Over the past 30 years, it’s become clear that we live in the Era of the SUV. From smaller crossovers to larger models that can transport seven to nine passengers, there is a Sport Utility Vehicle for nearly every household. Two highly anticipated SUV models for 2020 are the Kia Telluride and the 2020 Toyota Highlander. As these models hit the showroom floors, many drivers are wondering what each vehicle offers. From size, to features, options, and beyond, both the 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Toyota Highlander have a lot to offer. Which option will be the best fit for your lifestyle is naturally up to you!
Both the Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander are new for 2020––in a sense. The Telluride is, in fact, a brand new model to the Kia lineup, and their largest SUV offering to date. The Highlander, on the other hand, has been around for twenty years, but 2020 marks a complete redesign of the model, which is the first of the fourth generation of Highlander.
The Need to Move: Comparing the Size and Power of the Telluride and the Highlander
The draw of an SUV is the ability to pack in a lot of people and a lot of stuff. Both the 2020 Kia Telluride and the 2020 Toyota Highlander meet those demands.
The Telluride offers three rows of seating that can be configured to accommodate seven or eight passengers. With all seats occupied, it still has 21 cubic feet of space to devote to cargo. This can be increased to a whopping 87 cubic feet, with the third and second-row seats folded and stowed.
Comparatively speaking, the Highlander offers a bit less in this regard, with 16 cubic feet of cargo space available with passengers, and 84.3 cubic feet of cargo space with seats stowed. Still, the new Highlander improves upon the previous models, which only provided 13.8 cubic feet behind the third row. The 2020 redesign has increased the overall length of the model, with more room for each of the eight passengers in addition to cargo space.
The Telluride is powered by a 3.8L V6 engine, which provides 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and while there are no additional engine choices, drivers can choose between standard front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Drivers can expect an estimated 20 MPG fuel efficiency on city streets and 26 MPG on the highway. When properly equipped, the Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The standard Highlander trims include a 3.5L V6 engine that supplies 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is also included with the Highlander, and drivers have the choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive in this model, as well. Fuel economy is dependent upon the model and the drivetrain chosen, but on average, drivers will enjoy 20 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway.
The Highlander is also available as a Hybrid model. Combining a 2.5L inline-4 engine with a permanent magnet AC electric motor, this version gets a total combined horsepower of 243. The Hybrid is offered in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive as well and achieves an impressive average fuel economy of 36 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway.
The gasoline V6-equipped Highlanders have the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds, while the Hybrid models can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
What’s Inside: The Kia Telluride
SUV drivers are prepared to spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles, shuttling passengers, and other precious cargo to and from a variety of destinations. As a result, the included features within the cabin of an SUV can be just as important as what’s under the hood.
The 2020 Kia Telluride is offered in four trim levels: the LX, S, EX, and SX.
Kia has equipped even its base LX model with a full suite of standard advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep and follow alerts, rear cross-traffic alerts, safe exit assistance, and a driver attention warning. Additionally, the LX includes plenty of driver comfort features, such as automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, an 8-inch infotainment center with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a six-speaker stereo sound system with USB and satellite radio input, and a total of five USB charger ports.
The S model replaces the second-row bench seat with captain’s chairs, which decreases the seating capacity to 7, while synthetic leather seats are offered in all three rows, and the front seats are heated. The S trim also increases the USB ports to six, and adds a power sunroof, among other comfort features.
The EX trim includes a tempting suite of automated features, including power folding mirrors, a hands free liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power adjustable driver and front passenger seats, and a wireless charging pad. The second-row bench is available again, with leather trim in all three rows of seating. A driver voice amplifier ensures even the third row can hear important announcements from the front, while tri-zone climate control reduces arguments about the temperature.
The SX trim brings comfort to a head with dual sunroofs, a surround view parking system, a ten speaker Harman Kardon sound system, automatic high beams, automated highway driving, ambient lighting, and driver’s seat memory settings. These are just a few of the amazing features on the SX trim.
What’s Inside: The Toyota Highlander
The 2020 Toyota Highlander is offered in five trims for the gasoline model: the L, LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum. The hybrid model is offered under the LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims.
Regardless of the trim chosen, drivers can take advantage of the standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 technology, which includes a full catalog of safety features. These features include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with lane tracing assist, and lane departure warning.
The L trim is relatively well-equipped for a base model, with features such as LED headlights, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, five USB ports, tri-zone automatic climate control, Smart Key with push button start, and a power adjustable driver’s seat. The LE trim adds LED fog lights, a power liftgate, blind spot monitoring technology with rear cross traffic alert, and heated power mirrors.
The XLE trim turns the second row into captain’s chairs and increases the size of the information display. The front seats are also heated and fully power adjustable, with a simulated leather upholstery throughout the cabin. A moonroof with sunshade is also added, along with roof rails. Additional comfort features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror and wireless smartphone charging.
The Limited trim adds more luxury to the Toyota Highlander, with 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a premium JBL audio system. It also has an integrated navigation program and two 120V outlets. Stepping up to the Platinum trim, drivers can enjoy an enormous 12.3-inch touchscreen display, the largest in its class. The LED projector headlights feature an adaptive front lighting system, as well as auto-leveling capability. The moonroof is upgraded to a panoramic view, and a bird’s eye view surround camera is added. The second-row captain’s seats are heated in the Platinum trim, and a digital rearview mirror and color head-up display are added, making this model a true treat for drivers and passengers alike.
The 2020 Telluride and 2020 Highlander
Both the 2020 Kia Telluride and the 2020 Toyota Highlander come fresh off the engineering design pages. While the Highlander is an older name, the full redesign gives it a brand new feel. The Kia Telluride, on the other hand, is a brand new vehicle to the lineup. In both cases, the manufacturers have provided drivers with plenty of options for features, upgrades, and customizations, in addition to a solid standard engine. While the Telluride is not currently offered as a Hybrid, like the Highlander, the vehicles are, in many ways, comparable and capable of moving a full family and everything needed for the next adventure.