was in an inferior or in any way less premium vehicle. Sure the Telluride has some nits to pick: The lane departure feedback in the steering wheel tries so hard to be seamless that you have a hard time discerning car-generated feedback from actual road irregularities. I get that this is probably part of the mission statement, but I do still like to be able to know what’s real and what’s a suggestion from a machine. But the overall driving experience is extremely high-end, and the Telluride feels far more expensive than its sub-$50,000 sticker would suggest.

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Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/3/19 10:16 a.m.

The Borrego. What a difference a decade makes. 

_
_ Reader
6/3/19 10:32 a.m.

 Really Kia? Unibody?

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/3/19 10:37 a.m.

In reply to _ :

All the cool kids are doing it.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/3/19 11:22 a.m.

I dig it. I'm not in the market for something like this, but I like looks and reviews I've read so far. 

It reminds me of a Land Rover I could afford to buy and maintain.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/3/19 11:33 a.m.

I've seen a couple on the street and they are good looking truckish things. Plenty capable in all regards for most peoples needs, I suspect. I saw an article somewhere that tested teh off road ability and was pleasantly surprised, at least for a BOF without a 2spd xfer case.

How were the Borregos off road? I remember the name but nothing at all about the vehicle.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/3/19 12:43 p.m.

The only thing I got from that article was there are 4.6-Tau donors out there. Everything else was just a bunch of mumbo jumbo about Parking Lot cruisers. 

 

EDIT: Hmm.... I wonder if the bell housing on the Tau is similar to the Lambda? Tau-swapped Gen Coupe? 

 

EDIT dos: sweet.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
6/3/19 12:49 p.m.
ultraclyde said:

How were the Borregos off road? I remember the name but nothing at all about the vehicle.

Not sure on the offroad spec, but I recall that parts availability was nightmarish even when they weren't even that old. Our GM dealer sold a used one in around '11 or '12 and it had a rear diff failure if I recall, so we sent it to Kia because it was still under powertrain warranty. It sat up there for 2 months while they waited for a new one

mtn
mtn MegaDork
6/3/19 12:51 p.m.

My wife has declared this is the only possible replacement of the AngieVan (a Sedona). It isn't in the cards financially, and I like the minivan better anyways, but it still looks awesome. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/3/19 12:54 p.m.
mtn said:

My wife has declared this is the only possible replacement of the AngieVan (a Sedona). It isn't in the cards financially, and I like the minivan better anyways, but it still looks awesome. 

It's Korean. Wait two years and it'll be priced right. Wait, it's an SUV, so make that 3 years. 

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/3/19 1:21 p.m.
bobzilla said:

The only thing I got from that article was there are 4.6-Tau donors out there. Everything else was just a bunch of mumbo jumbo about Parking Lot cruisers. 

 

EDIT: Hmm.... I wonder if the bell housing on the Tau is similar to the Lambda? Tau-swapped Gen Coupe? 

 

EDIT dos: sweet.

I'm glad someone caught that the Borrego had the 4.6 option. Sweet indeed.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/3/19 1:35 p.m.

Speaking of the donor car... I rode in one last year. One of our marketing girl's boyfriend owned one. It was like many Kia's and Hyundais and had been beaten HARD. brake rotors were a pretty color of blue and the entire truck shook like hell under hard braking. Interior was filthy and had more scratches from stuff getting tossed in without a care in the world. She said it had 140k miles and they changed oil and tires in the previous 4 years. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
6/3/19 1:51 p.m.
bobzilla said:
mtn said:

My wife has declared this is the only possible replacement of the AngieVan (a Sedona). It isn't in the cards financially, and I like the minivan better anyways, but it still looks awesome. 

It's Korean. Wait two years and it'll be priced right. Wait, it's an SUV, so make that 3 years. 

Barring a wreck (don't say that!), the van stays for at least 10 years. But I'd probably do what we did with the van - look for a leftover MY and lowball the hell out of the dealer while they're offering 0% financing. Seriously, we got the van for something like $15k off MSRP brand new, because it was a '17 in June of 2018.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/3/19 1:55 p.m.
mtn said:
bobzilla said:
mtn said:

My wife has declared this is the only possible replacement of the AngieVan (a Sedona). It isn't in the cards financially, and I like the minivan better anyways, but it still looks awesome. 

It's Korean. Wait two years and it'll be priced right. Wait, it's an SUV, so make that 3 years. 

Barring a wreck (don't say that!), the van stays for at least 10 years. But I'd probably do what we did with the van - look for a leftover MY and lowball the hell out of the dealer while they're offering 0% financing. Seriously, we got the van for something like $15k off MSRP brand new, because it was a '17 in June of 2018.

NICE! We'll probably go that route when she's ready to either retire or move to a school closer. Until then we'll keep buying sub-$8k cars and run them in the ground, rinse and repeat. 

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
6/3/19 2:08 p.m.

Future Mrs. Racetruck commented on these the other day. Assuming Korean car depreciation I think one of these will be replacing her Grand Cherokee in a year or two.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
6/3/19 2:55 p.m.

Like the Stinger and G70, this is another serious step forward For Huyndai-Kia. 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
6/3/19 3:31 p.m.

I will say, their advertising department did right with that ad where its just one of these ripping around a muddy field with a roaring V8 soundtrack

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
6/3/19 4:05 p.m.

They looked like smashed escalades to me. But with Kia depreciation being what it generally is, I should be able to get one for challenge money in like two weeks. 

dxman92
dxman92 Reader
6/3/19 5:49 p.m.

I doubt you will see someone ripping around a muddy field like in the commercial. Maybe a muddy soccer field parking lot or driveway. Hey one can dream wink

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
6/3/19 6:12 p.m.
dxman92 said:

I doubt you will see someone ripping around a muddy field like in the commercial. Maybe a muddy soccer field parking lot or driveway. Hey one can dream wink

never underestimate the power of a we finance anyone attitude and a healthy meth habit. 

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/3/19 6:35 p.m.
Mndsm said:
dxman92 said:

I doubt you will see someone ripping around a muddy field like in the commercial. Maybe a muddy soccer field parking lot or driveway. Hey one can dream wink

never underestimate the power of a we finance anyone attitude and a healthy meth habit. 

A Borrego maybe, but a Telluride? 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/3/19 6:35 p.m.
nderwater said:

Like the Stinger and G70, this is another serious step forward For Huyndai-Kia. 

The new Genesis sedans are gorgeous. I haven't done a lot of reearch but doesn't the G70 come with a manual in one of the lower trims? The colors offered on those cars is appealing too. 

 

This SUV is excellent as well. I enjoy the looks but that price would have me turning to the Pilot or Passport from Honda if buying new. Used - this thing will kill Honda in pricing. 

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
6/3/19 9:08 p.m.

When i first saw pics of the Telluride I said they probably should have done something more akin to the VW Atlas. That was when i thought it was RWD again. Turns out it IS more like the Atlas. Atlas is doing really well and this probably will too as long as the pricing is right. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
6/3/19 9:49 p.m.
Jordan Rimpela said:
Mndsm said:
dxman92 said:

I doubt you will see someone ripping around a muddy field like in the commercial. Maybe a muddy soccer field parking lot or driveway. Hey one can dream wink

never underestimate the power of a we finance anyone attitude and a healthy meth habit. 

A Borrego maybe, but a Telluride? 

Kia will finance about anyone..... and large vehicles tend to be popular with that type of crowd. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
6/3/19 9:51 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
nderwater said:

Like the Stinger and G70, this is another serious step forward For Huyndai-Kia. 

The new Genesis sedans are gorgeous. I haven't done a lot of reearch but doesn't the G70 come with a manual in one of the lower trims? The colors offered on those cars is appealing too. 

 

This SUV is excellent as well. I enjoy the looks but that price would have me turning to the Pilot or Passport from Honda if buying new. Used - this thing will kill Honda in pricing. 

you can get a base g70 4 banger with a manual. Color me interested. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
6/3/19 9:54 p.m.

Just saw one today during my commute and took a while to figure out what it was. I thought it was some kind of strange Range Rover or something, honestly. Pretty cool-looking in person. Definitely a distinct style compared to all the other SUVs these days that look exactly the same as each other. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
6/3/19 9:55 p.m.
dxman92 said:

I doubt you will see someone ripping around a muddy field like in the commercial. Maybe a muddy soccer field parking lot or driveway. Hey one can dream wink

so, basically like 99% of Range Rovers :)

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/4/19 7:12 a.m.

Here's a link to the article I mentioned where they tested it on a real off-road trail in NC:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/car-technology/a27372481/kia-teluride-2020/

 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
6/4/19 11:19 a.m.

Telluride V6 AWD was runner-up to the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon in the 2019 MudFest 'Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year' competition:  http://www.nwapa.org/mudfest-2019-winners-announced/

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/4/19 1:52 p.m.
nderwater said:

Telluride V6 AWD was runner-up to the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon in the 2019 MudFest 'Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year' competition:  http://www.nwapa.org/mudfest-2019-winners-announced/

Holy E36 M3, it beat out the 4-Runner TRD Pro in category!

Mid-and Full-Size Family – 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
(Runner up – 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO)

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/4/19 1:57 p.m.
ultraclyde said:
nderwater said:

Telluride V6 AWD was runner-up to the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon in the 2019 MudFest 'Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year' competition:  http://www.nwapa.org/mudfest-2019-winners-announced/

Holy E36 M3, it beat out the 4-Runner TRD Pro in category!

Mid-and Full-Size Family – 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
(Runner up – 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO)

That's actually pretty awesome. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
6/4/19 2:44 p.m.
Mndsm said:
DirtyBird222 said:
nderwater said:

Like the Stinger and G70, this is another serious step forward For Huyndai-Kia. 

The new Genesis sedans are gorgeous. I haven't done a lot of reearch but doesn't the G70 come with a manual in one of the lower trims? The colors offered on those cars is appealing too. 

 

This SUV is excellent as well. I enjoy the looks but that price would have me turning to the Pilot or Passport from Honda if buying new. Used - this thing will kill Honda in pricing. 

you can get a base g70 4 banger with a manual. Color me interested. 

And a limited slip.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
6/4/19 8:06 p.m.
Jordan Rimpela said:
ultraclyde said:
nderwater said:

Telluride V6 AWD was runner-up to the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon in the 2019 MudFest 'Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year' competition:  http://www.nwapa.org/mudfest-2019-winners-announced/

Holy E36 M3, it beat out the 4-Runner TRD Pro in category!

Mid-and Full-Size Family – 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
(Runner up – 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO)

That's actually pretty awesome. 

or pretty sad, when you think about it. The vehicle that throughout its life pretty much dominated all others in that size category in terms of off-road ability....loses an off-road battle with a Kia.

dj06482
dj06482 UltraDork
6/4/19 9:01 p.m.

Call me shallow, but after seeing the commercials I really want one.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/5/19 5:29 a.m.
irish44j said:
Jordan Rimpela said:
ultraclyde said:
nderwater said:

Telluride V6 AWD was runner-up to the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon in the 2019 MudFest 'Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year' competition:  http://www.nwapa.org/mudfest-2019-winners-announced/

Holy E36 M3, it beat out the 4-Runner TRD Pro in category!

Mid-and Full-Size Family – 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
(Runner up – 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO)

That's actually pretty awesome. 

or pretty sad, when you think about it. The vehicle that throughout its life pretty much dominated all others in that size category in terms of off-road ability....loses an off-road battle with a Kia.

I wouldnt go that far. The late model 4-runner is still damn strong off road in stock form, especially the TRD. Unless you're talking rock crawling it's as good as a Jeep. But it is old and outdated in design and amenities, and I suspect that the Kia won on that strength. At least that means the Kia is capable enough even if it's not actually better than the 4runner though.

stanger_missle
stanger_missle SuperDork
6/5/19 8:33 a.m.

I finally saw one of these on the road yesterday. It was a dark green color and it looked fantastic. I guess Kia calls is Dark Moss. It was pretty striking, especially from the rear.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/5/19 9:37 a.m.

In reply to stanger_missle :

I have seen a few, the first one about 3 weeks ago. I initially thought it was a Land Rover or Lincoln SUV. Pleasantly surprised to see the Kia badge. 

Speaking of badges... when did the RAM get 18" tall lettering on the tailgate in chrome? Compensate much?

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
6/5/19 11:12 p.m.

It was pretty striking, especially from the rear.

This thing looks really good from the back, since it basically looks like a current XC90 with the upper part of the taillights clipped off and a lot of little details to make it look 'tough'. Good place to start. angel

stanger_missle
stanger_missle SuperDork
6/5/19 11:29 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

It definitely stood out, especially from behind. It looks very classy, like a RR or premium SUV, as you stated. I hope it sells well so it funds the N-line of sporty cars laugh

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