Kia Telluride vs Toyota Highlander

Is a midsize, spacious ride just what you and your growing family need to enjoy those regular Louisville and Elizabethtown, KY, or Clarksville, IN, drives even more? If you’re interested in the Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander, you’re on the right track. Both of these commuters offer a lot of admirable attributes.

The Kia Store has drawn up this 2021 Kia Telluride vs. Toyota Highlander comparison to give you a hand in narrowing down your search even more. Will it be the Kia SUV we’ll spot in your driveway or the Toyota model you hit the streets with? Continue reading to find out which one is right for you.

Kia Telluride vs Toyota Highlander: Performance and Engine Specs

Toyota and Kia SUVs are designed to perform in any number of conditions. From urban streets to uneven off-road terrain, a good model will handle like a dream, no matter where you’re driving.

The Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander are both incredibly capable. However, the Kia Telluride outpaces the competition when it comes to driving dynamics.

For starters, the 2021 Kia Telluride provides you with a standard drive mode system that features four unique ways of tackling the asphalt: Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Smart. While Comfort mode is great for everyday driving, Eco allows you to get more miles to the gallon. Sport transforms your driving experience into an athletic exercise behind the wheel. Switch to Smart and have your Telluride monitor your driving and its conditions to give you an optimized performance.

Meanwhile, the Highlander serves up a standard drive mode select system featuring only three modes: ECO, Normal, and Sport. Without the additional driving option offered by the Kia Telluride, you may find it a little more difficult to tailor your ride’s performance to fit your needs.

Kia Telluride vs Toyota Highlander: Interior Dimensions

Midsize Toyota and Kia SUVs are known for their accommodating cabins—and these two are no exception. Which one has the right space for you and your family?

Here is a comparison of some of the measurements you’ll find inside the Telluride and the Highlander:

2021 Kia Telluride

2021 Toyota Highlander

First-Row Hip Room

58.9 inches

57.2 inches

Second-Row Hip Room

58 inches

57 inches

Second-Row Headroom

40.2 inches

39.4 inches

Third-Row Headroom

38.1 inches

36.1 inches

Second-Row Legroom

42.4 inches

41 inches

Third-Row Legroom

31.4 inches

27.7 inches

It doesn’t matter where you find yourself seated in the Telluride, it will provide you and your passengers with plenty of room to relax and enjoy the ride.

In fact, the Telluride’s measurements for hip room, headroom, and legroom are quite a bit larger than the numbers for the Highlander. This is thanks to a total passenger volume in the Kia SUV of 178.1 cubic feet, compared to only 141.3 cubic feet in the Highlander.

Telluride vs Highlander: Interior Features & Technology

In addition to its roomier interior, the Kia Telluride has more features than the Toyota Highlander.

Although both the Kia Telluride and the Highlander come equipped with 8-inch touchscreen displays, the Kia Telluride maximizes its interior connectivity, with the available 10.25-inch touchscreen. That way, you can easily see all of your controls on one screen. Better yet, this feature is standard only three trim levels up from the base model.

While the Toyota Highlander also offers a larger dashboard touchscreen system, it’s not available until its final trim level—nine trims up from the base level.

Another feature you won’t find on the Toyota Highlander is the brand-exclusive UVO, which comes standard on the Kia Telluride. It connects your commuter with an app on your phone and gives you access to:

  • Remote features—remote start, unlock/locking doors, and ‘Find My Car’
  • Owner’s manual and warranty information
  • Quick guides and videos
  • Payment information
  • Milestones for maintenance reminders

A Look at Convenience for the Kia Telluride vs the Toyota Highlander

Not only does the Kia Telluride offer you a comfortable ride, it also gives you an abundance of stowing potential.

The cargo space behind the third row in the 2021 Telluride measures 21 cubic feet. That’s more than enough room for such items as golf clubs, shopping bags, luggage, or adventure gear. If you find yourself helping friends or family move a lot, the fact that the maximum cargo volume increases to 87 cubic feet when the second-row and third-row seatbacks are folded down is sure to be a big help.

The Toyota Highlander doesn’t give you quite as much cargo capacity. It offers a mere 16 cubic feet behind the third row. Even when the second-row and third-row seats are folded down, it only has 84.3 cubic feet—quite smaller than its competitors.

2021 Kia Telluride

2021 Toyota Highlander

Cargo Space Behind Third Row

21 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Cargo Space Behind First Row

87 cubic feet

84.3 cubic feet

Toyota Highlander vs Kia Telluride: Safety Technology

If it’s important to you that the model you choose provides you with innovative technology that can really enhance your overall driving experience, the Telluride might be the one for you.

For instance, it comes standard with Driver Attention Warning. This innovative feature monitors your driving behavior at all times. It uses this information to determine when it might be a good time for you to pull over and take a break. So, if you get sleepy behind the wheel, it will remind you that it’s time to switch drivers.

There’s also the available Driver Talk feature that enables you to communicate a lot easier with passengers in the back via the rear speakers. This is great when you have little ones! Unfortunately, you’re not going to find either of these features in the Toyota Highlander.

The Kia Telluride also has Safe Exit Assist, a standard safety feature that checks your surroundings for potential hazards before you can get out of your Kia vehicle. The Toyota Highlander doesn’t have a comparable safety feature, pointing to the Kia Telluride as the overall safer set of wheels.

2021 Kia Telluride vs Toyota Highlander: The Results

The Toyota Highlander is surely an impressive ride that will help you get from Point A to Point B. However, due to its spacious interior, handy conveniences, and advanced technology features, we think your journey is going to be a lot more well-rounded in the 2021 Kia Telluride.

You can get a closer look at these features—and other Kia Telluride capacities and amenities—by taking one for a test drive.

If you’re near Elizabethtown or Louisville, Kentucky, or Clarksville, Indiana, contact The Kia Store today to get started. We’d be excited to help you find the right Kia SUV for your travels.


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