It makes sense never to judge a car by its brochure. What happens, though, if the two in question have the same powertrain and platform? If so, are they still basically the same even though they represent different brands? Actually, not quite.
Despite their undeniable similarities, these two mid-size crossovers differ in some significant ways. But the issue of which is superior still exists.
Powertrain and Driving Dynamics
Palisade: The 3.8-liter V6 beneath the hood produces 291 horsepower and a max torque of 262 horsepower. It’s not the most sophisticated engine. In fact, especially at idle and high revs, it feels a little too industrial. The most comfortable range is in the middle, where there is enough torque to completely avoid the top-end. Trips are swift and simple, and the Palisade feels light on its feet despite weighing over 4,100 pounds. Although it isn’t fast, you wouldn’t anticipate a crossover as big as this.
The automatic eight-speed transmission is perfectly tuned. The car shifts with hardly any sensation. You quickly kick down with a tap of your right foot, barely noticing it shift through the gears. However, the push-button transmission detracts from the driving experience as a whole. Every time you need to go from drive to reverse, you shouldn’t have to glance down.
Telluride: The driving dynamics and powertrain-chassis combination are both identical to those of the Palisade. But for some reason, it seems a little livelier than its half-brother. The last row is a little bit noisier as well. Aside from that, however, you are in control of a mid-sizer that can essentially handle anything the road can throw at it. Additionally, the Telluride and Palisade both return the same mileage. Both vehicles have a city fuel economy of 19 mpg (12.6 L/100 km), a highway fuel economy of 24 mpg (9.7 L/100 km), and an overall fuel economy of 21 mpg (11.3 L/100 km).
While the driving and riding characteristics of both are nearly comparable, the Palisade comes out on top due to a cabin that is insulated better.
Palisade: Style is one of the main distinctions between these crossovers. Let’s start with the Palisade, which from a profile view, resembles a smaller version of the standard American three-box SUV. Imagine an Escalade that was created in South Korea. It has a little more European appearance and is the best face on a Hyundai so far. The dazzling white DRLs, which mimic a waterfall, operate without a hitch. The DRLs are not disrupted by the bodywork either.
The DRLs give the Palisade’s enormous grille, powerful hood, and classic three-box design a sophisticated and urban appearance. The 20-inch alloy wheels definitely improve the look. There are quite a few limitations to the elegance overall. To start, the chrome feels a little overdone. Second, the panels at the C-pillar are misaligned, which detracts from the design’s overall quality.
Telluride: Given that both of these three-row trucklets have the same DNA, you may anticipate that their body panels and exterior components would be similar. But you’d be mistaken. The Telluride is entirely distinct from the Palisade, unlike GM, where models often simply differ in their faces and features. Even the three-box design’s flow is different, making it its own crossover. The Telluride adopts a more unified design similar to the BMW X7, as opposed to the Palisade’s clear partition for the third box.
Additionally, the Telluride has the more rugged appearance of the two. And on the Telluride, the blingy items that are on the Palisade are black. The vertically stacked tail lamps and the headlamps both feature a smoky tint. The badge and the writing on the hood are both black. The Nightfall package seems to focus on stealth, and when you combine the aforementioned components with black alloy wheels and Dark Moss exterior paint, you create a crossover that is impossible to overlook. The orange DRLs Kia looks amazing and is probably one of the coolest ones today.
Despite being a matter of opinion, the Telluride is our favorite. Although the orange DRLs are the obvious winners, I am not sure which is more attractive because of the Palisade’s overall design. Tie in this case.
Cargo Space and Interior
Palisade: Despite having the appearance of big SUVs, neither vehicle is genuinely as big as it appears from the exterior. I use how much of an SUV protrudes from the driveway as a measurement of its size. The fact that both vehicles fit in the driveway with sufficient room surprised me. Congratulations to the design team for taking into account the large cabins. It is not your typical Palisade.
Opening the door reveals an amazing scene. The interior is elegantly designed. Brushed aluminum finishes, wood on the shoulder, plus quilted leather are all featured on the door panels. The instrument cluster and 10.25-inch infotainment system integrate seamlessly. On top of that, the only controls on the clean leather dash are redundant ones for the touchscreen. The console is somewhat higher and houses the tri-zone climate control and drive mode selection, among other things.
Although there is a lot of leather used on the seats as well, the felt headliner has to be the focal point. It adds richness to the cabin reserved for vehicles that are twice as expensive and at least two segments higher. This is the inexpensive luxury you’re looking for!
No lack of space exists either. In the front and the second row of the Palisade, headroom is 40.7 inches (1,034 mm) and 40.1 inches (1,018 mm), respectively. The moonroof reduces headroom by roughly an inch (25 mm), but unless you are taller than six and a half feet, you won’t notice.
However, the Palisade’s primary draw is the extent of legroom it provides. Legroom is available in 44.1 and 42.4 inches in the front and middle rows and 31.4 inches in the third row. To put things in perspective, there is around two inches less legroom in all three seats of the larger, more expensive Cadillac XT6. The typical load capacity, with all rows up, is 18 cu ft (509 liters). Using one-touch buttons located beneath the third row, you can fold the third and second rows to expand the volume to 45.8 (1,297 liters) and 86.4 cu-ft (2,446 liters).
Telluride: The inside dimensions of the Telluride are the same as those of the Palisade, with the exception that the panoramic moonroof causes somewhat less headroom. But the similarities stop there. The Telluride adopts a leather-only, all-black aesthetic.
The infotainment system and instrument cluster are stacked as separate modules, which disrupts the design flow even though the cabin is nicely decorated. The leather seats are comfortable, but they don’t have the Palisade’s lavishness. However, the matte wood finish is gorgeous. Despite being much smaller than the first two rows, the third row is not at all unpleasant. Adults of average and larger sizes can fit in the rear with 31.4 inches of legroom.
The interior proportions of the Palisade and Telluride are nearly identical, yet they have very different cabin atmospheres. The Kia delivers a luxurious interior with a more traditional appearance. Although leather, wood, and plastic are used extensively, the overall quality impression is diminished. The Palisade, on the other hand, goes above and beyond to give its users the most luxurious experience imaginable. Its character is enhanced with a clean dash design and large areas of cream leather. That makes it the undisputed champion in this category.
Tech and Features
Palisade: The all-digital instrument panel in front of the Palisade driver is only one or two notches below the stunning 3D display featured in Genesis vehicles. The 12.3-inch cluster doesn’t leave you wanting more, despite the fact that it doesn’t have the depth of the 3D display. The blind spot camera, which shows the feed in the dials depending on which indicator is on, is one really clever addition. Although some people might find this function gimmicky and counter-intuitive, its utility cannot be disputed. Although glancing down while driving isn’t natural, doing so can help you know where the curb is when you’re in a city because you wouldn’t want to damage those eye-catching 20-inch wheels.
Telluride: In contrast to the Palisade, the Telluride gets by with analog clusters on either side of an LCD panel. The cluster stands out as a stark contrast to its half-brother and appears more out of date because of the knurled surrounds. But the HUD is fantastic, just like the Hyundai.
Although the Kia has curb-spotting blind spot cameras on either side, its footage appears on the LCD in the instrument cluster. Every row has a USB charger. However, just with the Palisade, there isn’t a USB-C port. Additionally, the Hyundai cabin sounds slightly better than the HK sound system despite having the same number of speakers.
Hyundai Palisade vs. Kia Telluride Verdict
In a perfect world, we could combine the Telluride exterior with the Palisade inside, but that is not possible right now. These two crossovers each provide far more for their price range than they ought to. There are compromises, but they are acceptable, given their minor nature. The Telluride is a more assertive and, dare I say it, youthful alternative to the Palisade, which is a more lavish and elegant choice. I can imagine the people who value their families choosing the Palisade.
Additionally, there is no denying that the Palisade provides a greater in-cabin experience, whether it be in terms of interior design, selection of materials, or general ambiance. Yes, it costs more, but given that the cabin is at least a few segments above, the extra cost is well worth it.