Our seat time in the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride has established that both new-for-2020 SUVs excel in many of the same ways. This makes sense considering the shared components between the two vehicles (Hyundai and Kia are affiliated brands), including a V-6 powertrain and the same wheelbase.
It also makes sense that they’re rather equal on price: the Telluride starts at $32,785 (all prices include the destination charge), while the Palisade starts at $32,645. This makes picking between the two SUVs a tough proposition, something equivalent cost and performance will do. Thankfully, if you go trim by trim across the two vehicles, a few differences emerge at various prices. During the Palisade media preview, Hyundai engineers told us that everything you see or touch in the two vehicles is different, as they don’t share exterior body panels or interior design.
Note, too, that the Telluride comes in four trim levels (LX, S, EX and SX) while the Palisade has three (SE, SEL and Limited). The bottom two trims on either side match up well on price, but the Telluride’s EX trim matches up best against a Palisade SEL with some options packages. Conversely, the Palisade’s Limited trim is more comparable to a Telluride SX with some option packages. Those who want all-wheel drive should bear in mind that it costs $2,000 in the Telluride but $1,700 in the Palisade; the systems are the same.
Our rundown won’t be totally comprehensive, as that would get too far into the weeds. We’ll stick to the equipment and features that we think could sway you in one direction or another — beyond your subjective assessment of styling, of course.
Starting at the bottom:
Telluride LX ($32,785) Vs. Palisade SE ($32,645)
Base trim levels for each vehicle are similarly equipped. Both come with second-row bench seats, 8-inch multimedia screens with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 18-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning and five USB ports in the cabin’s first two rows.
Both also come with a robust set of standard safety features: adaptive cruise control down to a stop, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-centering steering, rear parking sensors and a trailer stability system.
A few noticeable differences exist, and they favor the Telluride. The Kia comes with imitation leather seating surfaces instead of the Palisade’s cloth upholstery, plus standard keyless access with push-button start. But the bigger gap is on safety features, where the Telluride has a safe-exit system and blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert as standard, all of which aren’t in the Palisade until you move up to the SEL. This gives the Telluride a leg up at the bottom end.
Telluride S ($35,085) Vs. Palisade SEL ($34,595)
The Telluride S and Palisade SEL are another pair of trims closely matched in price and features. Both move from a second-row bench to standard captain’s chairs (though they allow you to return to the bench if you want more seats). They keep the standard-size touchscreens from the base models and add heated front seats, a power driver’s seat and roof rails.
The Palisade catches up here on other features, adding push-button start and a few other features to bring it nearly square with the Telluride. That’s almost, because the Telluride S gets a standard single-pane moonroof, which runs another $900 on the Palisade. The Palisade, meanwhile, swaps manual climate dials for tri-zone automatic control; the Telluride stays manual until you move up to the EX. If you lean toward either vehicle at this point, just roll with it: The value proposition is essentially equal.
Telluride EX ($38,185) Vs. Palisade SEL With Options ($41,345)
Move up to the EX, and a big jump in equipment transforms the Telluride into a premium product. The higher trim adds leather seats, a larger touchscreen (10.25 inches), two third-row USB charging ports, a wireless charger, a hands-free power liftgate and ventilated front seats.
For the Palisade to even the disparity, you’d need to add four options packages: Drive Guidance ($1,250), a Convenience Package ($2,200), a Premium Package ($2,400) and of course a moonroof ($900). That bumps up the price of the Palisade to over $3,000 more than the Telluride to add those previously mentioned features. However, those packages add some features you don’t get in the Telluride EX: front parking sensors, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third row, heated steering wheel, 7-inch virtual gauge display, self-leveling rear suspension and a 115-volt household outlet. Some of those can be had in the Telluride’s top trim level, the SX, which is only about $1,000 more at this point. Still, the suspension, heated second-row seats and household outlet remain optional on the SX.
If you wanted to bump off the Premium Package to make most of the difference back, you’d lose the leather seats, heated second-row and power-folding third row.
Telluride SX With Options ($47,380) Vs. Palisade Limited ($45,795)
The Palisade strikes back at the top end with a couple features the Telluride doesn’t offer: a power-folding third row and a 12.3-inch digital display in the instrument cluster.
The Palisade also adds the features mentioned in the previous section, along with Nappa leather, a 360-degree camera system, ventilated second-row seats and dual sunroofs. To match these features in the Telluride SX, which starts at , it means adding the Towing Package ($795) and the SX Prestige Package. The latter runs $2,000 but requires AWD, which is another $2,000.
Adding AWD to the Palisade Limited bumps it up to , or about $100 more than the Telluride SX with options. But given that the Palisade offers that unique screen and powered third row, that seems a bargain. We found the Palisade’s unique virtual instrument panel a highlight, as it’s easy to customize and well-suited for displaying important information. Advantage Palisade.
More From Cars.com:
- Compare the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride
- 2020 Hyundai Palisade Video: A Clean, Modern, Comfortable Ride
- 2020 Hyundai Palisade: Priced to Take on Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander
- 2020 Kia Telluride Priced to Compete
- 2020 Kia Telluride Review: The New Big SUV Benchmark
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