When I first saw the 2020 Kia Telluride at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show press days, I was super impressed. It looked great on the show floor, the interior was roomy, materials were high-quality and details well attended to. I couldn’t wait to show my wife, Cat, who has been looking to move from a Mercedes-Benz GLK into something a bit bigger.
The Tellurides were less accessible when Cat and I took our son, Wollie, to the public show, so I couldn’t fully show off this new ute I thought was so cool. “Eh, it’s a Kia,” Cat said, despite my many previous attempts to convince her that the notion of crummy, boring, cheap Kias is a thing of the past. Anyway, I’d have to wait to get a Telluride from the press fleet to convince her further and to see if I even liked it as much on the road as I did seeing it on the show floor.
The day I brought it home, my 3-year-old son called — as he often does — around lunchtime to ask what car I’d be driving. When I said “Kia Telluride,” he got excited. He’s been a huge fan of our long-term Stinger (as well as an Optima we once rented in Arizona), so the Kia brand name impressed him. My wife, who was also on the line, had no reaction.
Cat came out to see it, and still wasn’t impressed. She’s wasn’t in love with the exterior, which to her came off as something like a fake Louis Vuitton. She was particularly put off by the front fascia, including the Range Rover-like “Telluride” badging on the hood. I completely disagree, for what it’s worth, but I’d come to appreciate this car quite a bit, and was hoping to show her why.
When she sat inside, I could see her begin to appreciate the ute a bit more. I pointed out the great visibility, the useful tech and the quality of the materials. She particularly liked the captains’ chairs — she’s got some sort of fixation for this sort of second-row setup for whatever reason.
Just like my large son, the Telluride’s size is a strength, and rarely a weakness. It is calm in corners, and surprisingly easy to maneuver in parking lots. The big windows help minimize blind spots, and helpful camera views — including a 360-degree virtual birds-eye view — let you park with confidence. Even with the third row up, there’s a good amount of room for groceries (or, in my case, Autoblog‘s Urb-E scooter), and both rear rows drop flat with ease from the rear of the vehicle if you need more room.
Without actually having a reason to go anywhere, I urged Cat to come along for a ride with Wollie and me to see just how nice the Telluride experience was. Pay attention to the ride, I urged her. Take in the view from the windows. Listen to how quietly it moves down the road.