A sudden downpour. A ballpark parking lot transformed into a sea of goopy mud. Cars slithering around, spinning wheels. Not a tow-truck in sight.

“That was me,” said Sang Lee, product strategy manager at Kia Motors America. “The only difference—I was driving a Telluride. I set it to AWD Lock, I went easy on the gas, and we just drove straight out.”

That’s the Telluride’s everyday versatility. Especially those models equipped with optional Electronic All-Wheel Drive.

While it could take you on a gravel trail to a mountain top, its real-world capability to get you home is likely to impress and comfort you more.

Here Lee, who helped equip the Telluride for American tastes, highlights some of the SUV’s stand-out technology.


“Some competitors in this segment offer four-cylinder power. We prefer the power and refinement of a V6 for an SUV of this size. With efficiency in mind, we’ve refined our Lambda 3.8-liter GDI V6 with Atkinson cycle technology. There’s certainly no shortage of power; the direct-injection engine offers 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. And it comes mated to a new eight speed automatic. It’s a terrific combination.”


“All-wheel drive can be a real benefit sometimes, giving you the added confidence of improved traction in a variety of challenging conditions. In normal driving, the Telluride’s available advanced electro-hydraulic system primarily sends the engine’s power to the front wheels. But if it senses any loss of traction, it will seamlessly, and instantly, route power to the rear—and keep varying the balance between the front and rear axles as the amount of grip changes. It’s very smart.”


“For Telluride models equipped with all-wheel drive, a small rotary control on the center console is, in most situations, your ‘get-out-of-trouble’ control. You can select the Snow setting, or if you want to leave it to the vehicle to work things out, there’s a simple default setting for AWD lock. The same control knob also gives you the choice of four distinct drive modes designed to help enhance performance. Chose between Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart.”


“A strong, stiff, torsionally rigid body structure is not only helpful for crash protection, but it’s what helps make a vehicle agile and fun to drive. With the all-new Telluride, we’ve developed an extraordinarily robust monocoque shell with the application of Advanced High-Strength Steel, especially around the cabin.”


“A true measure of luxury is refinement. No one wants to hear excessive engine noise, the hiss of wind noise or the roar of rubber on the road. That’s why our engineers focused hard on keeping things in the Telluride super-quiet. Which is why we dramatically increased the use of foam filler in hollow sections of the body, added sound-absorbing material around the engine firewall and anti-noise pads on floor sections. We’re also using special sound-insulating glass for the windshield. It’s also available for the side windows too.”


“We’ve equipped the Telluride with four-wheel independent suspension that delivers a great balance between dynamic, focused handling and impressive ride comfort. We’ve also developed a new electric-assist steering for improved steering precision. Depending on the model, there’s a choice of great-looking 18-inch or 20-inch wheels shod with all-season tires. And with almost 8 inches of ground clearance, the Telluride will keep on going over all kinds of challenging surfaces.


“We’ve all been frustrated in the rain, when you rush up to the rear of the vehicle with an arm full of groceries, and the power tailgate takes forever to open. With the Telluride, we’ve added a two-speed opening with a ‘fast’ setting that cuts the opening time from six seconds to 4.5. And there’s no standing on one leg and shaking your foot—especially risky if there’s ice on the ground. Instead, Telluride senses the key in your pocket when you’re standing behind and opens the back.”


“Low drag improves fuel economy, increases high-speed stability and reduces noise levels. Which is why our designers gave the new Telluride a number of wind-cheating features to lower its drag coefficient—like the front-wheel air curtain that takes in air from an opening in the lower bumper and guides it across the front wheels to reduce turbulence. Then there’s the tailgate roof spoiler and ‘winglets’ at the side of the rear screen that improves aero. The result: an impressive 0.34 Cd.”

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