Venturing out for Bald Eagle day in the new 2020 Kia Telluride

While taking a break from eagle watching, Deanne poses with the Telluride outside of the Mt. Pleasant Memorial Building after a tasty lunch at Main Street Pizza.

SANPETE COUNTY — Last year we heard about the Bald Eagle viewing day that is hosted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), at locations where the eagles can usually be seen and visitors can learn more about America’s wildlife symbol.

We took advantage of the event with our grandson, Jensen, and traveled to Sanpete County to see if we really would see some Bald Eagles again this year.

Last year we did see close to 30 eagles, so when February was getting close we were looking for the date that it would take place at the Fountain Green Fish Hatchery.

If fact, our grandson was looking forward to the day and even asked us a couple of times when we would be going.

This year the event happened during our week with the new Kia Telluride, which has become one of the most popular selling mid-sized SUV’s in the country right now. Some folks have to get on a waiting list to even purchase one.

We figured it would be a great opportunity to spend a day looking for eagles with our grandson and testing out how the SUV would perform for a family. We even went so far as to invite Craig’s mother, Pat, along for the ride in one of the two rear captain’s chairs.

The day dawned as crystal clear Saturday, Feb. 8, a far cry from the snow and rain that had been around for most of the week, with temperatures reaching into the 50s in Sanpete County. We could not have asked for a more perfect day for a drive, and opportunity to see these majestic birds.

During the short 45 minute ride south to Fountain Green, we were able to get nice and comfortable in the new Kia. Jensen and grandma Pat even found they could recline the rear seats to make the adventure even more enjoyable for them.

This new Kia is loaded with all kinds of technology and creature comforts that everyone enjoyed, including the heated and ventilated front and rear seats, Jensen didn’t know which he liked best, the heat or the cooling feature. Guess it depended on the time of day!

The added front and rear sunroofs made looking for Eagles so much easier and when we came upon some that were just soaring and looking for food, Jensen and grandma could easily see them from the rear seats.

We found about five of the majestic Bald Eagles floating around an area just southwest of Spring City with one perched in an old cottonwood tree just off the road as we headed back to Highway 89. It was awe inspiring to just sit in the Kia and watch them through the sunroof floating in the afternoon breeze.

The huge 10 inch touchscreen that served as our navigator for the adventure was outstanding and allowed Deanne to use Apple CarPlay with ease and display a huge map for Craig to navigate with.

Of course the new Kia has all kinds of extra safety features that were also of great use on the 180 mile adventure. Kia’s “Lane keep assist” is one of the best we have encountered especially at this price point.

The assist would hold the Telluride true and in the middle of the lane with ease, even when the lines seemed to disappear because of being covered with salt from recent snow storms.

The only time the assist seemed to struggle was on the tight canyon curves and then a little extra driver turning was needed to stay in the lane. The “radar cruise” function would bring the Kia to a complete stop and go again after the vehicle in front of us proceeded, awesome!

The Kia also features blind spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, front collision warning and braking along with parking sensors, rain sensing wipers and automatic high beam headlamps.

Jensen, at just over five years old, found it quite easy to get in and out of the Telluride with ease, in fact demanding that he could do it by himself. He was also able to fasten his seat belt and open and shut the rear door, which has been made wider to help with getting into the rear seat.

There is room in the rear for a couple of adults or three kids if needed, with extra space behind the third seat for stuff. We figured we could fit about six carry on pieces of luggage back there if needed.

The new SUV is equipped with a nice 3.8 liter V6 that is coupled to an 8-speed transmission and produces a strong 291 horsepower and 262 ft. lbs. of torque.

We found that it was more than capable of handling the altitude and twisty mountain roads of central Utah, even making the 80 mph dash to Nephi with ease.

The Telluride seems to drive smaller than it looks, we felt it was easier to park and get into tight spaces than we would have thought when first looking at the SUV.

That Saturday turned out to be the perfect mid-winter adventure into Sanpete County and we did get to see several Eagles while out and about in the new Telluride.

It became quickly evident to us why the Telluride is popular as a family SUV. We feel the Telluride is priced right and a great value for any growing family. Base price: $43,499; price as driven: $47,255.