2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Telluride and Atlas 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 Atlas’ 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 Atlas doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 Atlas doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Telluride and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

The Telluride comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Kia will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Atlas.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Telluride 4 years and 28000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Atlas. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Atlas ends after only 6 years or 72000 miles.

There are over 18 percent more Kia dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Telluride’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Telluride has a standard 800-amp battery. The Atlas’ 680-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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 11 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 56 more horsepower (291 vs. 235) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (291 vs. 276) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Kia Telluride is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:

Telluride

Atlas

Zero to 30 MPH

2.6 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.1 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.3 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.1 sec

8.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.7 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

116 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Telluride

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

Atlas

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/23 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Telluride uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Atlas 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 Atlas:

Telluride

Atlas

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

13.2 inches

The Telluride stops much shorter than the Atlas:

Telluride

Atlas

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

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

The Telluride has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Telluride flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Telluride SX 4x4 is quieter than the Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion:

Telluride

Atlas

At idle

36 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

The Telluride has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Atlas can only carry 7.

The Telluride has 2.6 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 4.8 inches more rear legroom, .4 inches more rear shoulder room and .4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Atlas.

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Telluride

Atlas

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

20.6 cubic feet

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

Towing

The Telluride’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Atlas’ (5000 vs. 2000 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 Atlas doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Telluride has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Atlas only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Telluride EX/SX has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Atlas doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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

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