2020 Kia Telluride Pulls a Small Trailer and It’s Tow-tally Awesome!
“Oh my God, do you love him?”
We’re stuck at a red light waiting for it to turn. A short distance on the west side of San Francisco, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge, California Highway 1 ends and turns into the busy 19th Avenue. This is my least favorite part of driving to the coastal areas north of town. There are always a lot of people and the roads are narrow.
“I had to get up next to you so I could take a picture!” What is that? It is so happy! I love him so much!”
The woman in the car next to us trying to get our attention isn’t talking about our long-range 2020 Kia Telluride. She’s talking about the ultra-cool, super cute, vintage travel trailer that we hung behind us.
The travel trailer, a Mammoth White HC1, was built by Happier Camper of Los Angeles, and as the women in the car suggested, Ithis is so cute!
Regardless of the specifications, the Telluride has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. This makes the Telluride a bit unusual but not unheard of in the three-row SUV market. Most of the Telluride’s main competitors, such as the Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer, can tow 5,000 pounds, or even more in some cases, with the Explorer rated at 5,600 pounds in the 3.0L V- 6 4WD spec. On the other end of the spectrum – the low end – is the Chevrolet Traverse, which lists its towing rating at just 1,500 pounds (unless you go for the AWD High Country trim, which can tow a comparable 5 segment. 000 lbs).
However, just because you can tow 5,000 pounds doesn’t mean you should. Whenever you approach the limits of a vehicle, whether it’s payload or towing capacity, you run a greater risk of it negatively affecting performance and safety. Additionally, in the case of Telluride, there are other things to consider. One issue that caused a bit of a headache at the start of our adventure is that the Telluride only comes equipped with a four-pin connector for the trailer electronics, instead of the more rugged, round seven-pin connector. blades. While the four-pin connector makes sure all of your lights are working properly, that’s all it gives you. There is no trailer brake connection or direct power supply from your trailer to charge the on-board batteries. Small, lightweight trailers aren’t that important, but I would never tow anything large without trailer brakes.
Turns out, I’m not the only one unhappy with the lack of a full seven-blade connector on the 2020 Telluride. A quick scroll on a Kia Telluride online forum reveals that people must have turned to aftermarket conversion plugs and trailer brake controllers. Kia itself apparently had a seven-blade connector in mind for the 2020 models when designing the tow hitch, because once you unbolt the four-pin connector, the mounting point is actually designed for the larger seven-blade connector. In fact, for the 2021 model year, all Tellurides equipped with the tow pack will indeed have the larger seven-blade connector.
Lucky for us, the quart-sized HC1 is light, really light, 1,100 pound dry weight. Even fully loaded, the HC1 weighs less than 2,000 pounds, which means it can be towed with pretty darn close to anything. It also means that the lack of trailer brakes was not a problem. Luckily, the HC1 was also fitted with a nifty solar installation that allowed us to charge the trailer batteries during the day. Even when parked in a shady forest campground, the solar panels provided enough juice to keep the batteries charged, allowing us to use interior lighting and run the small drawer-mounted refrigerator. This made the Telluride’s lack of power less of an issue, but owners of the 2021 Telluride with the standard seven-blade connector will certainly have improved convenience when towing.
We ended up doing 1,297 miles on our northward adventure. Over those 1,300 miles, we averaged 16.7 mpg, which in my opinion is pretty decent considering it’s only about 4 mpg less than an average full tank. Overall, the Telluride handled the light load well. Performance was not hampered too much and the Telluride’s good outward visibility made parking and saving the trailer easier. The HC1 is short, only 13 feet long in total, and has large front and rear windows that matched the Telluride’s rear window perfectly, so I had some (obscured) visibility to the traffic behind us. I towed enough trailers to know how luxury it was.
We decided not to fill the freshwater tank on board, and other than food and linens, we kept the HC1 fairly empty during our trip. In the end, this may have been to our detriment, as the ultralight trailer ended up reacting more to bumps and imperfections in the pavement resulting in bumps and bounces as well as a lot of noise. due to the displacement of the weight on the ball. of the hitch. Fully loaded, this problem could be reduced, but honestly the HC1 is so cool and accessible that while it doesn’t go away completely, it would be a nice compromise given its light weight and the ability to tow it with almost anything. . .
Ultimately our trip was a much-needed escape from our repetitive lives. The Telluride handled the trailer with ease and was a comfortable travel vehicle. The HC1 was amazing, and anyone interested in a small travel trailer should consider one.
Learn more about our long-term 2020 Kia Telluride S:
- Update 1: SX Call
- Update 2: AWD, a tow hitch and my love for the sea
The Kia Telluride after 2020 pulls a small trailer and it’s great! first appeared on MotorTrend.