All-new Telluride de­liv­ers the goods for big fam­i­lies

The Western Star - - SALTWIRE WHEELS - RICHARD RUS­SELL WHEELS

The Telluride is Kia’s largest ve­hi­cle. The three-row cross­over is ca­pa­ble of seat­ing up to eight peo­ple and gives Kia stores an an­swer for cus­tomers look­ing for a larger SUV than the Sorento.

The Telluride will keep them in the Kia fam­ily.

De­signed in and for North Amer­ica, the Telluride is pro­duced at the com­pany’s mas­sive new plant in the Ge­or­gia. Longer and wider than the Sorento, it comes with a V6 en­gine, eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, and a so­phis­ti­cated all-wheel-drive sys­tem.

As you’d ex­pect from Kia, stan­dard equip­ment on even the least ex­pen­sive trim level is ex­ten­sive. In ad­di­tion to power ev­ery­thing, heated seats and steer­ing wheel, it has adap­tive cruise con­trol, a 25-cen­time­tre colour in­fo­tain­ment screen with rear-view mon­i­tor, park as­sist and re­clin­ing rear seats.

From a hot-stamped grill and LED head­lights to the skid plate and dual ex­haust out­lets, it has a dis­tinct ap­pear­ance. The big-box shape cov­ers a spa­cious in­te­rior with a lot more space for peo­ple and their “stuff” than the Sorento.

Kia’s new flag­ship is a show­case for a suite of safety fea­tures un­equalled any­where near the $45,000 to $55,000 price point.

Stan­dard or avail­able safety fea­tures in­clude: blind-spot col­li­sion-avoid­ance as­sist, for­ward col­li­sion avoid­ance, rear cross-traf­fic col­li­sion avoid­ance as­sist, lane fol­low­ing as­sist, 360-de­gree cam­era and blind-spot view mon­i­tor, safe exit as­sist, rear oc­cu­pant alert, sur­round view, and a heads-up dis­play.

Cus­tomers seeking a three­row ve­hi­cle are ob­vi­ously fam­ily-ori­ented and the prod­uct plan­ners for the Telluride went out of their way to en­sure the big new cross­over fit those needs.

The Telluride pro­vides con­nec­tiv­ity for two smart­phones and there are six fast-charge USB out­lets and sep­a­rate cli­mate con­trols for the rear seats.

These folks ob­vi­ously have fam­i­lies them­selves, as there are a num­ber of thought­ful and use­ful touches like hooks on the back of the front seats, mesh pock­ets for cell­phones, wire­less phone charg­ing, pri­vacy/sun cur­tains, heated and ven­ti­lated sec­ond-row seats and a hands­free power lift gate.

Chil­dren fac­tored into the de­sign brief. In ad­di­tion to an­chors for three child seats, there is a sys­tem whereby the driver can ad­dress rear-seat oc­cu­pants through the au­dio sys­tem and rear speak­ers.

A “quiet mode” al­lows fron­trow oc­cu­pants to turn off all speak­ers to the rear and ac­cess to the third row is ac­cessed by press­ing a but­ton to tilt and slide the sec­ond-row seat out of the way.

The big ve­hi­cle is supremely quiet on the road with a smooth and sup­ple ride with­out be­ing too yacht-like in the cor­ners. The self-lev­el­ling rear sus­pen­sion keeps the Telluride level when the mas­sive load area and/or third-row seats are used.

A switch on the cen­tre con­sole al­lows the driver to se­lect var­i­ous modes — four for nor­mal op­er­a­tion — com­fort, eco, sport and smart — and three for in­clement con­di­tions — snow, mud and sand.

The V6 is silky smooth and quiet un­der all con­di­tions, pro­vid­ing more than am­ple power for this 4,500-pound cross­over. The trans­mis­sion has been pro­grammed to pro­vide the right gear for ev­ery con­di­tion with no hunt­ing or hes­i­ta­tion.

Kia’s relentless im­prove­ments have brought it to the top of cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and re­li­a­bil­ity rat­ings. The new range­top­ping Telluride brings all that and a raft of safety and tech­nol­ogy fea­tures for large fam­i­lies.

KIA PHO­TOS

2020 Kia Telluride.

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