2021 Kia Telluride Review: Affordable Style & Luxury

The 2021 Kia Telluride is an all-new release. Despite being so new, it is already an award-winning car. The much-anticipated SUV was awarded “Best in Show” at the 2020 Detroit Auto Show for its spacious cabin, impressive list of amenities, innovative technology, and attention to detail inside and out. The Telluride can seat seven or eight passengers depending on trim level.

Perhaps best of all is that passengers get the stylish, glamorous, and well-equipped SUV for a considerably good value, especially in comparison with its competitors. Based on preliminary critic reviews, this SUV is one that impresses even the most skeptical of reviewers. Bigger than the Sorento and more glamorous than close competitors—the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer—the 2021 Telluride is not one to miss.


There are four trim levels offered in the 2021 Kia Telluride. They start with the base trim, the LX. While some automakers skimp on the amenities, especially at the base level, that’s not the case with Kia. The base model makes a grand entrance to the ultra-competitive midsize SUV market with a generous 8-person seating capacity, an impressive 5,000-pound towing capacity, and a powerful 3.8L six-cylinder engine that puts out close to 300 HP. Those who want to take the LX off-roading, or those who simply want more control on road surfaces, can select the available all-wheel drive. The engine is linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The exterior makes a fine first impression with 18-inch painted alloy wheels, LED positioning lights, projector-style headlights, and a shark fin antenna. Rides in the LX are quieter in comparison to many other SUVs thanks to special sound-absorbing glass in the windshield. Four exterior paint colors and three interior cloth color choices give plenty of options for creating a custom finish for this trim.

Next up is the S. This trim has a seven-passenger seating configuration with captain’s chairs. It has the same performance and handling specs as the base trim. But its exterior is distinguished with larger 20-inch wheels, a dark metallic front grille, a power-operated sunroof, silver-accented and low-profile roof rails, and skid plates in the front and back with a silver finish. Five exterior paint colors and three choices for premium interior materials (all fine Nappa leather) provide even more flexibility for a custom finish.

The EX, which offers an even more generous array of amenities, is a favorite choice among critics. This trim holds up to eight passengers in three rows of seats. It has the same mechanical and performance specs as the first two trims, but it also features an available towing hitch. This trim is also available in all-wheel drive. The EX features rear-combination LED lights in the back and a power liftgate. It also gets power-folding side mirrors. The EX has the same exterior and interior color options as the S.

The top trim, called the SX, goes back to a seven-seat configuration with captain’s chairs in the back row. It has the same towing capacity and engine as the previous trims. Its exterior is distinguishable for its bright LED projector-style headlights and dual sunroofs. The SX rides on 20-inch wheels, but with this trim they have a sporty black finish. High-beam assist headlights add style and visibility to its exterior. An additional paint color is offered at this trim level, but it keeps the same three options of Nappa leather seating.


Each trim level of the Telluride adds more features. Impressive, especially for its price, the base trim offers an eight-inch touchscreen featuring UVO link. Plush leatherette material covers the seats. There are five USB charging ports divided among the rows, and the second-row seats can slide or fold down to make room for passengers or cargo. A rear occupant alert and leather-wrapped wheel are other highlights of base trim. It also offers a parking distance warning that alerts drivers to objects in the rear path of travel.

Higher trims? Better features, both optional and standard. The S adds heated front seats, an adjustable driver’s seat that moves in 10 ways, and a leather-wrapped gear shift knob. The interior also features LED lights in the cabin. The EX has standard leather seats, ventilated front seats, and a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation and remote operation capabilities. Sunshades are built into the second row of seats. Driver Talk is an intercom system that lets those in the front seat communicate safely with passengers in the back. The top trim has a premium 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with an amplifier and subwoofer. Mood lighting offers 64 colors, and the driver gets an additional seven-inch display screen that provides vital vehicle information.


For all that it offers, the LX trim starts at a base MSRP price of just $33,690. The S trim starts at $35,990. The EX trim has a base price of $39,090, and the top trim begins at $43,490. There are optional amenities and packages that can be added to any trim level as well. These features vary in price, but they are overall a good deal.

Disclaimer: Not all features come standard.


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