2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
When looking closely at the Kia Telluride, there are relatively few changes between the 2020 and 2021 models of the SUV. Those who have been waiting for a sleeker-looking version of the vehicle may be enticed by the 2021 model, however, which is available with a Nightfall Edition package. It essentially makes everything possible on the exterior black. Drivers who want this need to choose one of the top trims and all-wheel drive.
Elsewhere, the Black Copper and Sangria become available paint colors for select 2021 Telluride models. The EX Premium package now includes LED headlights, and all models get an "on" button for the key fob to activate the remote start. Finally, and perhaps most significantly for those who tow, is the new seven-pin trailer harness. This replaces the four-point connection seen on the 2020 model.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
Four trim levels of the 2021 Kia Telluride are available, known as the LX, S, EX, and SX. Sticking with the entry-level trim does not mean missing out on new technology, with features such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and an 8-inch touchscreen all standard. The Telluride LX also has a total of six USB ports and simulated leather upholstery.
For the S trim, second-row captain's chairs are standard, which reduces seating capacity to seven rather than eight. Otherwise, this trim only adds heated front seats, a sunroof, and power-adjustment for the driver's seat. Buyers who go with the EX trim add a navigation system, go up to a 10.2-inch touchscreen, and get wireless device charging. Other highlights include leather upholstery and an in-vehicle intercom system.
The top SX trim gets a few extra driver aids, such as a surround-view camera system and front parking sensors. A 10-speaker audio system is the other big upgrade here. The EX and SX trims are available with a towing package that includes a self-leveling rear suspension.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
Most families will find that the entry-level LX is the whole package. Those who want a little more will want to step up to the EX trim, however. With all of the features added here, the Telluride EX does a better job of justifying the extra cost than the S. The SX trim's extra parking assistance features will seem unnecessary to many.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
All models of the 2021 Telluride have smartphone integration through both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. An 8-inch touchscreen comes standard for the LX and S, while the EX and SX get a 10.2-inch option instead. HD and satellite radio are both included on trims, along with a six-speaker audio system. Upper trims get wireless device charging. An in-vehicle intercom system, a popular feature for many families, is also available.
How Does It Perform?
The 2021 Telluride does not mess around, coming standard with a 3.8L V6 engine. It generates 291-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission option. Buyers do get to choose between front-wheel and all-wheel drive.
In all of the ways that matter, the 2021 Telluride performs admirably. The steering is responsive and feels surprisingly light for the size of the vehicle. Most bumps in the road are not an issue, particularly if buyers stick with the standard 18-inch wheel size.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
J.D. Powers has awarded the 2021 Kia Telluride with 3.5 out of five stars. This score is slightly above the average and helps add to the appeal of the SUV. Being a Kia, the Telluride also comes with one of the best warranties currently out there.
As for being safe, the new 2021 Telluride has been awarded five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is worth noting, however, that the vehicle received four stars in both frontal collision and rollover testing. Still, with a comprehensive suite of advanced driver aids, drivers can feel reasonably safe in this SUV.
What's the Interior Like?
There is room for either seven or eight inside the Telluride. Even when there is room for eight, everyone has plenty of space. In fact, this is a rare three-row SUV that can seat adults in the back row comfortably. The modern look of the cabin helps the Telluride feel more expensive than it actually is.
Interior space for cargo is also impressive, with 21 cubic feet behind the third-row. With both rear rows of seats down, drivers can utilize up to 87 cubic feet. This is yet another area that the Telluride outperforms the competition.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
Three-row SUVs have taken over a large part of the market, resulting in no shortage of options for families. Very similar to the Telluride is the Hyundai Palisade, which also offers great value and an impressive warranty. If buyers are interested in a Kia but not sold on the Telluride, the Sorento is another option with three rows. Other choices to consider include the Dodge Journey, Volkswagen Atlas, and GMC Acadia.
Note: All Kia Telluride lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.