2021 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2020 Kia Telluride

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/12

The Escalade’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Telluride doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Escalade has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Telluride doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Escalade offers optional Reverse Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Telluride doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Telluride doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Escalade and the Telluride have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Cadillac Escalade weighs 1195 to 1711 pounds more than the Kia Telluride. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The Escalade’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Telluride’s (6/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

There are over 16 percent more Cadillac dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Escalade’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Escalade has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Telluride doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine

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The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 129 more horsepower (420 vs. 291) and 198 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6.

The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 198 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade V8’s fuel efficiency. The Telluride doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Escalade’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Telluride doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Escalade has 5.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Telluride (24 vs. 18.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A ten-speed automatic is available on the Cadillac Escalade, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Telluride.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Escalade’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Telluride are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Escalade has larger tires than the Telluride (275/50R22 vs. 245/60R18).

The Escalade’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Telluride LX/EX’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade has standard 22-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Telluride LX/EX. The Telluride’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

The Cadillac Escalade’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Kia Telluride only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Escalade has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Telluride doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Escalade has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Telluride; it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

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The Escalade offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Telluride’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escalade’s wheelbase is 6.7 inches longer than on the Telluride (120.9 inches vs. 114.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .5 inches wider in the rear than on the Telluride.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Escalade (except Diesel) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Telluride doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Escalade has 13.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Telluride (168.4 vs. 155).

The Escalade has 1.4 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 2.8 inches more front hip room, 3.9 inches more front shoulder room, 3.2 inches more rear hip room, 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room, .1 inches more third row headroom, 3.5 inches more third row legroom, 5.7 inches more third row hip room and 7.4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Telluride.

Cargo Capacity

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

Escalade

Telluride

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

21 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.9 cubic feet

46 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

121 cubic feet

87 cubic feet

Towing

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The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Telluride’s (8000 vs. 5000 pounds).

The Escalade 4WD with optional equipment can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Escalade can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Telluride can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Escalade is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Telluride. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 55% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Telluride SX, the Escalade has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

If the windows are left open on the Escalade the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Telluride can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Escalade’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Telluride’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Escalade’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Telluride offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Escalade has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the Telluride.

The Escalade Platinum has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Telluride.

The Escalade has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Telluride EX/SX.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Cadillac Escalade has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Telluride EX/SX offers wireless charging.

The Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport’s Adaptive Park Assist can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Telluride doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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