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Comparison: 2020 Hyundai Palisade vs 2020 Kia Telluride

Auto123 compares the 2020 Hyundai Palisade and the 2020 Kia Telluride

Hyundai and Kia have reinstated full-size SUV in their line-up. At Hyundai the last to carry this title was the Veracruz, on our roads from 2006 to 2012. At Kia the passage of Borrego was even shorter. It was only in 2008 and 2009 that he appeared on North American soil and facing poor sales, it disappeared. It continued his career under the name of Mohave in South Korea. In 2011, the Sorento arrived in a more reasonable format.

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2020 Hyundai Palisade

Photo: D.Rufiange

There’s a slightly more daring design adorning the Palisade due to the front end with its oversize grille and more-distinctive headlights that help give it a more avant-garde look than the Kia Telluride. Higher-end trim also benefit from an LED visual signature with touches of chrome.

No matter which version you're interested in, all versions get the same 3.8-liter V6 engine with the eight-speed automatic transmission. You have 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This engine has no sporty pretension even by selecting sport mode in the five modes available.

The transmission is calibrated for smooth gear changes in order to deliver better fuel economy. Only the base model offers two-wheel drive, all other models being equipped automatically with AWD. The most interesting drive mode is the Smart mode that adapts to your driving and will send you all the juice you need when overtaking another vehicle or making a quick entry on a highway ramp.

Our review of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade

Specifications of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade

Photo: D.Rufiange

Excellent bang for the buck
The basic Essential model features 18-inch wheels, automatic on/off headlights with high beam, power heated side mirrors, seating for eight, heated front seats, 6-way manual driver's seat, infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, climate control with second-row controls and heated steering wheel that’s also leather-wrapped, tilt and telescopic and accesses an adaptive cruise control system.

Standard safety equipment includes tire pressure monitoring, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and auto braking, lane-keeping and tracking assistance, driver warning and rear parking sensors.

The mid-range Preferred version includes 20-inch wheels, docking lights with door handle, auto-leveling rear suspension, blind spot monitoring, eight-way power front seats, heated rear seats, dual zone automatic air conditioner, 7.0 -inch gauge, sunroof, keyless entry system, auto-dimming rear view mirror and rear cross traffic alert.

Photo: D.Rufiange

The Luxury version features LED headlights, leather seats, ventilated front seats with driver's seat extension, power folding third row seats, 10.25-inch touch screen with navigation, 12-speaker audio system, 360-degree outdoor camera, hands-free power liftgate, LED interior lighting, blind spot monitor, front parking sensors and highway driving assistance.

The Ultimate version comes with LED taillights, side-lighted mirrors, windshield wipers with rain sensor, seating for seven passengers, Nappa leather trim, four-way lumbar support for driver, ventilated second row seats, head-up display, wireless charger, suede lining, digital gauge, double-panel sunroof and 115-volt power outlet.

The only option of the Palisade is a seating configuration for seven passengers in the Luxury version.

Photo: D.Rufiange

Comfortable driving
The Palisade fulfills its mission of delivering a luxurious drive with a quality finish and a comfortable and quiet ride. The V6 does its job without complaining. Despite its size, the Palisade is very easy to drive and doesn’t fear winding roads.

You also have several drive modes: Comfort, Eco and Sport in addition to Sand, Mud and Snow modes - the latter locks the rear differential, starts the Palisade in second gear, shifts gear changes to reduce traction losses and sends 50% to 80% of the engine power to the front wheels.

The starting base price for a 2WD model is $38,500, for the ptional 4WD you add $2,000 more. Our Ultimate test model is listed at $54,000 with virtually all the equipment you can dream up or almost, and with as much luxury as a German SUV.

2020 Kia Telluride

Photo: V.Aubé

We could make things real simple and tell you that whatever applies to the Hyundai Palisade, ditto for the Telluride. Because in fact, save for a few details, they are twins. The platform, the engine and the transmission are the same, most notably. Physically, Kia’s offering does come with a more robust, adventurous appearance, and its lines a little less fluid than the Palisade’s. It's not better or worse, just different.

The close cousins also look different on the inside, with dotted patterns, button styles, and different materials, though they feature the same 10.25-inch touchscreen. Choose the style that's right for you, just remember it’s no more than a superficial difference - despite Kia's desire to create a more adventurous off-roader, both have the exact same approach and driving patterns if you do venture off the paved road.

Always well-equipped
Telluride models include the EX, SX and SX Limited. All use a 3.8L V6 engine producing 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque with the same 8-speed transmission as the Hyundai.

Our review of the 2020 Kia Telluride

Specifications of the 2020 Kia Telluride

Photo: Kia

The base EX version includes 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with automatic beam, sunroof, heated side-view mirrors, eight-passenger seats, driver-assisted heated front seats and two-way lumbar support, heated steering wheel, leather-trimmed wheel and gearshift, wood trim and 3-zone automatic climate control.

The 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen gives you access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus there’s wireless charging, brake electric parking, passive keyless entry and hands-free tailgate, interior LED lighting, blind spot monitoring, lane departure assistance, front collision avoidance assistance, rear parking sensors and cross-traffic assist back.

The SX version includes 20-inch wheels, two-panel sunroof, grille and satin chrome window trim, leather seats, driver's seat cushion extension, power front passenger seat, manually-operated rear sunshades, harmon/kardon audio system, instrument group display, blind vision monitor and Kia’s front parking sensors.

Photo: V.Aubé

Finally, SX Limited offers a self-leveling rear suspension, LED taillights, windshield wipers, seven-passenger seating, Nappa leather upholstery, second-row heated seats, ventilated front seats, upholstery luxury pavilion and head-up display.

Telluride is the largest vehicle offered by the Korean company. Sharing its basic elements with the all-new Hyundai Palisade, the Telluride gives Kia a presence in the high-end full-size SUV segment. The previous attempt, the Borrego, suffered from horrid timing, arriving in the midst of the economic crisis, but the Telluride enters stage left at a much better moment; it also doesn’t offer a V8 engine like the Borrego did.

Kia and Hyundai are naturally in competition with each other, but more broadly they are both taking aim at the likes of the Ford Explorer, the Honda Pilot, the Toyota Highlander and the Chevrolet Traverse. The best-equipped trims of both models are worthy rivals of the GMC Yukon, Acura MDX and Lexus LX 570, but for a fraction of the price.

Advantage Hyundai Palisade

What differences there are are really in the details. The Palisade offers, in its luxury versions, third-row seats that fold down with an electric button while this is not available at Kia. The base price is also more affordable in the Palisade.

Advantage Kia Telluride

Kia offers a cleaner style in its aesthetic approach. Hyundai with its crocodile headlights in the front and its oversized grille is more daring, which is a more risky approach. It’s also marginally bigger than the Palisade.


There are a lot – in fact everything else is the same, more or less. The interior space, the drive itself, fuel economy, mechanics, warranties and so on.


It comes down to what your tastes are in terms of styling, because otherwise you have two very similar vehicles at similar prices. One thing is certain: both Hyundai and Kia have shook up the segment and the competition by offering a lot of SUV for the price. In both cases, you get a fully equipped vehicle for just over $50,000, or thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars less than what the competition is offering, without sacrificing quality, equipment and driving. So let’s avoid that family feud and call it a tie.

2020 Hyundai Palisade

We like

Spacious and silent
Well equipped
Smooth and comfortable ride

We like less

Some hard plastics
A different style approach

2020 Kia Telluride

We like

More traditional style
Good handling for a full size SUV
Comfortable and innovative interior

We like less

Higher base price
Quality of certain materials in the passenger compartment


... 2020 Hyundai Palisade 2020 Kia Telluride
 Transmission8-sp auto8-sp auto  
 DrivetrainFWD or AWDFWD or AWD
  AWD  AWD   
 Fuel consumption (city)12.5L/100 km12.5L/100 km
 Fuel consumption (highway)9.6L/100 km9.6L/100 km
 Fuel tank71 L71 L
 Output291 hp291 hp
 Torque262 lb-ft262 lb-ft
 Cylinders6 cylinders6 cylinders
 Displacement3.8 L3.8 Ll
 Cargo Space509 l, 1296 l601 l, 1304 l, 2455 l
 Towing capacity2268 kg2268 kg
 Length4980 mm5000 mm
 Width1976 mm1990 mm
 Height1750 mm1759 mm
 Wheelbase2900 mm2900 mm
 Warranty4 yrs/80,000 km4 yrs/80,000 km
 Prices$38,499 to $53,999$44,995 to $53,995