New 2020 Kia Telluride Pays Homage to the Rugged, Boxy SUVs We Grew Up With

Strengthened body structure & 291-hp V6

Kia is pitching their new mid-size SUV to be your family’s next adventure-ready hauler. Paying homage to the the original SUVs with their big, boxy designs (less the gas-guzzling attributes), the 2020 Telluride retains that large footprint with exploration on its mind.

Confident SUV Design

With seating for up to eight, the Telluride is the Korean automaker’s first product designed specifically for the North American market; built in Georgia, USA and designed in California out of the Design Center in Irvine, the new sport ute boasts burly-shouldered shapes, a prominent front design with a broad hood and wide grille, and a windshield sitting upright rendering a more muscular stance.

In a sea of new SUVs, frankly, beginning to all look alike, it’s good to see a throwback to the boxier design. Sure, the sportier slender look works in its own right, but there’s room for some beef and brash, too.

2020 Kia Telluride rear view

Can the Telluride actually handle an uncompromising route?

To get the adventure going, Kia planted a 291-hp 3.8L V6 making 262 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm. To ramp it up, all-wheel drive is optional.

But Kia’s gone a little further to justify the Telluride’s ‘off-road’ ambition they’re pitching: firstly, they’ve strengthened the body structure with a monocoque shell that is composed of 59.4 percent advanced high-strength steel.

Related: 2017 Best Luxury SUVs & Crossovers

The rear suspension is self-leveeing with automatically calibrating ride height depending on vehicle load to optimize control and stability — these are optional on the EX and SX trims.

Plus, drive modes to handle various conditions: these include Smart, Eco, Sport and Comfort.

Rugged luxury ready to go

We got our first glimpse of the new 2020 Telluride as a one-off, ranch-ready edition by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell, unveiled at the New York Fashion Show last year.

Nothing wrong with seeing a glammed up version sitting idle on stage, propped up like a costume party — but seeing it in action, actually hitting the dirt like in these photos, gives a little more comfort in its ability. And puts a smile on our faces.

Release Date & Telluride Pricing

Pricing and release date haven’t been announced but expect the Telluride to be available in four trims: LX, EX, S and SX with a choice of front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive. Kia states official pricing will be released closer to the sale date sometime this year. 

Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at TractionLife.com, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, poorly.