30 Minutes With: The 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD

Front view of 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
The 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD.
Publisher's note: Normally, the cars you read about here at TireKicker are loaned to us by the press fleets of the various manufacturers for several days. Seven is typical.  Occasionally, we'll get a longer period of time, and sometimes it'll only be three or four days.  Our "30 Minutes With" series features cars we spent half an hour driving during the just-concluded Western Automotive Journalists Media Day in Monterey, California.

Needless to say, these are quick drives and brief impressions that we hope to be able to flesh out with a full review of the vehicle at some point in the near future.

Media Days is a driving program, with journalists taking cars from the staging area at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley over Laureles Grade and back or off-road on the acclaimed Land Rover Experience on the grounds of Quail Lodge.

My seventh drive of the day was in the 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD.

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD.
This is Kia's first large SUV in a decade.  The previous attempt was the short-lived Kia Borrego, which we drove in the fall of 2008 and said could have been a serious contender to the Ford Explorer, had it been introduced before the Great Recession instead of during.

Barring any drastic upheavals in the world economy, there should be no such problem this time.  The 2020 Kia Telluride arrives at a time when big SUVs with premium styling and features are a hot market.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Kia Telluride V6 AWD
2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD.
Kias have become so good that the old "THIS is a Kia?" has pretty much fallen by the wayside, but the Telluride could make that a thing again.  I'm pretty certain Kia benchmarked the Range Rover in its development of the Telluride---and, to the extent that a $40,000 to $50,000 SUV can get close to a $90,000-$178,000 machine, they succeeded.

Underhood shot of 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD

Engine in 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD

$43,490 is the base price of the 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD, and for that price, here's what comes standard:

  • 3.8-liter, 291-horsepower V6.
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission.
  • Active on-demand all-wheel drive.
  • 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • Leather seat trim with heated and ventilated front seats.
  • Blind spot collision avoidance.
  • Forward collision avoidance.
  • Highway driving assist.
  • Lane keeping assist.
  • Parking distance warning forward and rear.
  • Smart cruise control with stop & go.
  • Rear occupant alert with ultrasonic sensors.
  • Safe exit assist.
  • Smart key with pushbutton start.
  • Navigation.
  • Ten-inch touchscreen with rearview camera, surround view and blindspot monitor.
  • AM/FM/SiriusXM/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control.
  • 12-way power driver's seat.
  • Memory driver's seat and outside mirrors.
  • Power passenger seat.
  • 60/40 split folding third-row seats.
  • Wireless phone charger.
  • Side window curtains on rear doors.
  • Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote controls.
  • Front power tilt and sliding sunroof.
  • Hands-free power liftgate.
  • Acoustic front windshield and front door glass.
  • Power folding heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators.
  • 20-inch black finished alloy wheels.
  • LED low-beam headlamps and fog lamps.
  • Fixed rear sunroof.
  • Second-row captain's chairs.
  • HomeLink.
Interior view of 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD.
The test vehicle also had extra-cost options:

  • Snow White Pearl paint: $395.
  • SX Prestige Package (Head-up display, 110v inverter, Nappa Leather seat trim, premium cloth headliner and sun visors, heated and ventilated second-row seats, rain-sensing front windshield wipers): $2,000.
  • Carpeted floor mats: $210.
  • Carpeted cargo mat with seat back protection: $115.

With $1,045 inland freight and handling, the bottom line was $47,255.  That is an insanely low price for that level of equipment and for a vehicle that deliberately delivers a luxury image.  Your neighbors will guess it's somewhere north of 60 grand or maybe even 70. And that's been the path to success for Kia for the past decade.