Navigating Memory Lane In The Kia Telluride

Kia Telluride review
2020 Kia Telluride in Columbia, SC Photo by Kristin Barclay

A Carolina Girl Returns Home

The day after Christmas I boarded a flight to South Carolina. It was my first trip “home” to Columbia in almost 11 years. While I wish my visit was merely a trip down “memory lane”, it was more complicated than that. Walking through Columbia’s airport my heart rate increased, it felt good to be back. I loaded my bags into the back of the 2020 Kia Telluride and drove straight to Rush’s. There was a chili cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake calling my name.

As I exited the airport, I noticed the Telluride’s Sirius XM subscription wasn’t active. I chuckled when I tuned in to 97.5 and found WCOS, the country station I listened to in college. I was equally amazed when I was able to navigate to Rush’s, my favorite burger in Columbia, without the aid of Kia’s navigation or Google.

Things I didn’t remember, include how low the speed limit is on I-26 (55 mph?!?!), a subtle reminder Texans drive faster. Fortunately, the heads up display of the 2020 Kia Telluride shows the posted speed limit. That feature probably saved me from a speeding ticket.

2020 Kia Telluride review
2020 Kia Telluride Photo by Kristin Barclay

Speaking of going fast, the week flew by. I said a final goodbye to my Aunt. Spent time catching up with friends and eating my favorite southern foods. I walked around the empty University of South Carolina campus, remembering my college days. In the mornings I enjoyed my caramel macchiato in The Vista, while walking over the cobblestone streets. And in the evenings I drove around the area from Columbia to Lexington and Lexington to Irmo.

Cocky USC
University of SC Mascot Cocky

A Celebrity In My Hometown

When you haven’t been around for several years, you’d expect catching up with friends to revolve around the mundane. The usual suspects include: marital status, kids, job and a few memories. Throughout the week I had those chats, but with a few friends, the questions centered around my wheels for the week. I fielded questions like “Is that really a Kia?” “How many seats does it have?” And my favorite, “did you modify your Kia?”

After my first 24 hours in town, I noticed I was attracting a lot of attention. I thought maybe the California license plate was the reason for the turning heads. It was after a frightening incident on NYE when I realized people weren’t staring at me, or the tags, but they were fascinated by the Kia Telluride. I was getting fuel a little after sunset, when a guy driving a U-Haul blocked me. He was shouting at me, but I couldn’t him hear over the highway traffic. Eventually, I hear him shout, “hey, what kind of SUV is that?” A few minutes later I’m relaying the encounter to a friend, and she says well, until yours I haven’t seen a Telluride.

2020 Kia Telluride
Photo by Kristin Barclay

2020 Kia Telluride Impresses All Ages

On one of my evenings in town I met friends for dinner in Five Points. While this area of Columbia is best known for its college bars and cheap eats, it’s also famous for tight parking spaces. I pulled into the tiny parking lot and used the surround view monitor to park the mid-size SUV like a boss. My audience, the 18 year old son of a friend and his BFF, hopped in and checked out “my whip”. Within a few seconds they delivered their verdict, this was the most impressive Kia they’d ever encountered. By the way, exiting the spot was more difficult, thankfully the rear cross traffic alert saved me from a collision. I have to say, I think the surround view monitor and rear cross traffic alert are two of the tech features I think everyone driving in urban environments must have!


Hardware for the 2020 Kia Telluride is mounting up as the three row SUV is winning all the coveted awards. This week Kia added the NACTOY Utility Vehicle of the Year award to its trophy case. With its rugged design, technology, and seating for up to eight, Kia is making its mark in the midsize SUV market. With all the hardware in the Telluride, I’m thankful it doesn’t have a scale…with  those Rush’s burgers, Sandy’s hot dogs, pimento cheese and collard greens in the rear view mirror, I’m going to pretend I left the extra calories in SC.

The 2020 Kia Telluride is available in four trims: LX, S, Ex and SX. While the Telluride starts under $32,000, the SX model with AWD I drove for the week was priced at $46,860.

This was a loan from the press fleet for the purpose of a review-not a rental.