2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD Review

John and Laurie Wiles Automotive, Pinehurst, NC, Yonkers, NY Leave a Comment

Driving Me Crazy automotive review Columnists Laurie and John Wiles.

Listen to John and Laurie Wiles’ review of the 2021 on their Driving Me Crazy radio broadcast aired on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 10am EST and is heard every Thursday throughout the year at the same time. The broadcast is heard “Live” or “On Demand” by clicking onto this specific hyperlink — http://tobtr.com/s/11941114.
Please note that the hyperlink is specific to this review. It changes every week. Listeners are welcome to call the broadcast at 347-205-9201 and are asked to stay on topic.

PINEHURST, NC — May 30, 2021 — When I get that much bigger garage that I always talk about, there is going to be a section for mid-sized SUV’s I really like, and either the KIA Telluride or the Hyundai Palisade are going to be there, or maybe both.

When the KIA and Hyundai brands launched their specific mid-sized SUVs in 2019, we got to review each, and, frankly, Laurie and I loved them both. 

The 2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD already has me thinking favorable thoughts with the ‘V6 AWD’ part of the nomenclature. I have never liked 4-cylinder SUV’s, turbo charged or not, as the power package and the requirements of the SUV just never seemed to mesh. Apparently, KIA gets it as their 3.8L Gas Direct Injection (GDI) 6 cylinder, 291 HP engine with an 8-speed transmission shows. Great power and response in this SUV. 

2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD

While the gas mileage for highway is 24 and city is 19, the average is 21 mpg, and, once again, gas is usually the least cost in owning a vehicle and the most talked about. The difference in filling a 20-gallon tank twice a month for either $2.95 a gallon, or $3.95 a gallon, is $20. That is $40 a month or $480 a year. The loan payment on a $50K vehicle is about that much every month. The overall cost for the Telluride is further reduced by the fact they have 10-year/100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty; 5-year/60,000 mile Basic Warranty, and a 5 year/60,000 mile Roadside Assistance plan. I’d say that is putting your money where your mouth is on the part of KIA that you are going to stay on the road, or they are going know why.  

Starting at $32,190 for the LX model of the Telluride, KIA is putting a lot of car out there for consumers at a reasonable price, too. There are four models of the Telluride – the LX, S, EX, and SX. The S starts at $34.6K, the EX at $37.6, and the SX at $42.4K. Interestingly, the base price on our SX was $44K, but that included the All-Wheel Drive feature, which is worth it.

I did a quick comparison or the four models in general and really didn’t see a lot of major differences in the trims – a few smaller things here and there, but overall quite comparable. Of course, as you move up in price you get whatever was on the previous model and a little more. 

I included a picture of the 2021 Telluride fording a river to remind all of us that this is an SUV, equipped to go where you need to, with comfort and capability, and style to boot.

2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD


I also wanted to point out that the interior was comfortable and quiet, and functional – things were where they were supposed to be as you can see. 

The leather seats were heated and ventilated. We had Smart Key with Push Button Start and Remote Engine Start, a great feature for warming up the car on those cold winter mornings. The Navigation has a 10.25” Touchscreen, and so does the Rearview Camera. The driver and passenger front seats are both power, and a highly functional Wireless Phone Charger is in front of the gear shift and only requires you to lay the phone in the area. Nice easy feature to use. The steering wheel was heated, and there are Side Window Curtains on the Rear Doors. 

Our SX also came with a Power Tilt and Slide Sunroof, a Smart (hands free) Power Lift Gate, Acoustic Front Windshield and Front door Glass (no wonder it’s quiet), and Power Folding Mirrors with Turn Signal Indicators. One additional word about this last feature – park the car, lock it, and the mirrors fold in. Really good to keep people from bumping your mirrors and changing your views. 

2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD interior gallery.

2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD interior gallery focused on driving modality options.

The Active All Wheel Drive on Demand can be set as seen in the photograph, and you can disengage the Automatic Start/Stop if you find it annoying like I do. Park, Park assist, and surround camera set up are at your fingertips. Love it. 

Our Telluride had seating for six (seven would be a squeeze). Good for a growing family, but for empty nesters, just drop those last two rows of seats and enjoy 87 cubic feet of storage space behind the front seats. Some other additional ‘included features’ were the 20” alloy wheels, LED Headlamps and Fog Lamps, 2nd row Captain Chairs, Upgraded 12-way Power Driver’s Seat with Memory, Harman/Kardon Surround Sound Audio, Surround View and Blind Spot View Monitor, Parking Distance Warning and Homelink – which (are you ready?) allows you to program the mirror to activate your garage door(s), gate, home lighting, etc. Cool!

2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD interior cabin.


Our base price of $44K had $5K of ‘Additional Installed Equipment’ that included a Nightfall Edition Package ($1295) that added some finish and logos, a Prestige Package ($2300) that added Heads Up Display, a 110V converter, Nappa Leather Seat Trim, Premium Cloth Headliner and Sun Visors, Heated and Ventilated 2nd Row Seats (for comfortable passengers), and Rain-sensing Front Windshield Wipers (I like and appreciate these). We also got a Towing Package ($795), Carpeted Floor Mats ($210 – Hmmmmm), a $50 Cargo Net, a $155 Cargo Cover, and a $115 Carpeted Cargo Mat with Seat Back Protection. So, fully, and I mean ‘fully’ loaded our 2021 Telluride SX V6 AWD was right at $50,000.

Of course, safety is integral to KIA vehicles, and always has been. Besides a bevy of airbags, KIA provide the Drivewise Driver-Assist Technology, which give us Blind Sport Collision – Avoidance Assist – Rear, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Highway Driving Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Parking Distance Warning- Reverse, smart Crise Control with Stop and Go, Rear Occupant Alert with Ultrasonic Sensors, and Safe Exit Assist. These are all standard on any of the KIA Telluride models. 

Stylish, practical, safe, comfortable, quiet, easy to drive, easy to ride in, and more – what’s not to like? It’s all good in this writer’s review. I want one.

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Southern Pines KIA, 10910 US Hwy 15, Southern Pines, NC 28387

  • Sales 910-684-1010
  • Service 910-218-1919
  • Parts 910-242-4664

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  • SALES: 844-327-7844
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John and Laurie Wiles2021 KIA Telluride SX V6 AWD Review

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