2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2021 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 2020/10/21

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Telluride doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The XC90’s 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.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 Kia Telluride doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

The Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Kia doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Telluride. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Telluride’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Telluride doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Telluride doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the XC90’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Telluride doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the XC90 and the Telluride have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Telluride’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Telluride.

Reliability

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The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Telluride’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 25 more horsepower (316 vs. 291) and 33 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6. The XC90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 109 more horsepower (400 vs. 291) and 210 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Kia Telluride:

XC90 T6

XC90 Recharge

Telluride

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

n/a

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

7.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

17.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

n/a

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/10/21

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Telluride:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

Telluride

MPG

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Telluride:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 city/28 hwy

Telluride

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The Telluride must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Telluride doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC90’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 XC90 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Telluride doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Telluride:

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 Recharge

Telluride

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

12 inches

The XC90’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.

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Telluride:

XC90

Telluride

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Telluride (275/45R20 vs. 245/60R18).

The XC90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Telluride LX/EX’s standard 60 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Telluride S/SX’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Telluride LX/EX. The XC90’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Telluride S/SX.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 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 XC90’s wheelbase is 3.3 inches longer than on the Telluride (117.5 inches vs. 114.2 inches).

The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the Telluride’s (55.7% to 44.3%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the Telluride SX 4x4 pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Telluride SX 4x4 (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Telluride (8.3 vs. 8 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 1.9 inches higher than on the Telluride (9.9 vs. 8 inches).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the Telluride SX 4x4 (71 vs. 75 dB).

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has .5 inches more third row legroom and 1.2 inches more third row hip room than the Telluride.

The front step up height for the XC90 is 3.7 inches lower than the Telluride (15.8” vs. 19.5”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 3.3 inches lower than the Telluride’s (16” vs. 19.3”).

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the Telluride’s in almost every dimension:

XC90

Telluride

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

20.4”/49.8”/83.8”

Max Width

54.7”

54.4”

Min Width

44.5”

43.5”

Height

35”

34.5”

The XC90 has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Telluride doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the XC90 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Telluride can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC90’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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Telluride doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Telluride doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Telluride doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC90 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Telluride doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90’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 XC90 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Telluride.

The XC90 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.

The XC90 R-Design/Inscription’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Telluride doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Telluride because it costs $200 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Telluride, including $139 less for a muffler, $9 less for front brake pads, $434 less for a timing belt/chain and $103 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/10/21

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Telluride has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The Telluride has never been chosen.

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

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