Trucks and SUVs

Best 3-Row SUV: Kia Telluride

Determining a winner in the competitive three-row crossover segment isn’t easy, especially with all the impressive new entries, but our experts agreed that the Kia Telluride embodied the best qualities that buyers would prioritize in this class, and have voted this new vehicle as the Best 3-Row SUV for 2020.

It would be an understatement to say that the Telluride surprised our jury of more than 20 automotive experts. Kia hasn’t had a car this impressive since the Stinger GT. The boxy exterior design of the Telluride combines with the high-end interior to help the Telluride feel like a far more special vehicle, something that helps it stand out against its rivals.

Those rivals include the new Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade, Subaru Ascent and Honda Pilot, which our jury voted to shortlist for the final round of voting after considering every single 3-row SUV currently on the new car market. That’s an extremely competitive set. When’s experts were evaluating these finalists, they found the Telluride surpassed the rest with its generous space, numerous features, and excellent value. It has a starting price of $44,995 with standard all-wheel drive, while the fully loaded model will set you back just $53,995, which isn’t much considering how fully featured the Telluride can be. “What you have here is one of the best values in the three-row SUV market,” said contributor Dan Heyman, during his first drive review of the Kia Telluride.

The Telluride offers heated and ventilated seats in the front and second rows, sunshades for the second row, a massive panoramic sunroof, wireless phone chargers, eight USB ports, a large 10.25-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, and a Harman Kardon sound system. There are even more impressive driver assistance and safety features, too, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, blind spot cameras, and then there’s a head-up display as well.

All of those features add up, which means that the Telluride is considered very safe, something our judges weigh heavily when evaluating vehicles in this class. It earns a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The quality of the cabin is also a highlight, and the choice of materials is excellent, allowing the Telluride to feel like a premium vehicle, something that could compete with the likes of Acura, Audi, Buick or Infiniti. One look at the Nappa leather-equipped model and you’ll be fooled into thinking the Telluride is more expensive than it actually is. This large vehicle also has a self-levelling suspension system that even considers the vehicle’s 5,000-lb tow rating, which means it won’t feel like a chore to tow your toys.

The Telluride’s lane change cameras are pretty innovative, too, showing a feed of what’s happening beside the vehicle and in its blind spots. This helps make Telluride feel easy to drive and park, which is impressive especially when you consider just how large the vehicle is. It never feels unwieldy or cumbersome to drive thanks to its helpful technology, responsiveness, and good visibility.

The 3.8-litre V6 engine that resides under the boxy hood is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, both of which are very smooth. There are a few different drive modes and some off-road settings, so you won’t lose confidence while driving in the snow or on the gravel road up to the cottage. The motor features 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, making it right on par with what the rest of the class offers. It’s amazing to suggest that the nearly 300-hp powertrain in the Telluride is the only aspect of the vehicle that’s just average. Fuel economy is rated at 12.5 L/100 km in city driving conditions and 9.6 L/100 km on highway drives.

The overall combination of comfort, space, features, style, and value is why our jury voted for the Telluride as the winner in the three-row crossover segment. It’s typically very hard to find the right mix of all these elements, but Kia has managed it well with the first Telluride. The 2020 Kia Telluride stands tall above the rest.