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In an SUV-adoring part of the world, the introduction of a new SUV is always a welcome addition. The newest entrant on the block is Korea’s answer to popular 7-seater SUVs such as the Ford Explorer, the Honda Pilot, and the Nissan Pathfinder. The all-new Kia Telluride takes flagship position in the brand’s line-up and is out to lure buyers away from its American and Japanese rivals.
Unveiled at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai’s Business Bay, the launch event encompassed a variety of activities from lunch at Nikki Beach to afternoon tea at Bluewaters Island and an evening refresher at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. But let me keep the gastronomic details of the day aside and tell you more about what you came here to read, the 2020 Kia Telluride.
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From a styling perspective, the production model hasn’t strayed far away from the concept unveiled in 2016 and that’s a wonderful thing. Sure, the suicide doors, tablet-like instrument cluster, and executive rear seats didn’t quite make it to production but that was expected. Nonetheless, the Telluride is a brawny and handsome offering that is targeted to families with two children and is available in an exciting palette of 8 exterior colors and 5 interior colors.
On the inside, the all-new Telluride looks and feels extremely premium. In fact, if someone were to remove its Korean badge on the steering wheel and place a more premium German one instead, it wouldn’t be amiss. The wood and metal trims that lend the cabin an elegant touch, are complimented by smooth and perforated leathers and a minimalistic design.
A family SUV in every sense, the Kia Telluride is a three-row SUV and a great one at that. The second row slides and reclines while the third row offers enough space to transport average sized adults. To make the most of the space it offers, the all-new Telluride is also equipped with a power rear liftgate, easy access to the third row, and flat-folding seats should you wish to transport some cargo.
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Being a Korean offering, the Telluride hits heavy on the tech front with plenty of features, the most interesting of which are a 10.25-inch dashboard mounted infotainment screen, 64 color mood lighting system, 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, and Rear Seat Alert – an alarm that prevents you from forgetting a pet, child, or anything important in the backseat when walking away from the vehicle.
Building on the above list are two features that deserve to be highlighted more than others, those are ‘Driver Talk Mode’ and ‘Quiet Mode’. The Driver Talk Mode uses an intercom system through the vehicle’s audio system to pick up the driver’s voice and route it through the speakers to the backseats. This allows the driver to talk to those in the back without the need to turn around or shout over the music.
At the other end of the spectrum sits the Quiet Mode feature that facilitates naps or discussions in the back rows by switching the audio system from full-interior sound to reduced-volume, front-seat mode only. A feature that is likely to come in handy when those in the front seats wish to listen to music without disturbing the sleeping kids in the back seats. Thinking of road trips? I know I am…
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Despite most other manufacturers moving away from large engines and adopting smaller turbocharged units, the 2020 Kia Telluride is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 291 horsepower and 355 Nm of torque. This is pushed through an 8-speed automatic transmission to all four corners, helping the handsome Korean SUV to hit 100km/h in a respectable 7.7-seconds.
Claimed to be capable off the beaten path, the Telluride is fitted with a terrain management system that includes dedicated modes for Snow, Mud, and Sand with each making changes to the traction control system, the ECU, and the transmission. Moreover, drive modes include Eco, Comfort, and Sport to give driver’s complete control over aspects such as throttle response, steering heft etc.
Adding to the Telluride’s impressive list of driver aids is the brand’s first-ever implementation of a self-levelling rear suspension. This always allows the car to be levelled, irrespective of the amount of weight in the back, be it passengers or cargo, and increases control significantly. In praising the Telluride’s driver aids, the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping technologies it packs in also deserve a worthy mention for they can quite easily match the best in the market.
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Overall, the 2020 Kia Telluride is a great SUV for families and serves up a hearty portion of value for money. Is it better than the competition? It sure seems so…