Let’s face it, Americans aren’t going to get rid of their SUVs and crossover utility vehicles any time soon. Automakers have come to such a realization, which has prompted many to take what already works in their SUV/CUV lineup and make it better – or at least make it more appealing to those who want something unique. Such a move is exactly what Kia has done with the 2021 Telluride Nightfall Edition, after receiving many accolades and awards last year during its introduction into the market.
The latest Kia Telluride, polishing what received Motor Trend’s SUV of the year award along with the highly praised North American Utility of The Year award, gets a new Nightfall Edition package, which is a welcomed move to offer the midsized three-row crossover to those who want something different to stand out from the rest. The new Nightfall Edition package adds many traits that were only available from the aftermarket for a sportier and stealthier look, brining darkened trim and accents to the forefront. The $1,295 Nightfall Edition package adds exclusive dark Kia logos, badges, black front grill, exclusive black 20-inch alloy wheels, and black exterior trim that is otherwise chrome on all other Tellurides. The overall look of the Nightfall Edition package goes a long way to make the Telluride unique in its own right, considering there’s an abundance of Tellurides on the road.
Powering the 2021 Telluride is the same 3.8-liter V6 engine that we’ve grown to love from the Kia brand providing a consistent and predictable power output. While the Telluride’s V6 engine isn’t exactly thrilling, it does just fine to propel the large three-row crossover with assurance and get up to 60 mph in its AWD configuration in 7.2 seconds. An 8-speed automatic transmission does well to avoid unnecessary hunting for gears on downshifts and provides smooth up-shifts. The drive and ride quality are also decent, adding to the appeal that many buyers find in the Telluride after taking it for a spin. There aren’t many things to complain about in the new Telluride, and apart from the new Nightfall Edition package offering for the 2021 model year, the only other change is an updated 7-pin connection for the trailer-towing wiring harness and a remote engine start button added to the key fob.
As far as fuel efficiency, the Kia Telluride falls in line with most of its competition. Its fuel mileage estimates are consistent but don’t necessarily impress with the EPA figures of 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.
Kia pulled out just about all of the stops when it comes to making the Telluride family friendly with many thoughtful features and amenities, such as a plethora of USB charging ports available for each seating row, three-zone automatic climate control, manual rear side window curtains, heated and ventilated first and second-row seats (captain’s chairs), rear fixed-glass sunroof with a power-sliding sunshade, and a Driver Talk system allowing the driver to amplify their voice to the back two rows of seats.
The interior of the Kia Telluride is very accommodating and provides just the right adjustments for comfort and maneuvering the second-row seats for easy access to the third row. Moreover, the third-row is a decent space for small adults or children and can be easily folded flat through a manual lever. There’s also a taste of luxury in the Telluride with a soft-touch dashboard and many other soft-touch surfaces in just the right places. The attractive contrast of colors through the Telluride’s optional SX Prestige Package serves up luxury-like features, such as perforated Nappa leather-trimmed seats, color heads-up display, rain-sensing wipers, and a suede-like cloth headliner. There’s ample room throughout the cabin making the Telluride quite competitive for space and cargo capacity.
Keeping with today’s tech, the Telluride isn’t lacking by providing a relatively easy-to-use infotainment system fed through a wide 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. LED lighting throughout the Telluride inside and out offers up a nice touch, even the subtle interior color-configurable ambient lighting adds a nice touch. The myriad of active safety features all enact to provide a nice safety blanket with a few unique tricks, such as the blind spot view monitor that displays a live camera feed in the center gauge cluster screen of the blind spot according to which direction you turn your blinker on. Other active safety features are the expected variety of blind spot monitors with an audible alert and displays in the heads-up display and rearview mirrors, forward collision avoidance assist, highway driving assist, lane keeping assist, safe exit assist, and smart cruise control with stop & go.
Bringing home the reasons as to why the new Kia Telluride won its accolades filters down to its value and remarkable warranty of 10 years/100,000 mile powertrain and 5 years/50,000 limited basic warranty. The value proposition of the Telluride places it in a very competitive spot for shoppers of mainstream three-row crossovers, as well as those looking for entry-level luxury crossovers – it’s just that good at a fully-loaded and as-tested price for the Nightfall Edition package AWD Telluride at $50,180 (including a $1,170 inland and freight charge).