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2021 Kia Telluride SX Review by Mark Fulmer


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A 3-Row MiddleWeight Champ

By Mark Fulmer
The Auto Channel


Any idea what a "telluride" is ? It is not a smartphone app where you talk about your car, nor is it a micro organism.


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If you guessed it's this old Colorado mining town turned ski resort, you are correct. And perhaps it has that name for a same reason that GMC has a Sierra, Chevy a Tahoe, Hyundai a Santa Fe.

Anyway, this stylish 8 passenger SUV proved itself to be in the very short list of Good Things From 2020. Its unibody construction keeps it handling like a car, and its reasonable price tag, fuel economy numbers, and safety tech have attracted many families.


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The 20-inch wheels make a bold statement.


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As do the parallelogram running lights. Overall the exterior design is both clean and unique which has always been a winning combination for American drivers. Kia also offers up a new Nightfall Edition Package to make it an even bolder SUV.


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The 3.8L naturally aspirated V6 puts out 291-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque sending its power to an 8-Speed Automatic transmission. Drive modes include: Smart, Eco, Sport and Comfort. All-wheel drive versions add Snow and Lock to the driving modes. Fuel numbers are 20/26/23 mpg city/highway/combined by the EPA.

Safety features are plentiful and varied and include active safety and driver-assistance, lane-departure warning/lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic warnings.


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The interior easily fits three rows of seats, and everything is quite accessible - from the touchscreen infotainment interface to the various charging ports and conveniences. My passengers were quite pleased with the comfort and styling of the interior. They also applauded the dual sunroofs during our night trips out in the country to watch meteor showers. The younger kids also enjoyed them while driving in rainstorms.


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Getting into the Telluride's 3rd row is facilitated by 2nd row captain's chairs. The front seats are have 10- or 12-way power-adjustability. Heating/cooling are available for both the first and second rows. The ten-speaker Harman Kardon audio system got a lot of use by my gang and the rear-seat communication system which can amplify the driver's voice through the speakers came in handy as you can imagine. The rear speakers can also be disabled in what the Kia calls 'Quiet Mode'.


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The Telluride is a must-testdrive for the medium sized family in the market for a stylish troop carrier.