2020 Hyundai Palisade vs. 2020 Kia Telluride: Compare SUVs

October 16, 2019
2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

Two of the most anticipated SUVs this year have more in common than being named after ritzy 1-percenter outposts in Colorado and California. 

The 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Hyundai Palisade three-row SUVs are mechanically related in many ways, share similar interior features, powertrains, seating for up to eight, and offer good value. There are subtle differences in the Palisade’s and Telluride’s suspensions, but hardly enough for most people to notice. 

It’s no surprise then that we rate both SUVs as a 7.0 on our overall scale, either. They’re nearly identical in just about every way—except for one important difference. 

MORE: Read our full reviews of the 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Style and performance

The difference is in style. We’ll just come out and say it. The Kia Telluride is sold only in America (for now) and looks the part of a butch SUV, following closer to the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban compared to other, more slippery competitors. The wide grille and narrow headlights make the Telluride look even wider than it is, and the rear badge and branding pushed low are a boon to outward vision. 

The Palisade looks more uptown than the Telluride—not a bad thing. The chrome kickup near the rear windows does double-duty: It’s elegant and unique, but also makes the roof pillars look fatter and sturdier for families concerned with safety. The Palisade is sold in other places beyond America and it’s styled for a broader audience.

Same story, second verse on the inside of the Palisade and Telluride. The Kia’s a little more rough-and-tumble, the Palisade could be easily mistaken for a luxury car that costs twice as much. 

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Under the hoods, both are powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 that makes 291 horsepower and is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both the Telluride and Palisade are equipped with front-wheel drive as standard equipment, although all-wheel drive is a popular option. 

Both SUVs can lock their all-wheel-drive systems at speeds slower than 40 mph, but off-roading isn’t the purview of either. Their all-wheel-drive systems can shuttle up to 50 percent of available power to their rear wheels when needed, but both prefer front-wheel drive for better fuel economy. 

The EPA rates both mostly identically: 21 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. (The EPA rates the front-drive Kia at 23 mpg combined, and the front-drive Palisade at 22 mpg combined.)

The Kia and Hyundai are a little different in their wheels and dampers, the Hyundai’s ride is just barely cushier. We’re not convinced many drivers will notice a difference in similarly equipped SUVs. 

Both Telluride and Palisade steer confidently and travel across the road quietly. If there are any differences in ride and handling for both SUVs, our backsides were fooled. We’d be comfortable in long hauls in both. 

When properly equipped, both crossovers can tow up to 5,000 pounds. 

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Comfort, safety, and features

With seating for up to eight, the Palisade and Telluride hit families where it counts: right in the feels. They’re comfortable crossovers SUVs (mid-size by some definitions, but we know better than to call them average) with plenty of room in the second row for adults. Both the Telluride and Palisade can be equipped with second-row captain’s chairs for even more comfort, and the second row slides fore and aft for up to 40 inches of second-row leg room. 

Among the two, the Palisade starts a whisper campaign as the more luxurious SUV with quilted leather, and just the right shade of soft hides to punch one comfort class higher.

The Telluride is just as comfortable and adults will fit into the third row of either, although they may be more comfortable in the first or second rows. 

The Telluride holds just a little more gear than the Palisade with all three rows in place: 21 cubic feet vs. 18 cubic feet. With the seats folded, the gap narrows to about 46 cubes in both. 

Official crash data isn’t yet complete for the Palisade and Telluride, although both SUVs get top marks from the IIHS. The IIHS called the Palisade a Top Safety Pick+ in SEL trim with an optional package that upgrades the headlights. The Telluride is a Top Safety Pick because it’s not yet available with those headlights, although we anticipate that will change soon. 

Both SUVs are well-equipped at any trim level, although top trims rival luxury competitors that can cost twice as much. 

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

The base Telluride LX costs about $32,700 and includes three rows of seats including a middle-row bench seat, synthetic leather upholstery, active safety tech, power features, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, five USB ports, Bluetooth, and keyless ignition. All-wheel drive costs $2,000 on all trims.

The base Palisade SE costs $32,500 with front-wheel drive and includes 18-inch wheels, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, seats for eight, cloth upholstery, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment. Adding all-wheel drive adds $1,700 to the bottom line of any Palisade.

In top spec—Palisade SEL and Telluride SX—the SUVs cost about $45,000 and include niceties such as Harman Kardon audio, heated and cooled first- and second-row seats, seven USB ports for all three rows, nappa leather, an automatic speed limiter for highways, a surround-view camera system, and a head-up display. The Palisade offers small creature comforts that the Telluride doesn’t: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, power-folding third row, and a standard heated steering wheel in top trims.

Both SUVs have superlative warranties: 5 years/60,000 miles, which is best in the business. 

So who wins? We’re split. Each of our editors can come up with reasons to pick either SUV, and none of them would complain if saddled with the Palisade or Telluride for the long haul. 

It’s a tie in our ratings, too. No help there. 

Maybe we’ll just agree to agree: the 2020 Hyundai Palisade and 2020 Kia Telluride are both winners. 

Summary

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is a value-packed three-row crossover coming to a garage near you.
7.0
Expert Rating
There’s substance to the 2020 Kia Telluride’s style.

Styling

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Palisade is the queen among Hyundai’s chess set of crossovers and SUVs.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Kia Telluride has a boxy, modern look.
Read More

Performance

6.0
Expert Rating
Soft enough to be a bona fide sleep machine, the 2020 Palisade is just right for a family vehicle.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The supple 2020 Kia Telluride takes bumps better than many competitors.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

9.0
Expert Rating
Kids today have it easy; the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is a wildly comfortable family hauler.
Read More
9.0
Expert Rating
The spacious 2020 Kia Telluride has room for everyone and their gear.
Read More

Safety

The Palisade lacks official crash-test data.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Kia Telluride is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Read More

Features

9.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Palisade gets right to the good stuff with plenty of screen real-estate and charge ports.
Read More
9.0
Expert Rating
Even with every option selected, the 2020 Kia Telluride is a good value.
Read More

Fuel Economy

4.0
Expert Rating
The Hyundai Palisade earns combined fuel-economy ratings in the low 20s.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Kia Telluride could use a hybrid option.
Read More

MSRP

from N/A
from $31,690

Invoice

from N/A
from $30,581

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

23

Engine

Regular Unleaded V-6, 3.8 L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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