The new 2020 Kia Telluride cuts a stately profile.


* Model: 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD

* Exterior color: Gravity Grey

* Interior color: Black

* Engine: 3.8-liter, V-6

* Horsepower: 291

* Transmission: eight-speed automatic

* Fuel economy: 24 mpg highway, 19 mpg city

* Local Dealer: Kia of Chattanooga, 2136 Chapman Road

* Price (as tested): $46,860

A friend, just back from a recent road trip, remarked that he saw several new 2020 Kia Telluride SUVs on the highway.

I found his observation interesting. The 2020 Kia Telluride is a brand new three-row SUV, so there can't be many out there. It follows, then, that the new mid-sized SUV from the Korean car-maker must be so distinctive that it stands out in a crowd.

Meanwhile, the workhorses of the segment — Toyota Highlanders and Honda Pilots and Ford Explorers — just sort of blend into the scenery. Same for the Kia's somewhat smaller mid-size SUV the Sorento.

After a week driving a new Gravity Grey Telluride, provided by the manufacturer, it became clear that the SUV is something of a head turner, probably because it looks vaguely like a Land Rover — a more expensive SUV line that has become a suburban status symbol.

Tellurides are beginning to show up locally. Kia of Chattanooga, on Chapman Road, had two of the SUVs in digital inventory late last week.


some text
Captains chairs add to an airy interior in the 2020 Kia Telluride.


A three-row, eight-passenger SUV that becomes Kia's flagship crossover. It competes with the Chattanooga-made Volkswagen Atlas among other models. Tellurides equipped with second-row captains chairs, like our tester, seat seven.



Our top-of-the-line SX AWD tester rings up at $46,860, which sounds like a lot but is actually a couple of thousand dollars less than similarly equipped competitors. But that's always been Kia's philosophy, offer more for less. A base Telluride LX starts at $32,735; move up to the S trim for $35,035 or the EX for $38,135.



Our log book was brimming with "likes." Some of our favorite features on the Telluride were the 10.3-inch touchscreen, the quilted Nappa leather seat coverings, the stout 291-horsepower V-6 engine, the heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats and 20-inch black finished alloy wheels.


View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy

Looking for a used or new car?


Those gorgeous seats began to feel a little over firm in a long stretch of rush-hour traffic, and the silhouette does feel a touch derivative of that particular luxury brand. A combined city/highway fuel economy of 21 mpg is nothing to write home about. Annual fuel cost is estimated at $1,950.



The Telluride has a smooth, quiet ride that remained remarkably composed on our mountain commute. The 20-inch wheels and lower-profile tires do add a little harshness.



The Telluride, and its corporate cousin the Hyundai Palisade, are worthy additions to the three-row SUV segment. Time will tell if the emphasis on value and styling will pay off for Kia.

ONLINE: In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit

Contact Mark Kennedy at or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at

some text
The 2020 Kia Telluride's waterfall taillights are a distinctive styling cue.