Hyundai-Kia has launched two mid-size, three-row crossover SUVs in 2019, the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. Both have been welcomed by critics and customers alike, but for many it can be hard to choose between two excellent vehicles. Here’s our quick head-to-head to help you evaluate the options.
For a deeper dive into each model, read our Palisade and Telluride full reviews at the end of this post.
Engine, drivetrain and chassis
The two SUVs are built on the same vehicle platform, which means that major components are shared by Palisade and Telluride alike. That includes the 291-HP, 3.8-litre V6 engine, 8-speed transmission and basic chassis systems such as brakes and suspension. Note however that components are always fine-tuned to suit the size, weight and market positioning of each vehicle. In Canada, only the Palisade offers a FWD option: all Tellurides north of the border are AWD.
Unlike Hyundai, Kia has another seven-seat, mid-size SUV on sale, the smaller Sorento. Hyundai discontinued the Santa Fe XL when it launched the Palisade. That could explain why in Canada the Tulluride’s range is narrower – and has a higher starting price – than the Palisade’s.
|2020 Palisade US Starting Price||$31,550|
|2020 Palisade Canada Starting Price||$38,499|
|2020 Telluride US Starting Price||$31,690|
|2020 Telluride Canada Starting Price||$44,995|
US and Canadian costs to consider
In Canada, the three-model Telluride lineup ranges only from C$44,995 to C$53,995. The Palisade tops out at the same point but starts lower, at C$38,499 for a FWD Essential. The Palisade’s so-called ‘trim walk’ is also wider, with four trim levels available, even without factoring in seven or eight-seat alternatives.
The situation is a little different in the US, where the Palisade and Telluride start at almost exactly the same price – US$31,550 for the Hyundai and US$31,690 for the Kia. The most expensive of the three Palisades, the Limited, is US$44,700 – emphasising its ‘luxury’ positioning with a US$3,000 premium over the range-topping Telluride SX. The Kia looks like great value next to the older Sorento: the US$41,490 SX is only US$1,500 more than the Sorento equivalent.
Despite the shared base, the designers have given the two vehicles very different looks, both of them distinctive. The Palisade is a little busier, with hints of recent large Ford and GM designs, while the Telluride has a simpler, more rugged look reminiscent of Volvo SUVs, especially around the C-pillar. Both have signature running lights – ‘crocodile eyes’ for the Palisade, orange trapezoids for the Telluride.
Interior and equipment
Those differing design themes continue inside, where the Telluride has a simpler, more utilitarian look than the Palisade’s more opulent approach, which takes cues from luxury yachts. Neither is low-rent, however: both have excellent materials and build quality, so it’s down to buyers to see which they prefer.
The vast majority of equipment options are common to both cars, including the handy blind view monitor technology. Perhaps with that eye on a more luxurious positioning, the range-topping Palisade Ultimate can be had with a full-digital instrument cluster, suede headlining and an electrically folding third row – all features unavailable on the Telluride.
Both cars are available in seven and eight-seat configurations and the interior dimensions broadly identical, as you’d expect. Key differences are that the Palisade has more leg room in the front while the Telluride has more cargo capacity behind the third row of seats.
On the road
Not much difference here, which is good news for both parties. As you might expect with so much mechanical similarity, the Palisade and Telluride drive in a similar way. Both are smooth and refined, with good ride quality for an SUV of this size and have excellent safety ratings. Whether you identify as a sportier driver or someone who’s happy just to cruise, we doubt you’d be disappointed with either vehicle.
There’s no clear winner and loser when choosing between the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. Your choice really comes down to personal preference so take time to investigate both SUVs – inside and out, in the showroom and on the road – to decide which is right for you.
Our full reviews of each model: