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Kia Telluride Vs Hyundai Palisade: Which Is the Three-Row King?

Opinion / 22 Comments

The Koreans love some internal competition.

After having the chance to drive the 2020 Kia Telluride on a launch event in Colorado, we came away with some very positive opinions of Kia's biggest SUV. In fact, we'll be blunt - we think the Telluride is the best midsize three-row SUV on the market. Buyers seem to agree with us because dealerships are having a difficult time keeping the Telluride in stock.

But now Hyundai is ready with its own three-row SUV called the Palisade, which is actually built on the same platform as the Telluride and features the same drivetrain. We will be driving the Palisade next week but before we do, we wanted to break down how Hyundai's flagship SUV stacks up against its corporate sibling from Kia.

Powertrain

The two SUVs can't be substantially separated on paper based on their powertrains because they are practically identical. Both are only available with a 3.8-liter V6 producing 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque going out through an eight-speed automatic. Front-wheel-drive comes standard on both models, with all-wheel-drive also available as an option. Even though the Palisade shares a drivetrain with the Telluride, the Kia is marginally better in terms of fuel economy. The EPA rates the Telluride at 20/26/23 mpg city/highway/combined compared to the Palisade's 19/26/22 ratings.

Winner: Kia Telluride

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Styling

Hyundai and Kia may share underpinnings but their design teams create radically different vehicles. The Telluride looks bold and off-road ready while the Palisade takes a more luxurious and stately approach to styling. Both cars have different front fascias and even the side profiles look completely different. We're sure both SUVs will have their supporters but we'd give the styling edge to the Telluride because it gives us Range Rover vibes.

Winner: Kia Telluride

Interior Layout

On the interior, both cars look remarkably upscale and capable of luring buyers away from luxury brands. The Telluride's interior is filled with soft-touch materials and clever storage solutions and although we've only had limited seat time in the Palisade at the 2018 LA Auto Show, it also appears to have nice materials and plenty of clever places to store your kid's stuff. Kia's storage areas appear to be more accessible (ahead of the gear lever) while the Palisade obscures some of its storage under the center console but this difference seems minor. This category is too close to judge, so we'll leave it as a tie.

Winner: Tie

Pricing

Hyundai recently announced pricing for the 2020 Palisade and has scored a major victory in doing so. The Palisade starts at $31,550 for the base SE model. This is $140 less than the base LX, which starts at $31,690. Both SUVs top out at around $46,000 and both offer similar equipment, so we have to give the slight edge to the Palisade.

Winner: Hyundai Palisade.

Verdict

The Kia Telluride slightly edges out its corporate sibling from Hyundai. Of course, this is only a preliminary opinion and we could change our tune after driving the Palisade. We may be forced to chose a winner here but Hyundai and Kia have both created stellar SUVs and you can't go wrong with either of them. These may be the two best three-row SUVs on the market, which is high praise for the Korean duo. The upcoming 2020 Ford Explorer could pose the biggest threat but at least for now, the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride appear to be unmatched.

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