2020 Honda Pilot vs 2020 Kia Telluride
  • Comparisons

2020 Honda Pilot vs 2020 Kia Telluride

By Autolist Staff | August 25 2020

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Kia Telluride

Our User's Take

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2020 Honda Pilot score: 7/10

Highlights:
  • Refined and powerful V6 engine.
  • Gobs of interior space.
  • Standard advanced driver assistance features.

2020 Kia Telluride score: 8/10

Highlights:
  • Excellent interior quality.
  • Refined driving experience.
  • Seating for up to eight.
  • Generous towing capacity.

How they stack up:

Safety Features:

Honda Pilot: 8/10

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Honda Pilot with a Good rating in all crash tests. The automatic emergency braking system was good enough for a Superior rating for front crash prevention. Those scores added up to net the 2020 Pilot a Top Safety Pick designation.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Pilot five stars overall, including five stars in most crash test categories except for rollover prevention and front passenger-side crash prevention.

  • Standard safety gear includes a multi-angle rearview camera, automatic high-beam headlights, road departure mitigation, lane departure warnings, LED daytime running lights, front collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Blind-spot monitoring is available for the EX trim and above.

Kia Telluride: 8/10

  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2020 Telluride its maximum five-star rating in overall crash tests, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Telluride with its Top Safety Pick (its second-highest rating), topping the charts in areas such as collision avoidance.

  • Every Telluride model comes comprehensively equipped with standard automatic emergency braking with forward-collision warning and pedestrian detection. Kia also includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

  • Features such as automatic high beam assist, highway traffic assist that can adjust speed based on speed limits, and a surround-view camera is optional on some models.

  • Rivals in this class are increasingly upping the game on standard driver assistance technology, and the Telluride is among the best equipped, for now. Still, those looking at premium SUV brands will likely be envious of what the Telluride includes for the base price.

Value:

Honda Pilot: 6/10

  • While equipped with a load of advanced safety features, the base Pilot isn't that well equipped when compared to its counterparts at higher trim levels. Stepping up to the top trims moves the price tag dangerously close to $50,000, and crosses that threshold in the new Black Edition trim.

  • All-wheel-drive isn't standard for the Pilot as it is in the Subaru Ascent. Given the Honda's propensity to become expensive quickly, this could be a reason to shop for a different brand. At least it comes with top-level Elite models. Still, there's no real advantage in terms of economy or the way it drives for Honda not to make all-wheel-drive standard – considering it's a big reason buyers pick the Pilot over their Odyssey minivan.

  • The base trim comes with the bare minimum of comfort and convenience features, such as air conditioning and power windows/door locks, but it misses out on the entertainment features that the EX and above trims get. It's missing significant features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM radio, and HD Radio.

  • There is indeed a wide variety of Pilot models to suit a big swath of the car-buying public, but the model line gets too expensive too quickly. Over $50,000 for a Honda SUV is not the best look when competitors like the Kia Telluride can be had fully loaded for around $48,000.

The Pilot returns fuel economy in the low-20 mpg range in almost all trims, regardless of front or all-wheel-drive. There's no available hybrid or plug-in model that could mitigate some of the SUV's mass. The Toyota Highlander, for example, can be ordered with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain that achieves gas mileage in the mid-30 mpg range, even with all-wheel-drive specified.

Kia Telluride: 7/10

  • The base Telluride LX starts from just over $33,000. The days of Kias being sold primarily on price are long gone, so direct rivals such as the Honda Pilot and Volkswagen Atlas are the same price, and the Subaru Ascent is slightly less expensive because it includes all-wheel-drive in the base price.

  • Still, the Telluride is comprehensively equipped, even in base form. The LX includes smartphone integration, rear air conditioning, 18-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, adaptive cruise control, and rear parking sensors, among other features.

  • All in, a top-level Telluride SX all-wheel-drive just about hits $47,000, which is far less expensive than top-trim versions of the Ascent, Atlas, and Pilot – let alone very expensive versions of vehicles such as the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Explorer. That also includes the Prestige Package, which adds upgraded leather upholstery and interior materials, heated and cooled second-row seats, and a head-up display, among other features on top of the already comprehensively equipped SX trim. It’s perhaps at the high-end level that the Telluride represents the best value.

Efficiency:

Honda Pilot: 6/10

  • When equipped with front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission, the Pilot is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 19/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined. With a nine-speed automatic, the 2020 Honda Pilot is rated at 20/27/23 mpg.

  • All-wheel drive changes those numbers to 18/26/21 mpg with the six-speed and 19/26/22 with the nine-speed automatic transmission.

  • Honda doesn't offer a hybrid or plug-in hybrid model to compete with offerings from Toyota. The Highlander is available with a hybrid powertrain that bumps its fuel economy considerably.

  • Compared to other gas-powered SUVs in its class, the Pilot is comparable. All-wheel-drive models don't match up with rivals like the Subaru Ascent, which beats the Pilot by 3-5 mpg across the board.

Kia Telluride: 7/10

  • The 2020 Kia Telluride FWD is rated by the EPA at 20 mpg city, 26 highway, and 23 mpg combined. On AWD models, the ratings go to 19 mpg city, 24 highway, and 21 mpg combined.

  • Those numbers are only so-so against comparable three-row SUVs, with two-wheel-drive versions of the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander posting 24 mpg combined, but also pushing 30 mpg on the highway. The Subaru Ascent gets up to 27 mpg highway with its standard all-wheel-drive, too. The Telluride also lacks a smaller, turbocharged four-cylinder to boost its fuel economy on some versions, like the Ascent, VW Atlas, and Mazda CX-9.

  • The Telluride also does not offer a hybrid variant to improve fuel economy, like the Toyota Highlander or Ford Explorer.

Driving Experience:

Honda Pilot: 7/10

  • The Pilot is a large vehicle, but it's able to keep that mass mostly in check when the roads get curvy. There should be no expectation of a sporty ride here, as there is still some body roll, and the Pilot's size becomes apparent in evasive driving scenarios.

  • The 3.5-liter V6 is a good match for a vehicle of the Pilot's size and makes a powerful sound when the gas pedal gets stomped. The nine-speed automatic transmission is more refined than the six-speed and handles highway cruises in a more settled manner, but the six-speed gets the job done with little complaint.

  • The Pilot has light steering that makes it easy to whip around mall parking lots, but that ease results in a disconnected feeling when the vehicle travels at speed. The ride is mostly smooth, but adding the larger optional wheels makes things considerably rougher, especially over potholes and rough roads.

Kia Telluride: 7/10

  • The larger-than-normal 3.8-liter V6 engine is right up there in terms of power for the segment. The engine is well-paired with the eight-speed automatic transmission, boosting the Telluride’s refinement. The whole setup lacks the jerkiness of some rivals, especially ones with turbocharged engines or more speeds in their automatic transmissions.

  • Ford’s 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder in most versions of the Explorer is down on cylinders compared to the Telluride, but ultimately produces 20 more horsepower and feels more urgent. The Explorer also offers an upgraded turbocharged V6, and the Dodge Durango offers a V8 engine option for more performance.

  • On top of this, the Telluride also feels its size on the road, especially on twisty roads. While the ride quality is composed and the interior quiet and solid, it feels every bit of its length and width in tight spaces. A Mazda CX-9 is more fun to drive, while a Volkswagen Atlas is similarly proportioned, yet feels more athletic. And Kia’s own Sorento may be the way to go if you have to have some kind of third-row seat but travel in an urban place where parking a rig as large as a Telluride would be a significant burden.

Tech Features:

Honda Pilot: 7/10

  • Standard features include a five-inch color LCD screen, one USB port, a 215-watt sound system with seven speakers and a subwoofer, Bluetooth, an auxiliary input jack, and two 12-volt power outlets.

  • Tech on other trims includes an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SMS texting, SiriusXM radio, HD radio, CabinTalk in-car PA system, an HDMI interface, navigation, a rear-seat entertainment system, voice controls, HD digital traffic information, a Blu-Ray Player, and streaming apps.

  • The top four trims come standard with family-friendly goodies to entertain the kids in the back seat. A rear-seat entertainment system plays Blu-Ray discs and can be controlled either with a remote or through the vehicle's touchscreen. Honda's CabinTalk feature allows the driver to speak to rear passengers through a microphone, and the sound travels over any connected headphones.

  • Honda's infotainment system can be clunky and hard to figure out, but the Apple and Android interfaces overlay the system and make it easier to use overall. That said, menus and other controls are labeled clearly and are relatively easy to use while the vehicle is moving.

Kia Telluride: 7/10

  • All Telluride models get standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and five or six USB ports spread around the rows of seats. The LX and S use an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while all other models use a 10.25-inch version with built-in navigation. Kia’s UVO telematics system is also included with a subscription. It’s also an easy-to-use system with a good array of physical controls, unlike many rivals. EX and SX models also include built-in navigation, with directions displayed on an optional head-up display.

  • EX and higher models include niceties such as ventilated seats, power tailgate, and power-folding mirrors. Kia Telluride SX models can be equipped with a head-up display and a digital instrument cluster display in between the dials. None of these are revolutionary features, but they contribute to the polished feel of the upper trims of the Telluride.

  • Those looking for a well-reasoned infotainment system and mix of physical controls for audio and climate functions should find a lot to like here, even if Dodge’s UConnect and Chevy’s MyLink might be able to do more with hotspots and telematics than Kia’s systems.

Style & Design:

Honda Pilot: 7/10

  • The Pilot was once a boxy, rugged-looking SUV, but it's much closer to a minivan now in shape. That allows it to be much larger overall without looking disproportionate or frumpy.

  • Higher trims look sporty more aggressive than the lowest trims, but that's at odds with the Pilot's actual performance.

  • The Honda's cabin is designed to be usable and comfortable for everyone in the family and mostly succeeds. The dash is laid out sensibly and makes it easy to find the button or control needed for the situation.

  • Entry and exit are a breeze, especially with the second-row captain's chairs, which are easier to fold forward to let people in and out of the third row. The "way back," while a great option to haul additional bodies, should be reserved for kids, as adults will find it cramped and too low to the floor to be comfortable for an extended period.

  • Honda has built in 16 cupholders and several cubbies to store all of the family goodies needed for road trips. In higher trims, leather and upscale interior finishes make the vehicle feel worth its price tag.

Kia Telluride: 8/10

  • Kia has given the Telluride one of the nicest interiors in this class, and possibly one of the nicest interiors in any mainstream vehicle. Material quality is high, especially on the top SX trim, with nice details throughout. The stitching on the dash and throughout the interior would fool luxury brand loyalists. And storage throughout the cabin, including in the center console, is generous and well-thought-out.

  • Controls are also extremely easy to use. Kia’s infotainment system is one of the clearest to use in the business. The Telluride also benefits from big knobs and buttons, as well as details like a large gearshift selector that’s easy to grab with gloves on, unlike the button-only selector found in the mechanically related Hyundai Palisade, or rivals such as the Honda Pilot.

  • The Telluride’s exterior styling lends little to the current Kia lineup, which ultimately comes down to a matter of preference. But in an age where many of these three-row SUVs have extremely similar profiles, the Telluride stands out more than most. That may be appealing to some buyers. Its tall windows also allow for better visibility out for kids, and the top-level SX also includes second-row sunshades to stop too much light from getting in. However, there’s also a reason to look up in the SX, because it adds a dual sunroof system that includes a glass roof over that second row.

Practicality:

Honda Pilot: 9/10

  • The Pilot was built with families in mind, and it shows in the cabin layout. The interior is spacious and is full of family-friendly storage spaces. There's plenty of small item storage that makes it easy for kids and parents with tiny children to stow all of the accessories that little ones need on the road.

  • Most models come with a solid second-row bench seat, which allows seating for up to eight people. Higher trim levels exchange that bench for two captain's chairs, which knocks seating capacity down to seven. Though the second-row bench seat can accommodate an extra body, parents will find that the captain's chairs are better at keeping kids' hands away from each other in the second row.

  • The Pilot's cargo area is more than generous and can carry enough gear to keep all seven or eight passengers happy for the long haul. Pilots with the captain's chairs have a non-removable center console that includes additional small-item storage. The adjustable cargo floor can be moved around to access a storage area under the false floor.

  • There are large windows, high seats, and small pillars that make the vehicle feel like a greenhouse and considerably open up outward visibility.

Kia Telluride: 8/10

  • The Telluride’s vast exterior dimensions pay dividends inside, as it’s one of the roomiest models in its class. Some higher-end versions get second-row captain’s chairs that reduce total capacity to seven, but those in the first two rows will get plenty of legroom regardless of the seating configuration.

  • Large doors also make it a cinch to get in and out, even if the step-in is higher than a minivan (the sacrifices people are willing to make to get rugged looks and all-wheel-drive).

  • Unfortunately, the Telluride’s third-row seat isn’t as adult-friendly as one would hope with something this large. Kids should be fine, although even they might find three’s a crowd. The VW Atlas is also good for two adults, as is the Ford Explorer.

  • And space behind the Telluride’s third row isn’t anything cavernous, like it is on vehicles such as the Atlas and Traverse, although it is impressive with the second and third rows folded. Still, the Telluride is better-than-average among its immediate rivals, meaning there’s no need to go looking for a full-size, truck-based SUV like a Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition.

Telluride models can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. That’s on the higher end of towing capacities for vehicles in this class, most of which top out at around 3,500 pounds. Only the rear-wheel-drive Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer can tow more.

Cost of Ownership

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Kia Telluride

Annual Fuel Costs

$1,559
15k miles at $2.183/gal
$1,559
15k miles at $2.183/gal
Fuel Economy

18 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
19 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
26 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway
24 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway

Safety

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Kia Telluride

NHTSA Crash Test Results

Overall
Overall
Safety Features

Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert

Interior

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Kia Telluride

Interior Features

Standard
Leather
Standard
Leather
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Climate Control
Standard
Climate Control
Technology

Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Navigation System
Standard
Navigation System

Under the Hood

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Kia Telluride

Powertrain

Transmission
Transmission
FWD
Drivetrain
FWD
Drivetrain
Drivetrain

N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Torque
N/A
Torque
N/A
Cylinders
N/A
Cylinders