Last November 19th, welcome news flew in from America. Motor Trend, arguably the most reputable automotive media in the United States, had selected Kia Telluride as its SUV of the Year. More accolades soon followed: the very next day, a well-known auto evaluation media Kelley Blue Book named Telluride ‘The Best New Car of the Year’ and the best in the mid-size 3-row SUV segment.
On November 21st, U.S. auto magazine Car and Driver named Telluride among ‘The 10 Best Cars & Trucks’ of the year. On November 22nd, Texas Auto Writers Association, one of the most influential organizations in the auto industry, crowned Telluride as “The Texas SUV of the Year” and “Texas Mid-size SUV of the Year”.
The biggest factor in those awards was Telluride’s best driving performance in its segment (find the specifics of Telluride’s driving performance here). But Telluride’s offerings do not end just there—the reviews from the auto media suggest that there were several more factors that swung the crown to Telluride’s way.
Edward Loh, the Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend, chimes in: “Telluride offers attractive spaciousness and cutting-edge technology that fulfilled our most rigorous standards.” Michael Harley of Kelley Blue Book adds: “Telluride captivated the staff with a profuse variety of convenience and safety features.” Car and Driver’s Editor-in-Chief Sharon Silke Carty similarly noted that Telluride “satisfies the driver with a multitude of features.”
A universal theme of these reviews seems to be Telluride’s top-of-the-line convenience and safety features. What are those offerings exactly? We looked deeply into the technology applied to Telluride that ensures not only convenience in driving and passage but also safety in case of accidents.
A Natural Aid to Driving:
Smart Cruise Control
Smart Cruise Control (SCC) is one of the exemplary features in Telluride that contributes to driving convenience. As long as the driver sets the desired speed and following distance, he or she can simply control the steering wheel and save energy. Stop & Go function, included in the SCC, is particularly notable for its ability to stop-and-go in conjunction with the movement of the car ahead: if the preceding vehicle stops and then accelerates within three seconds, Stop & Go will mirror the movement ahead and accelerate accordingly.
Of course, these functions have become rather standard in the mid-size SUV segment in North America. However, the media raves about just how natural Telluride’s SCC felt in action—that there was little awkwardness in switching from manual driving to SCC. Indeed, Telluride’s SCC’s biggest advantage lies in smooth acceleration and deceleration that minimizes the awkwardness that plagues cruise control functions in general.
Embarking on Semi-Autonomous
Driving: Highway Driving Assist
Such a ‘natural feel’ of Telluride’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) hits its zenith in the Highway Driving Assist (HDA) function. HDA utilizes the forward-facing camera and radar to intake information about driving lanes, following distance, and relative speeds, and incorporates this data with the existing road information in the navigation system to control the vehicle speed, direction, and following distance.
This function basically combines the SCC’s ability to maintain the following distance and speed and the Lane Following Assist System (LFA)’s ability to maintain the driving lane. But HDA adds some extra convenience by incorporating the information in the navigation system. Suppose one is driving, using HDA, on a highway under the designated speed limit. If a new speed limit appears, HDA will change the vehicle speed in accordance. HDA reacts to courses requiring extra caution and reduces speed accordingly, and once out of those courses, knows to accelerate back to normal.
For the Rear Seat Passengers:
Conversation Mode and Sleep Mode
True to the name of ‘family car,’ Telluride ensured that even the third-row passengers would ride comfortably. Consider the Rear Seat Conversation Mode: ordinarily, a conversation between the first row and the third row in such a spacious vehicle as Telluride would be a hassle. Rear Seat Conversation Mode resolves this issue with a simple installation of built-in microphones and speakers that assist the communication between the rows.
The function works through the built-in infotainment system. Once activated, radio or media playback is automatically shut off to facilitate the dialogue. The microphones, built on every row of the vehicle, take in the voices, and the speakers provide the output. The third-row speakers are built at the passengers’ face level, so the voice comes in as vividly as in real conversation. As seen, the function epitomizes the care taken by the engineers to ensure the environment of the family car.
Another important element of a family car is long-distance ride comfortability—and Telluride meets the test by applying reclining captain seats to the second-row seating. Rear seat passengers can also enjoy the sleep mode, which reduces the speaker volume of all but the first-row speakers to ensure quieter sleep.
Blind Spot No More: Blind-Spot
Recent developments in ADAS have centered on reacting more actively to emergencies. Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) System, for example, helps prevent accidents from lane changes by warning the drivers of the vehicles emerging from the blind spot. This technology uses radar sensors to detect vehicles in the blind spot and warns the driver with a warning light and sound if accidents appear likely. Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist-Rear (BCA-R) System, a further developed version of the BCW, does not stop at simply warning the driver but intervenes more actively to prevent accidents. Using the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) function, the system applies subtle brakes on one of the wheels to change the direction of the vehicle. The intervention is so swift and natural that the driver will not panic, let alone feel any awkwardness.
Safer Rear Parking Exit:
Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist
After forward-parking the car, exiting from the rear can be accident-prone: the driver may not notice a car passing by in the rear and exit too quickly. To avoid such problems, many drivers meticulously check the rear camera, rearview mirror, and the side mirrors; when even that may not be enough, the drivers turn their heads physically with hopes of getting a glimpse. But cars parked on the sides and the blind spot make a complete check of the surroundings impossible. For cars as long as Telluride, at 5 meters in length, doing so is particularly difficult.
Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist (RCCA) System works to prevent accidents in just such cases: when a car approaches from the rear-side, the warning LED light on the inside of the side mirror flashes; if the driver overlooks the light, warning sounds are played to remind the driver of the danger. If the car still does not decelerate at that point, the system intervenes and pulls the brakes by itself to prevent the accident.
Stay Steady: Lane-Keeping Assist
Lane drifting—particularly central line invasions—can lead to fatal accidents. Safety features such as Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) System was born to prevent such disasters. Upon noticing lane drifting, LKA not merely warns the driver of the danger but intervenes with the steering on the moment the car invades the other lane, thereby ensuring safety.
Beware of Pedestrians and Cyclists:
Forward Collision-avoidance Assist
What is the single biggest reason for accidents on highways? According to the 5-year data from the Korea Expressway Corporation, the biggest reason was the driver’s lack of attention on the forward scene. Indeed, the importance of forward-looking attention of the driver need not be emphasized; the modern times require a particular emphasis, though, because more and more drivers are falling victim to the temptations of smartphone usage while driving.
Telluride offers Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA) System to combat such problems. The system uses the forward radar to detect the vehicle ahead and sounds alarms when a collision becomes likely. If the driver does not react in time, the system intervenes to decelerate or completely stop the vehicle to prevent the accident or reduce damage. The camera installed on the windshield is capable of detecting pedestrians and cyclists as well, helping prevent potential accidents during city driving.
FCA’s effectiveness has been substantiated by various research and statistics. According to the research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in November 2018, the presence of FCW (Forward Collision-avoidance Warning) led to a 17% decrease in accidents compared to the control group without FCW. For cars with FCA, which does not merely warn but intervenes to brake, the decrease in accidents soared to a whopping 43%.
Safe Even to The Point of Departure:
Safe Exit Assist
Children are unpredictable. They may suddenly attempt to leave the car as soon as it comes to a stop, which may also lead to accidents. A good family car ought to prepare for such contingencies; naturally, Telluride does by offering the Safe Exit Assist (SEA) function.
SEA detects the car approaching from the rear-side when the rear passenger prepares to exit the vehicle. When the radar notices a car coming, the rear door automatically locks to prevent the potential collision. More simply put, when the driver attempts to unlock the electronic child lock, the system delays the unlocking process, simultaneously placing a pop-up message on the dashboard and locking the door along with an alarm sound.
Beyond just this situation, SEA also activates when the first-row and the second-row passengers attempt to open the car door as a car approaches from the rear-side. A dashboard pop-up and alarm sound similarly help the passengers notice the incoming danger. This function is active for ten minutes even after the car is shut off, only deactivating when the smart key locks the door from the outside.
There Are People Still Here:
Rear Occupant Alert
According to the statistics from Kids and Cars, a U.S. child safety and accident prevention organization, 38 children die of heatstroke in a locked car each year. Just last July, the news of twin babies stranded to death in a car under scorching weather hit the headlines. Telluride provides a safety feature that can help prevent such unfortunate occurrences: Rear Occupant Alert (ROA).
ROA first perceives the rear occupant by the opening of the rear door upon entry. After the driver reaches the destination, shuts the power off, and opens the door to leave the vehicle, a dashboard message pops up to “check the rear seats” along with an audio message. If the driver ignores these messages and locks the vehicle from the outside, ultrasonic sensors on the ceiling automatically start to detect indoor movement for 24 hours. The sensor is capable of detecting movements of not only infants but also pets as well.
Once the in-vehicle movement is detected, the driver is notified in three ways: first, car honks alarms and flashes emergency lights for 25 seconds to notify the driver and the passerby of the existence of a rear occupant. For drivers who have subscribed to UVO service, a reminder SMS is delivered to their cellular devices. Finally, if the driver ignores these repeated warnings despite the continued detection of in-vehicle movement, the alarm cycle will repeat for a maximum of 8 times.
The media outlets that have crowned Telluride as the best SUV unanimously cited these convenience and safety features as a major reason. What’s important here is that these features are truly not just for show but for real, practical use. Telluride is a mere rookie in the hot U.S. market for family cars, but it is quickly becoming a much-heralded Rookie of the Year. That’s why the expectations are sky-high next year for this seasoned rookie.