“Boxy” isn’t usually a word automakers like to describe their vehicles, but Kia is pulling no punches when it comes to the 2020 Telluride. The brand new midsize SUV is resolutely burly, because that’s what translates best into flexible interior space.
As a result it’s the largest Kia ever, and capable of seating eight in total. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was created with the US market specifically in mind, with the automaker’s Kia Design Center in California taking responsibility.
They’ve designed an SUV that looks even bigger than the midsize category it sits in. The hood is long and wide, emphasized by an equally wide grille, while the stacked headlamps stand-out with their daytime running lights. At the rear, EX and SX trims get inverted “L” taillamps with LED stripes, while S, EX, and SX trims get a rear skid plate with integrated twin exhaust tips.
Under that sizable hood is a 3.8-liter V6 GDI engine. Kia says it’ll deliver 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, along with 262 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm. It’s paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive as standard; optional will be active on-demand all-wheel drive.
The latter relies on electro-hydraulic AWD coupling to dynamically shift power front and rear, depending on drive mode and conditions. In Eco and Smart, for instance, all of the power goes to the front wheels. In Comfort and Snow, meanwhile, there’s an 80-20 front-rear split. Sport mode adjusts that to 65-35, while finally Lock mode delivers a 50-50 split.
Those modes also adjust the steering weighting and other drivetrain settings. Four-wheel independent suspension is standard, while self-leveling rear suspension that adjusts ride-height automatically can be had as an option on the EX and SX trims. There’s Downhill Brake Control for easier descents, and the 2020 Telluride is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Inside, there are three rows, with three seats each in the second and third rows. Heated and ventilated seats for the first and second rows are available, while the third row reclines. There’s a second-row climate control panel in the ceiling.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, while a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system is available, as is a 630 watt, 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system. Five USB charging ports are standard; six are an option, as is multi-Bluetooth wireless allowing two phones to be connected simultaneously. Driver Talk, effectively broadcasting the driver’s voice to the rest of the car through the speakers, is also availbale, as is an ultrasonic-based rear occupant alert that spots if you’ve left someone behind.
Kia’s UVO infotainment system has an embedded modem, allowing for remote start and door lock. EX and SX trims add cabin HVAC preconditioning. Kia Drive Wise includes forward collision warnings and assistance, with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings and assistance, blind spot collision assistance, and smart cruise control. A blind spot view monitor is available, as is surround view and a head-up display.
Kia will manufacture the 2020 Telluride at its facility in West Point, Georgia, with the midsize SUV set to arrive in dealerships sometime in 2019. It’ll be offered in four trims – LX, EX, S, and SX – with pricing to be confirmed closer to launch.