The new Kia Telluride makes no apologies for its bold, boxy styling. In fact, it embraces its stance, creating an SUV that has enough room for eight people and has enough ability to go off-road.
Four trim levels are available – LX, EX, S, and SX with each one motivated by a naturally aspirated, 3.8-liter V6 engine.
The motor makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque and will send its drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission to either the front wheels (as standard) or to all four wheels as an option. All-wheel-drive is an additional $2,000.
With enough punch in the mid-range, the V6 should be a willing performer, though a lack of turbos means it will need to be revved to get it going when loaded up with eight people.
There are four drive modes on each trim level – Comfort, Sport, Eco and Smart (which is an adaptive mode). On all-wheel-drive versions an extra two modes are included: Snow and Lock, the latter of which will keep all four wheels rotating at the same speed – ideal for mud or sand driving.
In normal conditions it is a front-wheel-drive, sending torque rearward when required. Activating Sport mode will adjust the driveline so that it gives a 65/35 front/rear torque split.
It’s worth remembering that the Telluride is still a crossover, even though it has an SUV-like stance, so it uses torque vectoring and traction control to eke out more grip, rather than a proper low-range transfer case.
If you have the AWD model, you’ll manage 21 miles per gallon, while the front-wheel-drive versions fare slightly better, offering 23 miles per gallon.
There’s plenty of tech included, too. Radar-based cruise control with stop-go function, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and steering assist, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and rear cross-traffic alert are all standard.
Higher-grade trim levels get heads-up display and a blind-spot monitor literally monitors; it actually uses the gauge cluster to display what’s next to you.
Also available is Kia’s Highway Assistant which will self drive for short distances.
Inside, the center stack gets an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, but there’s an optional 10.2-inch infotainment which gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Like the Skoda Kodiaq, the Telluride gets a microphone up front so that kids in the back can hear you. In fact, you can mute either the second row or third row separately, just in case someone decides to nod off.
A rear seat alert is also standard, ensuring you don’t accidentally leave kids in the back, and there’s also a “safe-exit alert” that prevents you from opening the door into an oncoming cyclist.
It will be going up against established contenders such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander, however the Kia is quite a bit larger, given it’s built for eight, rather than seven.
The Kia Telluride is priced well, too, starting at $31,690, running through to $48,860 for the top spec with a Prestige pack optioned.