As a kid, I had a Lamborghini Countach poster stuck to my wall. As a parent, if I were to stick a poster on my wall, it would be the 2021 Kia Telluride. I remember seeing the ad for the Telluride during the Super Bowl a few years ago. The design is a showstopper in that it doesn’t look like every other SUV on the market and it’s a bold look compared to Kia’s of the past. Add to that Kia’s reputation for loads of features at reasonable prices and it’s no surprise the Telluride has captured the minds of so many, including mine.
I’m a big fan of the Telluride’s exterior look, brawny and elegant at the same time. Solid styling is not surprising considering Kia hired two former VW designers in the past few years that were responsible for, amongst other vehicles, the Audi TT and Lamborghini Murcielago. From the front, the Telluride incorporates a wide version of the signature “tiger nose” grille beautifully. And those double stacked projector headlights are unique, especially with the optional LED treatment. Available 20” wheels fill out the corners nicely and the teardrop-shaped taillights are as visually pleasing as what’s up front. For 2021, you can opt for the Nightfall Edition that blacks out virtually everything giving the Telluride an almost sinister appearance.
Kia is widely known for providing tremendous value in their vehicles and the Telluride is no different. You can step into the base LX trim for $31,990 or go for the fully outfitted SX model – tested in the review video above – for $42,190 to start. All models come with a 291 horse 3.8 liter V6 putting the power to the front or all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic. As noted in George’s video, the Telluride has a comfortable, quiet ride with excellent steering, brake and throttle feel.
I mentioned that as a parent, the Telluride is high on my list of wants. It’s because Kia has done a lot of work to make this vehicle family-friendly. It can seat up to eight, there are USB ports thoughtfully placed throughout and the second-row slides and folds with one-touch buttons. To keep rear seat occupants happy, there is available heated and cooled second-row seats. But the piece-de-resistance for attracting parents is the Driver Talk button on the dashboard. It allows the driver to amplify their voice through the speakers in the second and third row. GAME. CHANGER.
Other notable features include the available dual sunroofs and heads up display (HUD). The HUD reflects key driving information from an LED screen onto the windshield so the driver can keep an eye on things peripherally. The 8”, or optional 10.3”, infotainment touchscreen display is cleanly integrated across the center of the dash and can be optioned with Apple Car Play, Android Auto and voice-activated navigation with real-time traffic conditions. A Wi-Fi hotspot and rear seat entertainment would be nice touches but are not available on the Telluride.
There is a long list of safety systems on the 2021 Kia Telluride so I’ll highlight some interesting ones. Surround View Monitor utilizes several cameras to give you a “birds-eye” view of the vehicle exterior, which is handy for low-speed maneuvering. Along with an adaptive cruise control system, Highway Driving Assist can adjust your speed to match posted speed limits. Lastly, the Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist – Rear feature will alert you and can apply the brakes when you’re turning and there is an object in your blind spot.
The 2021 Kia Telluride is a good-looking vehicle with tons of features and pricing that packs in the value. While you can go for the Nappa leather-lined interior and Harmon Kardon audio system on the high end, you can also get yourself behind the wheel for about $32,000 on the simpler end. An award-winning vehicle for obvious reasons, Drivers Only scores the 2021 Telluride SX at 103. To see where Telluride ranks within the segment, check out Best Midsize SUVs for 2020 & 2021.
Front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive, 7- or 8-passenger, 4-door SUV
24-valve DOHC 3.8 liter, V-6; 291 hp, 262 lb-ft
Wheelbase: 114.2 in
L/W/H: 196.9/78.3/69.3 in
Curb Weight: 4112-4482 lb
0-60 mph: 7.0 sec
¼ mile: 15.3 sec @ 93 mph
Top speed: 132 mph
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