It is hard to believe that more than a year has passed us by since we named the Kia Telluride the 2020 MotorTrend SUV of the Year. The 2021 winner, the ruggedly cool Land Rover Defender, is a more than worthy torch bearer and now joins the Telluride at the top.
Although the Calipers have been passed to the Defender, the Telluride is still tops in its segment. Unsuccessfully competing alongside the Defender for this year’s honors was the 2021 Toyota Highlander. The Highlander not only fell short of winning our annual award, it also fell short of dethroning the Telluride as the top three-row SUV.
Don’t take my word for it. Head over to our newly launched Buyer’s Guide and check out the rankings! Unsurprising to me, the Telluride leads the three-row SUV pack with score of 8.4/10. Not only does the Telluride beat its main competitors, only one other SUV, the luxurious Lincoln Navigator, matches the Telluride’s score!
Again, none of this surprises me. After lending the Telluride to a coworker with two small children, I recently reunited with the SUV after almost two months apart. With over 18,000 miles on the odometer, many of those spent serving special duty as a photography support vehicle as well as a people mover, the Telluride feels as solid as ever. I’m constantly and pleasantly surprised by how quiet it is on the road, and even with 18K on the clock, there is an enjoyable lack of creaks and rattles.
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I am also pleasantly surprised that the interior seems to be holding up to the abuse. Whether it is being used to haul camera equipment or young children, we tend to put large SUVs’ interiors through a pretty tough use cycle, yet the seats, dash, and carpets are all holding up well.
One thing about being on top of the hill is that there’s never a lack of contenders trying to knock you off of it. The 2021 Toyota Highlander was no match for the Telluride, but with a segment as competitive as three-row SUVs, the Telluride will have to defend its title.
Read More About Our Long-term 2020 Kia Telluride S:
- Update 1: SX Appeal
- Update 2: AWD, a Tow Hitch, and My Love for the SEA
- Update 3: 2020 Kia Telluride Pulls a Small Trailer and It’s Tow-tally Awesome!
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