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DRIVING WITH DAN

2020 Kia Telluride

By DAN WIESE

Even if the destination is lamentable, this big guy ensures the trip will be delightful
While spending a week in southwest
Colorado last month, we were treated to a
couple of theories on just how the town of
Telluride got its name.
So christened in 1878 during its mining
heyday, the name “Telluride,” one theory
holds, derives from the chemical element
“Tellurium” -- which would be ironic since
that element has never actually been found
in the area.
The more intriguing theory postulates
the name arose from Telluride’s thenperilous Rocky Mountain remoteness. This
explanation describes a warning routinely
relayed to fortune-seeking 19th-century
miners planning a trip to the town’s 8,750foot elevation: “Be ready! You’re facing a
dangerous and arduous journey!”
Or, more colorfully, they were warned:
“To hell you ride.”
If the latter theory is true, Kia’s latest
crossover is determined that, at least,
you’ll enjoy the trip.
All new for 2020, the Kia Telluride is
a big, happy-faced, three-row crossover
SUV that gets all the important stuff
right. Available in LX, S, EX and SX
trims, each offered with front- or all-wheel
drive, Telluride provides a cabin that’s
roomy, quiet, convenient, handy, techy and
handsome -- everything you could want
from a three-row family crossover.
For starters, room -- pretty much the
whole reason for buying a big crossover
-- is fabulous throughout the cabin. Even
the three-place third row is capable of
accommodating two adults or three kids.
Though eight-passenger seating can be
had with the available three-seat middlerow bench, our top-of-the-line SX’s
standard mid-row captain’s chairs created
comfy cabin seating for seven in a 2/2/3
arrangement.
Access to the third row, by the way, is
easy. Rear doors open wide, while a button
on the fore/aft adjustable middle seats

enables them to tilt and scoot forward for
spacious passage to the third-row bench.
Inside, our SX’s decor was classy -black leather, dark-wood trim on dash and
doors and a piano-black surround on the
center console, all handsome and stylish.
Regarding infotainment, our Telluride
SX provided a big, 10.25-inch touch screen
with all the modern perks -- and does it in
a way that makes the technology easy to
use. Meanwhile, the reconfigurable screen
in the gauge pod and the vehicle’s cruise

is powered by a 3.8-liter, direct-injection
V-6 that generates 291 hp and 262 lb.-ft.
of torque through a standard eight-speed
automatic. While no hot-rod -- the big
guy tips the scales at more than two tons
-- Telluride does provide class-competitive
performance. In our all-wheel drive SX, we
greeted 60 mph in a blink over 7 seconds
while realizing 21 mpg in just over 100
miles, more in-town than on the highway.
Telluride also provides driver-selectable
chassis modes of Comfort, Eco, Snow,

Brand Ave. Studios Contributing Writer
drivingwithdan@gmail.com

2020 KIA TELLURIDE
VEHICLE TYPE: Front- or all-wheel
drive, seven- or eight-passenger
crossover SUV

BASE PRICE: FWD: $32,785; AWD:
$34,690

PRICE AS DRIVEN: $46,910; an SX
AWD, based at $44,585, with $2,000 SX
Prestige Pkg. (Head Up Display, Nappa
Leather, heated/ventilated 2nd-row seats,
more), $210 floor mats, $115 cargo mat

ENGINE: 3.8-liter V-6
HORSEPOWER: 291 at 6000 rpm
TORQUE: 262 at 5200 rpm
RECOMMENDED FUEL: Regular
TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed

automatic

EPA MPG: FWD: 20 city/26 hwy/23
combined; AWD: 19/24/21
WHEELBASE: 114.2 inches
LENGTH: 196.9 inches
BASE CURB WEIGHT: FWD: 4,112
lbs.; AWD: 4,255 lbs.
CARGO ROOM (behind
3rd/2nd/1st rows): 21 cu. ft./46 cu.
ft./87 cu. ft.

TOWING MAX.: 5,000 lbs.
WHERE BUILT: West Point, Ga.
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY KIA

Although it’s a thoroughly modern, unibody,
front- or all-wheel-drive crossover, the 2020 Kia
Telluride is styled in a boxy fashion to recall the
look of classic American truck-based SUVs.

control functions are handled via handy
thumb-toggles on the steering wheel -- easy
to use and easy to find without taking your
eyes from the road. That said, old-school
favorites like hard buttons and knobs are
abundant, even though the touch-screen is
intuitive. Thanks, Telly!
Regardless of trim, every Telluride

Sport and Smart, that last one letting the
car do all the thinking. Ride quality is aces,
cabin serenity peaceful.
Finally, all the bubble-wrap tech is
available via the “Kia Drive Wise” suite
of safety nannies, which includes, among
other hand-wringers, Forward CollisionAvoid a nce A ssist w it h Pe de st r ia n
Detection; Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance
Assist; Lane Following Assist; Rear CrossTraffic Collision Avoidance Assist; High

Beam Assist; Driver Attention Warning;
Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go
capability; and Safe Exit Assist.
Kia loves to point out that Telluride
was “imagined in America,” designed in
America (in California) and is manufactured
in America (in West Point, Ga.). That is to
say, it’s unabashedly aimed at American
crossover buyers -- and it’s designed and
engineered to ensure an enjoyable trip to
those Americans, no matter where the heck
they’re going.
This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios.
The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display.
For more information about Brand Ave. Studios,
contact tgriffin@stltoday.com.

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