Buyer's Guide

2021 Kia Telluride
Select a Different Model (8 Available): EX AWD
Fuel Economy $ 19 / 24 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 21/87 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 8/7
Horsepower 291@6,000
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Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer
2021 Kia Telluride MODEL OVERVIEW

You'll Like

  • Lots of standard features
  • Great ride and handling
  • Excellent build quality

You Won't Like

  • Engine could use more low-end torque
  • The big touchscreen is only offered on upper trims
  • Torque steer on FWD models

The Kia Telluride made a huge splash when it made its debut for the 2020 model year. Barely changing from concept to production, the Telluride rolls down the road with an imposing yet attractive design. As with every Kia, the Telluride is brimming in value, packing a generous list of standard equipment, and even offering features you usually find on more expensive SUVs. And it can back up its looks too, as evident in it winning MotorTrend's 2020 SUV of the Year award.

What's New

  • Nightfall Edition appearance package is now available on the EX and SX trims. Changes include a blacked-out grille, gloss black roof rails and window surrounds, LED headlights with black accents, gloss black badges, and unique Kia logos.

What We Think

There's a good reason that the Kia Telluride is MotorTrend's 2020 SUV of the Year: It does nearly everything well. Great road manners make the Telluride pleasant to drive. A comfortable ride, quiet cabin, and stable handling enable this behemoth to drive smaller than its size suggests. The Telluride's interior impresses with its excellent build quality and snazzy Nappa leather on the SX grade. Everything you touch feels expensive, and there are plenty of clever touches such as USB charging ports in all three rows and buttons to fold the second- and third rows down quickly.

With an SUV of the Year win under its belt, it's no surprise the Telluride also took the top spot in our nine-way comparison of three-row SUVs. Its handsome design, elegant cabin, and superb value made it a class above the competition.

One of our only quibbles—besides how the adaptive cruise control could be smoother in traffic—is the V-6 engine. Although the mill provides good power, you must rev it out to get going with any urgency. FWD models suffer from torque steer; the front wheels struggle to put the power down without getting overwhelmed, and it's especially noticeable when accelerating from a standstill.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The 2021 Telluride is powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 with 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. EPA fuel economy ratings are 20/26 mpg city/highway for the FWD-equipped models and 19/24 mpg with AWD.


NHTSA: 5 Stars (out of a possible five stars)
IIHS: 2020 Top Safety Pick

Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, front and rear emergency braking, lane centering, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. EX models add Highway Driving Assist, which adds enhanced steering assistance and lane centering when adaptive cruise control is active. Automatic high beams are standard on the SX trim and optional on the EX grade. On the SX trim, the blind-spot monitoring system's functionality gets expanded by showing what's on your blind spot on the 7.0-inch instrument cluster display.

Cargo Space and Towing

With all seats up, the Kia Telluride had 21.0 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the third row expands capacity to 46.0 cubic feet. Dropping the second- and third rows yields 87.0 cubic feet. Compared to one of our other favorite three-row family SUVs, the Subaru Ascent, those figures are solid. The Subaru can hold 17.6, 47.0, and 86.0 cubic feet of stuff behind the third, second, and first rows, respectively.

When equipped with the optional Towing package, the Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds of payload.


Kia's infotainment system comes in two versions in the Telluride. Lower trims get an 8.0-inch touchscreen while more expensive ones have a 10.3-inch unit. Pricier iterations of the Telluride also get a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system and a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display. Depending on the trim, there are between five to six USB ports spread across the three rows.

Recommended Trim

As an alternative to a low-trim luxury SUV, the Telluride SX is appealing. Features like Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front and second rows, a massive touchscreen, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system are all offered for under $50,000.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: V6 3.8 Liter Lambda II
Transmission Name
Transmission, 8 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
Full-Size Utility
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
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Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
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NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
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Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$0 1.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 66 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 07-06-2021
$0 2.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 07-06-2021
$0 3.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 75, 84 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 07-06-2021
$400 Kia announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible military personnel. 06-30-2021