2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2019 Honda Pilot

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Telluride and Pilot 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 Pilot’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.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Telluride are reminded to check the back seat when a sensor determines the back seat is occupied. The Pilot doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Telluride SX has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Pilot only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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 Pilot doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Telluride and the Pilot have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

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 Pilot’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 Honda covers the Pilot. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Pilot ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Telluride’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Pilot’s camshafts. If the Pilot’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 10 places higher in reliability than Honda.

Engine

The Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (291 vs. 280) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Telluride

Pilot

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

The Telluride stops much shorter than the Pilot:

Telluride

Pilot

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

The Telluride has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pilot’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 Pilot doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Telluride’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the Pilot (114.2 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Telluride is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Pilot.

The Telluride SX 4x4 handles at .81 G’s, while the Pilot Elite 4WD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Telluride’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Pilot’s (38.8 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Telluride has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pilot (8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Telluride to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Telluride SX 4x4 is quieter than the Pilot Elite 4WD:

Telluride

Pilot

At idle

36 dB

37 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

78 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

The Telluride has 2.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Pilot (155 vs. 152.9).

The Telluride has .8 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, 4 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear hip room than the Pilot.

Cargo Capacity

The Telluride’s cargo area provides more volume than the Pilot.

Telluride

Pilot

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

18.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Telluride’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Pilot doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The Telluride’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Pilot’s (5000 vs. 3500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The Telluride uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pilot uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

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 Pilot doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Telluride and the Pilot have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Telluride is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pilot prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Pilot’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Telluride’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Pilot’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

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 Pilot doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

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

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