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2020 Kia Telluride vs Honda Pilot

2020 Kia Telluride vs Honda Pilot

2020 Telluride vs Pilot - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Available in four trims, the 2020 Kia Telluride deserves a warm reception for its debut in the United States of America. Featuring a six-model lineup, the 2020 Honda Pilot runs on a third-generation platform with a rich heritage. Both midsize SUVs offer seven or eight seats with heating and other ergonomic features. These three-row vehicles also offer dynamic driving aides and accident-mitigation technologies for urban and suburban families.


The Powertrain

The 2020 Telluride harnesses up to 291 net horsepower from a 3.8 L engine block that carries the signature Lambda label. This patented V6 powertrain dishes out 252 pound-feet of peak torque at 5,200 RPM. Gasoline direct injection (GDI) works in tandem with the Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing in the combustion chambers. The standard six-cylinder powertrain has an SAE towing rating of 5,000 pounds.

Displacing 3.5 L on each full stroke, the 2020 Pilot's V6 engine whips out 280 hp at 6,000 RPM. At tachometer readings of at least 4,700 RPM, this six-cylinder engine pumps out 262 lb-ft of torque. Having the traditional SOHC configuration, all 24 valves are managed by the i-VTEC technology. Direct injection optimizes combustion cycles under the hood of this Honda SUV, which tows up to 5,000 pounds.

An electronically controlled transmission system allows the driver to cycle through eight gear speeds in the Telluride. This automatic gearbox is precisely controlled by the Sportmatic Sport Shifter, which is tuned for quick acceleration and other sporty maneuvers on the highway. A six-speed auto transmission drives the Pilot base trim and two other editions. The high-level models are driven by a nine-speed gearbox with automatic controls, paddle shifters and a shift-by-wire functionality.

Both SUVs are equipped with a front-wheel drive (FWD) system that's designed for normal driving conditions. Powered by the Active On-Demand technology, an all-wheel drive system is optional for the versatile Telluride. Engineered to overcome treacherous conditions, the Snow Mode and Lock Mode are integrated into the trademark AWD. Similarly, the Intelligent Variable Torque Management AWD helps the Pilot overcome challenges on or off the road.

By continuously monitoring the Telluride's yaw rate, the Torque Vectoring Cornering Control optimizes the steering system. This cutting-edge technology helps the vehicle navigate curved roads at high speeds. A motor-driven power steering system also provides good leverage for controlling this Kia SUV on sharp turns. When measured from curb to curb, the car's turning radius is 19.4 feet.

With a boost from the Pilot's Intelligent Traction Management, a driver can confidently explore unpaved surfaces. Driving on the beach shouldn't be a problem thanks to the Sand Mode. With assistance from the Mud Mode, this robust Honda SUV won't get stuck on wet soil. Additionally, the Snow Mode enhances traction on a slippery road during the winter season. The real-time ITM modes appear on the digital instrument panel. The Normal Mode is the default setting for this traction-boosting technology.

For its powerful design, the 2020 Pilot has several impressive features that optimize efficiency. The Variable Cylinder Management partially disengages some of the cylinders in the V6 powertrain. The Eco Assist is another technology that contributes to excellent gas mileage. As the most efficient model on the lineup, the Touring edition boasts an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 27 MPG on the highway. This mid-level trim gets up to 20 MPG in the city.

When equipped with a FWD system and six-speed automatic transmission, the Pilot is rated at 26 MPG on the highway and 19 MPG in the city. The i-VTM4 AWD and nine-speed automatic transmission system slightly reduce the vehicle's fuel economy. This Honda car comes standard with a fuel tank that holds up to 19.5 gallons. Families can enjoy an approximate driving range of 530 miles after each stop at the pump.

The 2020 Telluride offers a maximum fuel economy of 26 MPG on the highway and 20 MPG on urban roads. When rolling on an AWD, this Kia SUV is rated at 24 MPG on the highway and 19 MPG in the city. Equipped with an 18.8-gallon fuel tank, this model allows families to enjoy a driving range of about 490 miles. The Eco Mode and Smart Mode should be turned on to achieve the best possible gas mileage. However, the Sport Mode will significantly reduce the fuel economy on the highway.

This 2020 Kia SUV is fitted with 13.4-inch front disc brakes that have multiple vents. Measuring 12.0-inch in diameter, the rear brakes have solid discs without any ventilation. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is synchronized with all brakes on this three-row vehicle. The Electronic Parking Brake with the Auto-Hold function comes in handy for dealing with steep roads. This braking technology also extends the life of the rotors and calipers in stop-and-go traffic.

Also fitted with a standard ABS, the 2020 Pilot has other features that minimize the stopping distance. For example, the Brake Assist creates emergency braking power when there's a need to quickly stop on a paved surface. This Honda SUV uses an electronic brake distribution (EBD) for smooth deceleration.

When it comes to reliability, the 2020 Telluride boasts a 100,000-mile/10-year powertrain warranty. The limits on the vehicle's anti-perforation warranty are five years and 100,000 miles. Additionally, this midsize Kia SUV offers a complimentary roadside assistance plan for the first five years of ownership or 60,000 miles.

The 2020 Pilot comes standard with the Honda Limited Warranty, which covers major repairs to the powertrain for up to five years or 60,000 miles. An anti-corrosion warranty is valid for five years, and there aren't any mileage limits. Additionally, Pilot drivers may take advantage of the Honda Care services and roadside assistance for the first three years or 36,000 miles.


The 2020 Telluride's curb weight ranges from 4,112 to 4,482 pounds. A FWD system with an eight-passenger seating configuration comes with the smallest curb weight. An AWD with a seven-passenger seating makes this Kia much more bulky. Clearing the ground by 8.0 inches, this midsize SUV is versatile enough for some off-road courses. A 17-degree approach angle is another specification that's suitable for off-roading.

When rolling on a 2WD system, the 2020 Pilot has a curb weight of slightly more than 4,000 pounds. This driveline configuration creates a weight distribution of approximately 58/42 for good stability on relatively flat roads. Equipped with an AWD, the heaviest model registers just more than 4,300 pounds on the scale. Having a ground clearance of 7.3 inches, this Honda has a slightly better aerodynamic stance than the Kia competitor.

When measured according to SAE standards, the Telluride's maximum cargo capacity is estimated at 87 cubic feet. This specification is measured directly behind the front-row seats. Up to 46 cubic feet of cargo volume is available behind the folded second-row seats. Otherwise, this midsize Kia SUV has a standard cargo capacity of 21 cubic feet behind the third-row seats in an upright position. All trims have a maximum passenger volume of 178.1 cubic feet.

In stark contrast, the 2020 Pilot offers a maximum passenger volume of 153.1 cubic feet. Consumers should note that such a configuration is only available in some of the most expensive trims. This Honda SUV has a standard cargo capacity of 18.5 cubic feet behind the third-row seats in normal positions. When the third-row seats are properly folded, families can store up to 55.9 cubic feet of cargo. The maximum cargo capacity is 109.2 cubic feet as measured behind the first-row seats.

In terms of the Telluride's ride comfort, the Self-Leveling Rear Suspension is a major highlight. This exclusive suspension system prevents the chassis from tilting when the second and third rows are fully occupied by passengers. The adaptive suspension system automatically levels itself when the cargo area is stacked with heavy items. Additionally, the Self-Leveling Rear Suspension plays a key role in optimizing the vehicle's towing capacity.

Of course, this 2020 Kia SUV has an array of interior amenities that have been designed with optimum comfort in mind. The most expensive trim comes with a 12-way driver's seat that's covered in genuine leather. A power-adjustable cushion extension provides extra support for the thighs. A two-way lumbar support further enhances the ergonomics inside this Kia model.

Most of the 2020 Pilot trims are equipped with a 10-way driver's seat, which is compatible with a memory function that stores two different positions. A power lumbar is also integrated into the power-adjustable driver's seat in this Honda SUV. Trimmed in real leather upholstery, the car's front seats have heating and ventilation. Even the captain's chairs in the second row come with a heating function.

Besides the base edition, all Pilot models boast a tri-zone climate control system. This advanced HVAC system automatically controls the humidity levels inside the cabin. An air filtration system is also integrated into the three-zone HVAC system. Heating ducts directly deliver warm air for the rear passengers in this spacious Honda SUV.
The Telluride only offers a dual-zone climate control system, which comes with the Auto De-Fog System.

Thanks to the Quiet Mode, the Kia model offers a relaxing ride for families. This advanced function shuts off the speakers in the second and third rows. Otherwise, the 10-speaker Harman Kardon system produces crystal-clear output for the enjoyment of all occupants. An 8-inch subwoofer and the Clari-Fi technology fine-tune the acoustics from the signature audio system inside this three-row SUV.

The Pilot comes standard with the Speed-Sensitive Volume Compensation, which maximizes output from the audio system in some driving conditions. The SVC is compatible with a seven-speaker sound system or 10-speaker sound system. High-level trims also boast the Multi-Zone Audio technology that enhances acoustics in certain parts of the cabin. Additionally, this Honda SUV offers the Cabin Talk In-Car PA System. When driving through noisy highways, families will appreciate this segment-leading communication amenity.

The Pilot has several other features that mitigate distractions behind the steering wheel, such as the HandsFreeLink by Bluetooth. A mobile phone can also be connected to the patented HondaLink portal. Similarly, the Telluride offers mobile integration through the UVO eServices. Both midsize SUVs support smartphone connections via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A head-up display with LED projections is optional in this Kia model. The all-new HUD keeps the driver informed on key information in real time. This three-row vehicle also offers the Supervision Meter Cluster that comes with a 7.0-inch LCD interface. Various diagnostic alerts and safety warnings appear on this crisp display that's centrally positioned in the instrument panel.

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The Auto Emergency Braking is one of the most important driving aides in the 2020 Telluride. Some other functions that can prevent high-speed crashes include the Smart Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist. This midsize Kia SUV also offers the Lane Following Assist, which prevents the driver from swerving into a neighboring lane.

Some standard accident-mitigation technologies in the 2020 Pilot include the Collision Mitigation Braking and Road Departure Mitigation. When taking a commute in this Honda SUV, the driver can adjust the Adaptive Cruise Control for a predictable trip. Additionally, this three-row vehicle has features that issue warnings about potential forward collisions and risky lane changes.

Available with the Safe Exit Assist, the 2020 Telluride is surely optimized for urban travel. Scanning the perimeter for any obstacles, the Parking Distance Warning is another segment-leading driving aide that's optional for this midsize SUV. This three-row model also offers the Driver Attention Warning to boost the driver's focus on the road.

Which Has the Best Value

The 2020 Kia Telluride LX has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of just under $32,000. Priced at slightly less than $42,000, the SX is the most expensive model on the roster. The 2020 Honda Pilot LX base trim starts at just above $31,500. Having an MSRP of about $50,000, the Black Edition carries the highest price tag on the lineup.

In the digital technology category, the Telluride offers much better value than the Honda rival. This Kia SUV boasts a 10.25-inch touch screen, which is an undisputed winner over the Pilot's 8.0-inch monitor. The Telluride's Harman Kardon sound system also delivers better entertainment than the Pilot's generic sound system.

Equipped with signature AWD systems, both midsize SUVs offer comparable value in off-road capabilities. Consumers can get the Snow Mode and Lock Mode in the Telluride base trim. Similarly, shoppers will get the Intelligent Traction Management in the low-level Pilot models. Both models have a 5,000-pound towing capacity, so they're equally suitable for camping trips.

When it comes to active safety, the Kia Drive Wise technology is superior to the Honda Sensing suite. The Telluride has several parking assistants and visual aides that aren't available in the Pilot. Both models have automatic braking for forward collisions, but the Kia has the upper hand because of the Pedestrian Detection.

Which is Better?

Having a significantly lower price tag than the 2020 Honda Pilot, the 2020 Kia Telluride is an excellent choice for families with budget restrictions. Equipped with the Drive Wise technology, the Telluride also offers more driving aides than the Honda rival. Available with an LED head-up display and 10.25-inch navigation system, the Kia model appeals to consumers who want sophisticated electronic technologies inside the cabin.

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