It's time for the three-row Korean toss, and it's a close fight with a clear winner.
Jason GondermanWriterBrandon LimPhotographer
Coming in 2019 for the 2020 model year.Hyundai PalisadeiKia TellurideThree-row SUVs have conquered the world. demandquickly exceeded the offerand automakers have been struggling to keep up ever since. It certainly didn't help matters when we called Telluride oursMotorTrend SUV godine 2020, either. Not resting on their laurels, South Korean automakers have given both the 2023 Hyundai Palisade and 2023 Kia Telluride facelifts and mild interior refreshes for this model year. In a category full of choices, Palisade and Telluride continue to top our listthe best three-row SUVs.
So which one is the must have? It turns out that finding the answer might be more complicated than it seems at first glance.
Palisade Calligraphy vs. Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line: Strength on paper
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade and the 2023 Kia Telluride share a basic platform, engine, powertrain, and even the same essential interior and exterior dimensions. Both three-row SUVs are equipped with a Hyundai/Kia 3.8-liter V-6 engine, which produces a respectable 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission directs power to the wheels through an intelligent all-wheel drive system. AWD is standard equipment on Kia's Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line, while Hyundai's functionally identical HTRAC AWD system is a $1,900 option on the top-trim Calligraphy.
Fuel economy: room for improvement
On the downside, neither vehicle delivers stellar fuel economy, with the all-wheel-drive Palisade rated at an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city, 25 highway and 21 combined. The Telluride is slightly worse, falling to 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. These are among the lowest scores in the class and, unfortunately, it doesn't look like any electrified options (hybrid, PHEV or all-electric) will be arriving anytime soon.
Still, year-over-year, the EPA highway rating for the Hyundai Palisade improved by one mpg for both front- and all-wheel-drive models. Kia's Telluride retains the same EPA ratings from 2022 to 2023 for front-wheel-drive models, but those equipped with AWD drop 1 mpg in the city. When we reached out to company representatives for clarification, it was explained that while the two vehicles are mechanically similar, the differences in aerodynamics, weight and options result in minor differences in economy.
Chief among those differences—and the biggest contributor to the Telluride's loss of AWD economy—is the addition of the off-road-oriented X-Pro and X-Line packages for 2023. Because of this, we doubt that choosing the standard Telluride without the X-Pro or X-Line packages would , should return Palisade-level fuel economy. Of course, your mileage may vary (just don't expect it to ever approach the mileage of the faster four-cylinder Ford Explorer and mild hybrid Mazda CX-90).
Performance of a closed course
If racing from stoplight to stoplight and tearing through canyons to soccer practice excites you, maybe you should turn away now. Both of these three-row SUVs sprinted from zero to 60 mph in an unexciting 6.9 seconds. The 2023 Hyundai Palisade ran the quarter mile in 15.1 seconds at 93.2 mph, a paltry 0.1 second faster than the 46-pound lighter 2023 Kia Telluride. The Palisade made some strides when it came to our braking and handling tests, stopping from 60 mph in 118 feet and completing our figure-eight course in 27.0 seconds at 0.63 g (avg). The big Kia stopped from 60 in 122 feet and completed the figure-eight test in 27.5 seconds at 0.61g. We attribute these small differences in performance to the choice of tires. Although both SUVs sported 20-inch 245/50 tires, the Palisade had Hankook Ventus S1 Nobel2 high-performance tires, while the Telluride wore Michelin Primacy LTX all-season tires.
Highway driving and steering
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride share a chassis and powertrain, but the tuning of each begins to differentiate them.
Kia was more lively than them. The Telluride seemed to accelerate faster from a standstill, and the transmission shifts quickly and decisively. He still tried to get into the highest gear as quickly as possible, but didn't hesitate to downshift when told to. The Telluride's suspension tuning also veered on the sporty side of neutral, exhibiting very little body roll on twisty roads, and handled broken pavement and freeway expansion joints with relative ease.
In contrast, it's easy to see that Hyundai has taken a more comfort-oriented approach to tuning the Palisade. The Palisade exhibited slightly more body roll than the Telluride, and its steering was less precise. Overall, the Hyundai wasn't as nimble on twisty roads as its counterpart, and there wasn't a significant improvement in ride quality for these concessions. But really, how sporty should a large three-row SUV be?
What's even more impressive is the suite of available driver assistance technologies shared by both vehicles. To the already long list of standard features (forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and more) both Hyundai and Kia have added traffic sign recognition and a left-hand warning function to a turn that can intervene if you try to turn left into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Highway Driving Assist 2, a more capable version of the standard HDA 1.5 system, is now available and can even manage automated lane changes. The vehicle's head-up display is larger, a digital mirror is available, Apple CarPlay and Android auto can now be used wirelessly, and a Wi-Fi hotspot is standard. And most interestingly, the 2023 Hyundai Palisade is equipped with a feature that allows owners to move the car forward and backward from the outside using a key fob—great for getting the big Palisade in and out of tight spaces (and a slick fun trick, too).
Updated exterior styling
Exterior styling is the most direct difference between the 2023 Hyundai Palisade and the 2023 Kia Telluride. Both SUVs received updates for the 2023 model year. Kia sharpened the Telluride's exterior with new headlights and taillights (RIP, orange DRL), front and rear bumpers and lower body panels. New wheel options adorn every trim. Robust newX-Line i X-Pro ukrasialso added, giving the Telluride more aggressive tires, a locking center differential and, for the X-Pro, a 500-pound increase in maximum towing and a 0.4-inch increase in ride height.
Hyundai took a similar approach with the Palisade. The diagonal lines and curves of the original model have been replaced by solid vertical characters. The Palisade now features a large, square grille and stacked rectangular headlights pushed to the far edges of the front fascia. The entire refresh gives off vibes of the company's futurismIoniq 5 electric crossover. At the back is a new bumper, which - you guessed it - has long horizontal lines that emphasize the width of the vehicle. New 20-inch wheels were also added.
We're not too thrilled with the 2023 Palisade's new exterior, but to be fair, we weren't the biggest fans of the outgoing model's looks either. At least not compared to Telluride.
Interior design and functionality
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade and 2023 Kia Telluride offer nearly identical interior space for passengers and cargo. However, as with their exterior designs, both have different approaches to how everything looks, feels and functions. For 2023, three-row SUVs received large 12.3-inch screens for driver information and infotainment. Hyundai has opted for a more traditional staggered and separated approach to screen placement on its updated instrument panel. Kia, however, places both screens on the same plane to create one massive unit more akin to what you get in Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac SUVs than others in Hyundai/Kia's price range.
Take a look at the instrument panel and center console and you'll realize that the Palisade and Telluride play to different audiences. Following their exterior design, the Telluride X-Line uses darker tones with metal and wood accents to create a more rugged and industrial feel. A low center console with a traditional shifter and rotary drive mode selector accentuates the Telluride's "truck" vibe. Palisade, on the other hand, creates a much warmer and more inviting atmosphere. Its dashboard has fewer hard edges, opting instead for more curves and angles. Lighter color schemes are accentuated by wood, but also by large parts of piano-black plastic. Hyundai has raised the center console higher and moved it up to meet the panel just below the infotainment screen. The shifter is a series of buttons mixed in a sea of HVAC and drive mode controls. A massive, reconfigurable cup holder and storage area is the centerpiece of Palisade's Range Rover-style console. Take the logo off the Palisade's handlebars and it could almost pass as a Genesis...almost.
Moving back, the second row offers almost the same comfort and convenience experienced by the front seat passenger. Both the Palisade and Telluride now offer USB-C charging, conveniently located in the driver's and passenger's seatbacks. Both also offer heated and ventilated second-row seats. There is a slight difference in the placement of the HVAC controls in the rear area. Hyundai has moved the control panel to the back of the center console where it can be easily accessed from any middle row of seats. Kia, however, has left the controls on the ceiling, which allows for a pair of cup holders for middle-row passengers.
Getting into the third row of both vehicles is extremely easy thanks to a single button that activates the function of turning, sliding and folding the middle row. Backing out is just as easy thanks to a second button, located on top of the middle seats, especially for rear passengers. However, the Hyundai has the upper hand in third-row amenities. Both the Palisade and Telluride have USB-C charging ports on the budget seats, but the Hyundai also offers heated leather seating surfaces for the rearmost passengers, which is largely unheard of in this category. The Palisade also offers power-up and down third-row seats, along with power-folding second-row seats. Kia equips the Telluride with a manual third-row seat, which can turn into a real wrestling match if the pull bar accidentally turns.
Which is better value?
In this three-row SUV comparison, value comes down to what you're looking for. As tested, the 2023 Kia Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line is priced at $54,070, or just $770 more than the $53,300 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy. This is extremely good value if you're looking for a three-row midsize SUV with a bit of rugged flair. A more apples-to-apples comparison would be the standard Telluride SX-Prestige, which is priced at $51,955, or $1,130 less than the similarly equipped base Palisade Calligraphy. In that price category, the Hyundai Palisade is still a great value, given the vehicle's near-luxury features and slightly higher fuel economy.
While we're busy writing pretend checks, if you're serious about chasing dirt roads, step up to the top-of-the-line Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line Pro and it adds all the off-road benefits for just $1,000 more than the standard SX. -Prestige X-Line. But if you're looking for the base model, the Palisade SE is $20 cheaper than the $37,255 Telluride LX.
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade wins this comparison test, if only by a slight margin. With the SUV's latest update to its technology package, interior amenities and exterior styling, the Palisade is better than ever. As it was, Hyundai's flagship SUV didn't need any help selling, and this latest rejuvenation should only pique buyer interest.
Second place: 2023 Kia Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line
- Modern, stylish interior
- Robust external appearance
- The ultimate technology package
- Low fuel economy
- Single engine option
- Small third row
Judgment:We've been fans of the Kia Telluride since its debut, and this 2023 update only made it even better.
First Place: 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy
- Almost luxurious interior
- Quiet cabin
- Comfortable ride quality
- Untidy arrangement of tables
- Polarizing exterior style
- Slab motor
Judgment:The Palisade is a fantastic choice in the three-row SUV segment and is a great luxury vehicle.
|DRIVE/CHASSIS||2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy HTRAC Specs||2023 Kia Telluride X-Line (SX Prestige) Specs|
|LAYOUT OF THE PROPULSION MACHINE||Front engine, AWD||Front engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Atkinson cycle DOHC direct injection 24 valve 60 degree V-6, alum block/heads||Atkinson cycle DOHC direct injection 24 valve 60 degree V-6, alum block/heads|
|PRESSURE||3778 cc/230.5 cu in||3778 cc/230.5 cu in|
|SNAGA (SAE NET)||291 KS at 6000 rpm||291 KS at 6000 rpm|
|CLOSING MOMENT (SAE NET)||262 lb-ft @ 5200 o/min||262 lb-ft @ 5200 o/min|
|RED LINE||6,500 revolutions per minute||6,500 revolutions per minute|
|WEIGHT TO STRENGTH||15,5 lb/KS||15,3 lb/KS|
|TRANSFER||8-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|AXLE/FINAL DRIVE/LOW RATIO||3,65:1/2,36:1/ —||3,65:1/2,36:1/ —|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; BACK||Springs, coil springs, stabilizer; multilink, coil springs, stabilizer||Springs, coil springs, stabilizer; multilink, coil springs, stabilizer|
|It turns from lock to lock||2.9||2.8|
|BRAKES, F; R||13.4-inch ventilated disc; Disc from 12.0 inches||13.4-inch ventilated disc; Disc from 12.0 inches|
|WHEELS||7.5 x 20 in. cast aluminum||7.5 x 20 in. cast aluminum|
|THE TIRES||245/50R20 102V Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 (M+S)||245/50R20 102V Michelin Primacy LTX (M+S)|
|WHEEL DISTANCE||114,2 in||114,2 in|
|PATH, F/R||67,2/67,6 in||67,2/67,6 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||196,7 x 77,8 x 68,9 in||196,9 x 78,3 x 68,9 in|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||7,9 in||8,4 in|
|ANGLE OF APPROACH/DEPARTURE||18.5/21.2 degrees||17.7/23.0 degrees|
|TURNING CIRCLE||38.7 feet||38.8 feet|
|COLLECTED WEIGHT (F/R DISASSEMBLY)||4503 lb (56/44%)||4457 lb (55/45%)|
|HEADROOM, P/M/R||39,3/38,8/37,2 in||39,5/38,8/37,8 in|
|LEG ROOM, P/M/R||44,1/42,4/31,4 in||41,4/42,4/31,4 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, P/M/R||61,2/60,8/55,2 in||61,6/59,9/55,3 in|
|THREATENED BEH F/M/R||86.4/45.8/18.0 cu ft||87.0/46.0/21.0 cu ft|
|TOWING CAPACITY||5000 lb||5000 lb|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|0-30||2,4 sek||2,3 sek|
|0-70 (display, expert).||8.9||9|
|0-80 (display, professional).||11.1||11.2|
|0-90 (display, professional).||14.1||14.3|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||3.6||3.7|
|QUARTER MILE||15,1 s @ 93,2 mph||15,2 s @ 92,5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||118 feet||122 feet|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.82 g (average)||0.80 g (average)|
|MT EIGHT||27.0s @ 0.63g (average)||27.5s @ 0.61g (average)|
|SPEED IN TOP SPEED AT 60 MPH||1,700 revolutions per minute||1,700 revolutions per minute|
|INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS|
|BASIC PRICE||53,085 dollars||53,350 dollars|
|PRICE CHECKED||53,300 dollars||54,070 dollars|
|AIR BAGS||9: Double front, f/m side, f/m/d curtain, driver's knee||7: Double front, front, f/m/d curtain, driver's knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||5 years/60,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|DRIVE WARRANTY||10 years/100,000 miles||10 years/100,000 miles|
|ASSISTANCE ON THE ROAD||5 years/unlimited miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||18.8 gallons||18.8 gallons|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||19/25/21 mpg||18/24/21 mpg|
|EPA ASSORTMENT, COMB||395 miles||395 miles|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Regular unleaded||Regular unleaded|
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The Kia Telluride has more cargo space than the Palisade, so there is a slight difference there. With all seats down, you can enjoy up to 87 cubic feet of space with the Telluride. Even if you want to fill up your Telluride full of passengers, you can still get a nice 21 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat.What is the difference between Palisade and Telluride MSRP? ›
Here's the starting price of the midsize SUVs: 2023 Kia Telluride LX: $35,890 MSRP. 2023 Hyundai Palisade SE: $35,900 MSRP.What are the safety issues with the Hyundai Palisade? ›
Vehicles recalled: 167,085 Hyundai Palisades from the 2021 through 2023 model years. The problem: Accumulations of ice and/or snow could prevent the driver-side windshield wiper arm from moving, resulting in the motor working intermittently or completely stop functioning.Is the Palisade bigger than the Telluride? ›
The Palisade is 196.7 inches long, while the Telluride is 196.9 inches long. The Palisade is 77.8 inches wide, and the Telluride is 78.3 inches wide. But the Telluride provides up to 178.1 cubic feet of passenger space while the Palisade only has 155.3 cubes.