2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2019 Chevrolet Traverse

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Telluride are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Traverse doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

Both the Telluride and Traverse have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Telluride has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Traverse’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Telluride’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Traverse doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Telluride and the Traverse have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

The Telluride comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Traverse’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Telluride 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Traverse. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Traverse ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Telluride has a standard 800-amp battery. The Traverse’s 600-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 18 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

The Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 36 more horsepower (291 vs. 255) than the Traverse RS’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Telluride gets better fuel mileage than the Traverse:

MPG

Telluride

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

Traverse

FWD

2.0 Turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/25 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Telluride uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Traverse RS requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Telluride’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Traverse:

Telluride

Traverse

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

The Telluride stops much shorter than the Traverse:

Telluride

Traverse

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Telluride LX/EX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Traverse’s standard 65 series tires. The Telluride S/SX’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Traverse LT Leather/RS/Premier/High Country’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Telluride has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Traverse’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Telluride has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Traverse doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For greater off-road capability the Telluride has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Traverse (8 vs. 7.6 inches), allowing the Telluride to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Kia Telluride may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 850 pounds less than the Chevrolet Traverse.

The Telluride is 7.4 inches shorter than the Traverse, making the Telluride easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Telluride SX 4x4 is quieter than the Traverse High Country AWD:

Telluride

Traverse

At idle

36 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

The Telluride has 3.1 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear hip room than the Traverse.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Telluride’s middle and third row seats recline. The Traverse’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Telluride. The Traverse doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The Telluride’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Traverse’s (5000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Telluride offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Traverse doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Telluride’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Traverse’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its front windows open automatically.

The Telluride SX’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Traverse’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Telluride EX/SX has standard front air-conditioned seats and the Telluride SX offers them optionally in the second row. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Traverse doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

The Telluride has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The Traverse doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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