This is a big year for Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia. Both have introduced luxury and sports cars in the past couple of years, and in 2020 both have brought convincing luxury SUVs to market: the Hyundai Palisade and its platform cousin, the Kia Telluride.
The two cars are virtually identical, apart from their looks. Hyundai and Kia wisely have chosen to make the Palisade and Telluride look like two different machines. The Telluride is the more restrained of the two – especially in Snow White Pearl paint like our tester – and does a convincing impression of a Range Rover.
Under the hood is Kia’s tried-and-true 3.8-liter V6, making 291 horsepower. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and with active on-demand all-wheel drive, our tester gets an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway. That’s plenty of power, decent fuel economy for its size class, and the Telluride rides and drives every bit like a premium luxury SUV.
There are four trim levels of Telluride, starting at an astonishingly low $31,890 for the base LX model. Next is the S at $34,290, then the EX at $37,290 and finally the top-of-the-line SX that I drove, which begins at $41,790. Add all-wheel drive, which ours had, and the price of entry is $43,490 – still an absolute bargain. For that price, the buyer gets an array of safety features, such as surround view and blind-spot view monitor, parking distance warning-forward, blind-spot collision avoidance assist (front and rear), rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, forward collision avoidance assist, highway driving assist and lane-keeping and safe-exit assist.
Our tester also had some extra-cost options. The Snow White Pearl paint is $395. The SX Prestige Package (head-up display, 110-volt inverter, Nappa leather seat trim, premium cloth head-liner and sun visors, heated and ventilated second-row seats, and rain-sensing windshield wipers) is $2,000. Carpeted floor mats added $210, and a carpeted cargo mat with seat back protection was another $115.
With $1,044 inland freight and handling, the bottom line on the window sticker reads $47,255. That price is $350 less than its cousin, the Hyundai Palisade, which is comparably equipped.
Two convincing luxury SUVs with presence, poise and premium features, both for less than $50,000. That’s enormous value – and it explains why you’re seeing so many Kia Tellurides on the road lately.