It’s going to be one of those nights. My daughter’s grandmother, who lives two hours away near Louisville, offered to take my family to dinner. Sounds yummy, but we’ll need a comfortable ride to get across Indianapolis and travel an hour south on I65. Since my daughter needs to “slay”, she would not arrive in a conveyance lacking class. Fortunately, our 2024 Kia Telluride Prestige X-Line looks like it was made by Rolls-Royce for surveying one’s country estate.
Brash British Style
That may be a touch too far, but there is certainly a suave Britishness to the Telluride’s design that looked ruggedly elegant whether posing in my driveway or dropping my daughter at the door. Echoing Kia’s X-Pro trim that’s fortified for true off-roading, X-Line gives the look without all the drama. Black window trim, mirror caps, grille, and 20” wheels lend a sinister look. The rounded box body shape with vertical LED headlamps, L-shaped taillamps, and side windows that hint at coach doors speak with a British accent. It’s especially fetching in ghostly Wolf Gray.
It’s difficult to imagine a more luxurious and stylish space in which to traverse an hour of asphalt for vittles. It feels quite upscale with black quilted Nappa leather seats, heated/ventilated front- and second-row seats, and heated steering wheel. Matte wood trim is fake, but looks and feels legit. While winter sun streamed through the dual pane sunroof, my daughter and I launched into a duet of Wonka songs sung through the Harman/Kardon premium audio system.
Technology matches the luxury fittings. Dual panoramic 12.3” displays handle gauges and infotainment. They are slick and sleek, but also intuitive for linking phones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Charge wirelessly in the console; conjure directions with navigation. A head-up display, surround view parking monitor, and blind spot monitors (camera displays in the gauge cluster) enhance safety – as does active crash avoidance tech that includes rear occupant alert with ultrasonic sensors, blind spot dash displays, and Safe Exit Assist to prevent passengers from stepping into traffic.
Smooth Powerful Driving
The powertrain is considerably less extravagant than a Rolls-Royce V-12, but gets the job done. Beneath the wide hood is a 3.8-liter V6 delivering 291 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. It routes to the active all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Add to that a self-leveling rear suspension and 5,500 lbs. towing capacity to enhance hauling capacity. Fuel economy rates 18/24-MPG city/highway.
Whether clicking across city streets looking for freeway, or making time to hit our dinner date, there was ample power to shove the big three-row crossover whether carrying just a few people or a trailer. However, load up with six and their luggage and you may want a little more oomph. The four-wheel independent suspension carries the big wagon well, but is challenged when taming those big wheels over broken pavement. It handles well for what it is but is probably not the best choice for cutting apexes on country roads.
It may look like a six-figure Brit, but the Telluride provides much value for the dollar. Prices start at $36,190, rising to $54,540 exquisitely equipped for quick fancy drives to dinner. If that sounds too dear, but you like the Telluride’s style, check out the smaller Sorento for $30,390 or the compact Sportage starting at $27,190. Full-size competitors include the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse, Nissan Pathfinder, and similar Hyundai Palisade.
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