Consumer Reports: Kia Telluride Slams the Toyota Highlander

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Consumer Reports has done a lot of research on the Kia Telluride and Toyota Highlander over the years. The Highlander has been a driver and critic favorite for more than a decade. The Telluride is a newcomer that has taken the industry by surprise. Consumer Reports praised both SUVs for a variety of reasons but ultimately found faults on both sides.

Is the Kia Telluride bigger than the Toyota Highlander?

Consumer Reports put the Kia Telluride against the Toyota Highlander | Kia

Consumer Reports noted that when Kia went for the Telluride, there was a lot of thought put into the details of the SUV. It is reliable and has pleased owners in the first few years of ownership. The V6 engine gives the Telluride enough power to pull out into traffic, but it also gets an OK 21 mpg combined.

CR found that the Kia Telluride performed well in the dry and wet-braking tests. It maneuvered with ease during the road tests, and the stability control helped the vehicle stay in control. The predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction both came in at five out of five. In the road test, the SUV scored a 97 out of 100.

The Telluride has automatic emergency braking (AEB) but not at highway speeds, which seems like an oversight. It has Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA). CR found that the beeps and noises that came with the systems were a bit overwhelming. Kia offers a 10-year and 100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. In addition to that, there is also a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Consumer Reports: Kia Telluride vs. Toyota Highlander

Consumer Reports found that the Highlander has a more evolved style since it has been around for a while. This means the brand has been able to consider flaws and make features better. It feels familiar, but with all the safety features drivers might want from the newest vehicles on the market.

The V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission get 22 mpg overall. In addition to that, the Highlander Hybrid gets about 35 mpg overall. “We like how well the Highlander absorbs and softens the impact from rough road surfaces, and the overall ride quality is compliant and controlled. It’s on a par with the Telluride,” Consumer Reports said.

The Highlander has Toyota Safety Sense systems, including forward collision warning (FCW), blind-spot warning (BSW), AEB, and LKA. Toyota offers free maintenance for the first two years or the first 25,000 miles.

Battle of the midsize SUVs

CR says that if fuel economy is the biggest deal-breaker, the Toyota Highlander or Highlander Hybrid is the right choice. Drivers after often loyal to the Toyota brand, which might make the case to stay with the Highlander. The bottom line is that the Highlander is family-friendly, value-holding, albeit a little boring. Not everyone wants an exciting car, though.

If you are willing to take the leap of faith, the Kia Telluride is going to reward you. It has exceeded the Highlander in the first round of Consumer Report’s reliability surveys. It is smoother on the road and has a more luxurious feel inside the cabin. Kia has been fairly innovative thus far, and the 2022 model looks like another improvement.

Don’t underestimate the mid-size SUV segment in the next few years. If these reliability scores are anything to go by, sport utility vehicles are here to stay.

RELATED: Consumer Reports: 5 Best Cars of 2021 Under $35K

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