DRIVING ME CRAZY: 2020 Kia Telluride EX V6 AWD

John and Laurie Wiles Automotive, History, National, Pinehurst, NC, Radio, Westchester County, NY, Yonkers, NY Leave a Comment

Driving Me Crazy automotive review Columnists Laurie and John Wiles.

PINEHURST, NC and YONKERS, NY — September 18, 2019 — We have been fortunate lately to get several of the new bigger crossover SUV’s. This week I thought we would give you our slant on another new 2020 model. KIA went belly up in 2007; Hyundai bought a stake in it; and KIA keeps rolling as a subsidiary of Hyundai-Kia motor group. They manufacture their own cars but ‘me thinks’ there is some Hyundai engineering input here somewhere.

Our Telluride was the Dark Moss color, but you have seven exterior colors from which to choose.

2020 Kia Telluride

At first glance, I thought ‘Ford Explorer look’, but I did a quick check and there are enough differences that they are not the same. However, the Telluride has this bulky, outdoor, ‘let’s go somewhere’, look to it that I like, and I was eager to climb in and ‘go somewhere’.

While the Telluride is called mid-sized SUV, it seems pretty big to me. I love vehicles I can get in and out of without hitting my head. I like big comfortable seats, and a really adjustable driver’s seat so I can feel at ease on those long drives. The Telluride had all that and even a power passenger seat as well. Yes, both the driver and passenger seats are heated and air-conditioned, and the leather wrapped steering wheel is heated for those cold wintry days ahead. (I hope. We’re sweltering here.)

2020 Kia Telluride interior

I don’t want to get too far without talking about the seats themselves. Our gray interior had seats that were extremely comfortable, and ours had Premium Nappa Leather Seat Trim, called SOFINO leatherette trim. It was a nice color combination too, with the Moss Green and Gray. The stitching and style were very well done, and the seats were well integrated into the ‘cockpit’ of the vehicle so you felt in control with good vision all the way around.

The Telluride features a 3.8L Gas Direct Injection (GDI) 6-cylinder engine, which once again, I think is slightly underpowered when you have a full load of grown people on board, plus, plus. Yes, it works, but I have a V6 in my Ford Edge and it does great. However, the Edge is not as big as the Telluride and not intended to carry 6 or even 8 people, which the Telluride is. Four grown people in a four-seater with a six cylinder is 1000 pounds for the car to deal with. That seems about right to me. Eight people is 2000 pounds, and more weight needs more power to get going in stop and go traffic, which, face it, is a lot of our required driving these days. Since we don’t carry six or eight people, the Telluride had plenty of ‘get up and go’, was very comfortable, very quiet, and a real pleasure to drive. Remember, I live in Pinehurst, so putting a vehicle to any type of grueling test is out of the question. This is the kind of vehicle I really like – all the above with lots of room in the back, especially with the third row of seats down. The engine is mated to a very smooth eight speed transmission, and the On Demand All Wheel Drive is a great feature.

2020 Kia Telluride center console.

The literature on the Telluride refers to the driver’s seat area as the cockpit, and I can see why. All your instrumentation in is the dash in front of your steering wheel, the 10.25” touchscreen display is big enough and close enough that you can glance at it without being distracted. If you look at the picture, you will notice it is at the height of the steering wheel, so a glance to the right tell the driver all he wants to know. The GPS was easy to program, and I love the new girl who gives me the directions – without correcting me, like my old “recalculating” model. If you miss a turn, she just updates the directions and carries on. Believe it or not, that takes some of the stress out of driving for me, and focused driving is good driving, at least in my opinion.

The Telluride comes with Tri-Zone Auto Climate Control, allowing AC or heat to be distributed to all three zone areas with both the front seats and second row seating having some control over their own temperatures. The driver can also sync the temperature for everyone as well.

2020 Kia Telluride third row seating.

Safety is always paramount with me, but before I launch into that, I wanted to talk about a lot of little things that are included as ‘standard’ on the Telluride EX. These little things don’t ever standout when we are reviewing cars, but they are improvements that either help you drive or make your driving experience more enjoyable. Here’s one – an Acoustic Front Windshield. Most people skip over those words, but they really do help.

Here’s what an Acoustic Front Windshield is and does – An acoustic windshield reduces noise in the cabin from the engine compartment along with the sounds of wind, road surfaces, and traffic. The idea of acoustic windshields is simply to give the passengers a more enjoyable ride while keeping outside noises out, and interior cabin volumes to a minimum. Here’s another small and overlooked feature – Heated Outside Mirrors with Turn Signal Indicators. 

Importance? – no steamed up or sweaty side mirrors so your ability to see what is on either side of you is always there, and having the turn signals in the mirrors creates that visual in your peripheral view that lets you know your signals are on in the turn and off after the turn. Every make a sweeping turn to the right or left, or change lanes, and notice a mile later your turn signals were still on? This helps eliminate that annoyance. The last small and often overlooked accent is the Rear Privacy Glass. People standing outside can’t see what you have in the back of the vehicle. “Out of sight, out of mind” comes to me, and the less people know about what valuables you may be carrying, the better. Sorry, it’s the way of life these days – and another reason I love living in pretty much crime free Pinehurst.

If little things make a difference, how about some of the big things that are critical to today’s vehicles? While our Telluride is loaded with airbags and side and full-length curtain airbags, it is also loaded with things to help keep you out of an accident, most of which you are probably familiar with:

▪ Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist – Rear (BCA-R) ▪ Rear Cross- Traffic Collision- Avoidance Assist (RCCA) ▪ Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA)

▪ Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)

▪ Parking Distance Warning – Reverse (PDW-R)

▪ Smart Cruise Control w/Stop and Go (SCC w/S&G)

▪ Rear Occupant Alert w/Ultrasonic Sensors (ROA), also referred to as “Don’t leave your kid or dog in the car” system … okay, just by me.

▪ Safe Exit Assist (SEA) – This is a newer feature and prevents a child from opening the door if oncoming traffic is detected. Since the vehicle is monitoring up and down the road, it can see better than even our peripheral vision from inside the car and, once again, prevent an accident before it happens. Personally, I’m liking it.

▪ Smart Key with Push Button Start – This is one of those overlooked features as well. No key, no start. Sounds simple, but normal car thieves are a lot more perplexed than they used to be. Of course, the sophisticated ones will always be figuring out how to outsmart technology, but let’s give them something to think about.

Go to https://www.kia.com/us/en/telluride for more pictures, videos, highlights and explanations.

Speaking of technology, the Telluride comes with one USB Input Jack and five USB charging ports so the whole family can get their phones charged up when driving, and one lucky passenger get to plug in their laptop. That’s a lot of technology support.

Of course, you can hook up your smart phone to the Telluride for hands free communications. I almost always use this feature and judge how easy it is to ‘pair’ my phone to the vehicle. The Telluride was ‘way easy’, my kind of connectivity.

Okay, what do you pay for this kind of comfort, style, safety, and technology? This wonderful Telluride EX starts at $37K, or our model $39,410. Personally, I think that is a lot of vehicle for under $40K.

Whoever at Kia thought of calling this vehicle the Telluride should get a bonus as well. The word Telluride makes almost anyone in the US think of Colorado, skiing, crisp mountain air, and good times. The Telluride is aptly named, again in my opinion, but apparently, I am not the only person who has been singing its praises. The 2020 Telluride was awarded Cars.com “Best in Show” at the Detroit Auto Show, and, after 44 journalists spent two days evaluating 29 vehicles, the Telluride was named “CUV of Texas” (Crossover Utility Vehicle) and won the “Mid-Size CUV” category at the Texas Auto Writer’s Association Roundup.

In the market for a new, good sized, comfortable, affordable ride? You might want to give the Kia Telluride a look. — JOHN

Listen to John and Laurie Wiles’ review of the 2020 Telluride on the Westchester On the Level Internet Radio broadcast this Thursday, September 19, from 10-10:30 am, as well as weekly programs on different vehicles at this time slot every Thursday morning at this time. If you have a question or share a thought about the Kia Telluride, please call 347-205-9201.


John and Laurie WilesDRIVING ME CRAZY: 2020 Kia Telluride EX V6 AWD

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