Early February 2019, before Telluride deliveries were underway, the EPA published fuel economy numbers for both FWD and AWD models allowing us to answer that key pressing question typically asked about large three-row SUV's.
In city/highway/combined format it breaks down to common numbers within the segment; 20/26/23 mpg for the Telluride FWD and 19/24/21 mpg in AWD configuration.
For an SUV starting from $33,690 that comes standard with a 291 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque producing 3.8-liter V6 GDI, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, requiring 87 octane, capacity for 18.8 gallons and weighing 4,482 lbs, those are respectable figures.
Now that Tellurides are getting delivered we're interested in how real-world numbers vary. Playing with Eco mode that remaps the powertrain and drivetrain and Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go (ISG) will hopefully influence better numbers, but only time will tell.
Looking within the Tellurides segment, surprisingly its one of the most efficient, beating smaller displacement V6's like those found in the 2019 Ford Explorer (FWD; 17/24/20, AWD; 16/22/19), 2019 VW Atlas (FWD; 17/24/19, AWD; 17/23/19) and 2019 GMC Acadia (FWD; 18/25/21, AWD; 17/25/20) to name a few.
Beating the Telluride, are models that received turbocharged 4-cylinder engines made to replace V6's for obvious reasons. Those were the 2019 Mazda CX-9 (FWD; 22/28/24, AWD; 20/26/23) and 2019 Subaru Ascent (AWD Only; 21/27/23).
Expect better numbers in the future, Kia is rumored to be launching a Telluride PHEV, originally featured in the concept. Early estimates suggest it will produce 30 mpg highway.