2021 Honda Pilot Vs. Kia Telluride

2021 Honda Pilot vs. 2021 Kia Telluride at Spring Honda in Cranbrook, BC

When it comes to transporting your family in style and safety, large SUVs simply can’t be beat. And when it comes to large SUVs, the three-row 2021 Honda Pilot offers the type of versatility you expect from a Honda. But how do other competitors stack up? Let’s take a look at the 2021 Kia Telluride, another strong entrant into the segment, and compare the design, performance, and safety of these two hulking rides to see which one muscles ahead.

Exterior Design & Features

Honda Pilot Design

Spacious and stylish, the 2021 Honda Pilot is all about versatility—on your daily commute or your weekend adventures. A large and imposing frame is softened by athletic lines, while its wide grille and standard LED daytime running lights give this three-row SUV some bite. In terms of utility, smart options like a hands-free power liftgate make the 2021 Honda Pilot a breeze to both load and unload. Inside, an exceptionally roomy cabin offers heated front seats as standard equipment, while ventilated perforated leather-trimmed front seats and heated second-row outboard seats give you the option of adding serious luxury to this hulking Honda. Cargo space is never at a premium in the 2021 Pilot, with a 60/40 split-folding third-row bench and 60/40 split-folding second row—or folding captain’s chairs—giving you the option to seat 8 or carry an almost absurd amount of gear.

Kia Telluride Design

The 2021 Kia Telluride offers no shortage of bold style itself, with a square look evocative of early sport utility vehicles. While this three-row, 8 seater offers a hair more initial cargo space than the Pilot, it loses serious ground when it comes to cargo space behind the second and third rows. The Telluride does offer luxurious interior options, however they’re only available with the higher, more expensive trim levels. A standard 10.25-inch multimedia interface edges out the 8.0-inch touchscreen found in the 2021 Pilot, but the jury is still out on whether Kia’s system is as intuitive as Honda’s Display Audio System.

Specifications: 2021 Honda Pilot LX 2021 Kia Telluride EX
Length (mm/in) 4,991 / 196.5 5,000 / 196.9
Width (mm/in) 2,029 / 79.9 1,990 / 78.3
Height (mm/in) 1,794 / 70.6 1,759 / 69.3
Wheelbase (mm/in) 2,820 / 111.0 2,900 / 114.2
Ground Clearance (mm/in) 185 / 7.3 203 / 8.0

Interior Design & Features

Specifications: 2021 Honda Pilot LX 2021 Kia Telluride EX
Head Room (front) (mm/in)1,019 / 40.1 1,004 / 39.5
Head Room (middle) (mm/in)1,020 / 40.2 1,022 / 40.2
Head Room (rear) (mm/in)989 / 38.9 969 / 38.1
Shoulder Room (front) (mm/in)1,576 / 62.0 1,554 / 61.2
Shoulder Room (middle)1,576 / 62.0 1,554 / 61.2
Shoulder Room (rear) (mm/in) 1,463 / 57.6 1,404 / 55.2
Hip Room (front) (mm/in) 1,501 / 59.1 1,497 / 58.9
Hip Room (middle) (mm/in) 1,456 / 57.3 1,472 / 57.9
Hip Room (rear) (mm/in) 1,132 / 44.6 1,111 / 43.7
Leg Room (front) (mm/in) 1,040 / 40.9 1,120 / 44.0
Leg Room (middle) (mm/in) 976 / 38.4 1,077 / 42.4
Leg Room (rear) (mm/in) 810 / 31.9 798 / 31.4
Cargo Capacity (behind 1st row) (L/cu-ft) 3,087 / 121.5 2,455 / 86.7
Cargo Capacity (behind 2nd row) (L/cu-ft) 1,583 / 62.3 1,304 / 46.0
Cargo Capacity (behind 3rd row) (L/cu-ft) 524 / 20.6 601 / 21.2

Performance

These two large SUVs offer quite similar performance in terms of engine size and power, with the 2021 Kia Telluride’s 3.8L V6 edging out the Pilot’s 3.5L V6 ever so slightly by a margin of 291 horses to 280. When it comes to torque they’re deadlocked, though the Pilot offers a more efficient drive thanks to its 9-speed automatic transmission compared to the 8-speed automatic of the Telluride. Either way you slice it, the engines offered by these two SUVs have them neck and neck. When it comes to towing, the Pilot seems to initially fall behind the Telluride with a standard towing capacity of 1,588 kg; however, when equipped with the accessory tow package, the two SUVs have identical towing capacities of 2,268 kg. AWD comes standard on both, however the more advanced i-VTM4 AWD system found in the 2021 Honda Pilot gives it the edge, especially when dealing with the mercurial weather found throughout interior British Columbia.

Specifications: 2021 Honda Pilot LX 2021 Kia Telluride EX
Engine 3.5L, 24-valve, Direct Injection, SOHC, i-VTEC V6 3.8L V6 GDI
Horsepower 280 291
Torque (lb-ft) 262 262
Transmission 9-speed automatic (with Grade Logic Control) 8-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (city/highway) (L/100 km) 12.4 / 9.3 12.6 / 9.7

Safety

Both SUVs offer an abundance of standard safety features, from those found in the Honda Sensing suite to similar driver-assistance features found in the Telluride. In fact, both SUVs received perfect five-star overall safety ratings from the United States’ NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). However, there is something to be said about the peace of mind that comes with a Honda, a name that’s so synonymous with reliability.

Honda Pilot vs. Kia Telluride Verdict

When it comes to the 2021 Honda Pilot and 2021 Kia Telluride, you’ve got two incredibly evenly-matched three-row SUVs. In terms of performance, the Telluride edges out the Pilot when it comes to raw power, though the Pilot offers a smoother, more efficient drive and a stronger AWD system. Both feature an abundance of advanced safety features and style, while the Pilot offers a bit more space and substance under its unassuming exterior—compared to the more ostentatious look of the Telluride. With similar starting prices, cost shouldn’t be a concern, though the reliable nature of Honda vehicles often leads to greater value retention down the road (arguably making the Pilot a smarter choice).

We’re ready to give the edge to the 2021 Honda Pilot, due its greater versatility, but we’d welcome you to come and test drive it before making any decisions. Simply fill out the contact form below, or stop by our Cranbrook dealership, and experience the award-winning service provided by British Columbia’s favourite Honda dealer: Spring Honda!

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