Kia introduced a new large SUV called the Telluride a few years ago. A new SUV on the market is not that big of a deal, but the Telluride is the best in the segment. If you want to buy a three-row SUV, this is the one to get. Most manufacturers don’t get it right on the first try, but Kia nailed it with this one.

At first glance, the Telluride is just another SUV. It is not a 600-horsepower fire-breathing monster, and it will not hit 200 mph. It is just a plain family SUV made to get the kids to school and you to work. It is when you dig deeper and look at the details that the Telluride becomes special, and at that moment everything else becomes obsolete.

Imagined in America, designed at Kia’s design studio in Southern California, and assembled in Georgia, the Telluride is the largest Kia ever. It can seat up to eight people comfortably. The fantastic front seats of our top-of-the-line SX model were double-stitched and quilted, with extra-padded Nappa leather. The dash design is superb, with a clean design that does not look cluttered. There are buttons for the most common items so that you don’t have to search around the large 10-inch LCD screen.

Everything you touch feels rich and expensive and your passengers will think they are in an expensive European SUV. Touch the headliner and the suede feels so nice that you want to keep rubbing it.

The SX model is full of luxury features that will spoil you. Heated and cooled front and second row seats, ceiling vents for the rear passengers, reclining second row and third row seats, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel, 630 watt 10 speaker Harmon Kardon audio system with Surround Sound, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, six USB ports, active radar cruise control, surround view rear camera, rear sun shades, the list goes on and on.

Details are what set the Telluride apart from the competition. These are the small touches that make life easier. For example, to fold the third row flat, there is a strap. Pull it with one hand and the seat folds down. Just that simple. If you want to get into the third row, there is a button on the second row seat. Push it and the seat folds down and moves forward to give you access. Simple and easy. There are USB ports on the side of the front seats and there is a small holder on the back of the front seat to hold your mobile phone. These small touches are everywhere.

Under the hood of all Telllurides is a 3.8-liter direct-injected V6. This is the latest version of the Lambda engine that has been used in Hyundais and Kias for many years. No fancy turbos or hybrids here mean that the Telluride will be reliable for years to come and maintenance costs are going to be low. The engine provides 291 horsepower and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. With 4,300 pounds to move around, the Telluride is not a sports car, but it gets around pretty well. Using the rotary knob in the center console, you can switch between many preset functions. We usually kept it in the Comfort mode but Sport mode makes downshifts happen quicker and gives you more immediate response.

The Telluride is also capable, with lots of room. Even with all the seats up, there is 21 cubic feet of space. Compare the Telluride with a Chevrolet Tahoe which is 6 inches longer. Despite the extra length, the Tahoe only has 15.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row. The Telluride can also tow, although not a lot. It is rated to tow 5,000 pounds, which is what most people need. It does the job well and the chassis feels like it can haul a lot more than that. We are happy to report that Kia is finally offering a receiver hitch as an option complete with a trailer brake harness and it will only cost you $795.

Price is always a concern to everyone, and you will be happy to see the Telluride prices. The base version starts out at only $32,190, which is a steal, and the base model is not a stripped-out model either. The base model has everything you need as standard equipment. Even if you were to get the top of the line SX, you are still only paying $42,490, which is a bargain in this market segment. Hurry before prices go up.


Engine: 3.8-liter GDI V6
Horsepower: 291 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 262 @ 5,200 rpm
Front Suspension: McPherson strut
Rear Suspension: Independent, multilink
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Axle Ratio: 3.64:1
Curb Weight: 4,482 lbs.
Base MSRP: $42,490
Image courtesy of Kia Motors


  1. THANK YOU Ali!!! Well done! As a single person I have absolutely NO need for a huge SUV but after reading your article… I want one!! lol

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