2020 Kia Telluride SX First Drive: Telluridin’ Dirty

The 2020 Kia Telluride is the South Korean brand’s largest crossover SUV to date, overshadowing the mid-size Sorento in length by a substantial 7.9 inches and the short-lived Borrego by 4.6 inches. Size, however, is relative, and the Telluride feels like an ant on a molehill next to the towering canyon walls and snow-covered mountains that loom alongside western Colorado’s scenic highways.

In spite of its boxy, SUV-like styling, the Telluride is built on unibody bones, which means it’s technically a crossover. Underhood sits a 3.8-liter V6 engine that pushes 291 horsepower to the front wheels, although all-wheel-drive is a $2,000 option across the line. Due to a healthy dose of body roll and well-weighted-but-muted steering, the Telluride lacks the driving engagement of other full-size crossovers such as the Mazda CX-9. Still, the Kia wafts through corners with surprising composure courtesy of its well-damped suspension and rigid structure.

Drive the Telluride like the people-mover it is, and Kia’s big box quickly finds its stride. Thanks to its comfortable ride quality, thick window glass, and surplus of sound-deadening materials, the top-of-the-line Telluride SX ($41,490) offers a stoicism often associated with premium marques. It’s likely the thicker sidewalls of the base LX ($31,690) and upper-mid-level EX ($37...