2021 Kia Telluride vs 2021 Honda Pilot | Pre-Owned SUVs for Sale for Sale in Freehold, NJ

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  • 2021 Kia Telluride

    A green 2021 Kia Telluride is angled left.

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    2021 Honda Pilot

    A green 2021 Honda Pilot is angled right.

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    291Horsepower (hp)280
    262Torque (lb-ft)262
    5,000Max Towing (lbs)5,000

    The 2021 Kia Telluride and 2021 Honda Pilot are primed to go neck and neck as the top customer picks for new SUV buyers. Regardless of success in the past, these SUVs are leaving nothing up to chance. They’re suiting up, putting on their game faces, and jumping in the ring - offering more value than ever before. It’s a smart play, considering the highly-competitive SUV market. Even popular brands can’t afford to sit pretty and rest on their laurels in 2021. So it is with the 2021 Kia Telluride vs 2021 Honda Pilot.

    The Kia Telluride has a little more to prove with just a single year behind it so far. 2020 marked the introduction of the first generation, and what an introduction it was. The Telluride’s luxurious cabin, generous technology features, and smooth ride easily set it a few notches above the rest. Given Kia’s reputation for likable automobiles, it wasn’t much of a risk to hedge your bets on the Telluride in 2020. Now in year two, an upgraded seven-pin trailer towing wiring harness and chic Nightfall Edition Package put the icing on the cake for another show-stopping round at the dealership.

    The Honda Pilot is no stranger to winning awards and pulling off strong sales. While Honda has always been a dependable choice, the Pilot’s interior doesn’t quite scream new. That’s because it isn’t. The 2021 model is part of the third generation, which has been around since 2016. Although some upgrades have been added, like a new trim called the Special Edition, the Pilot hasn’t had any major redesigns in a while. For many, that wouldn’t be considered a negative, as the Pilot has proven itself to be preferred by the masses for several years. Whether or not this old favorite still has what it takes to keep up with the fabulously refined Telluride remains to be seen.

  • Performance

    A black 2021 Kia Telluride is driving on a street near Freehold, NJ.

    Both the Telluride and Pilot have one engine option that’s standard for all trim levels.

    Kia Telluride Engine

    All 2021 Kia Tellurides come with the 3.8-liter V6 engine as standard, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces 291 horsepower and 262 pounds per foot of torque. The standard drivetrain is a front-wheel drive, but you have the option to upgrade to all-wheel drive on any of the four trim levels if desired.

    Honda Pilot Engine

    The Honda Pilot has a slightly smaller engine, a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pounds per foot of torque. Again, front-wheel drive is standard on most models with the option of an all-wheel-drive upgrade. With seven trims on the Pilot as opposed to just four on the Telluride, the upper-level Elite and Black Edition models come with all-wheel drive as standard.

    Although all-wheel drive is standard, the price point on the higher trim Hondas is worth noting, with the Black Edition starting at $49,920. For comparison, the SX, the highest trim for the Telluride, with AWD added starts at just $44,090.

  • Safety

    A driver is using the head up display on a 2021 Kia Telluride while driving around a track.

    Both the Telluride and Pilot received high safety ratings from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Either SUV is a safe bet in terms of its overall design and construction when holding up in a crash.

    Standard Features

    The Telluride provides a robust standard safety package on every trim, using high tech sensors and radar to keep you safe from every angle. Drivers get adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert, all starting at the base model.

    Some of the same advanced safety features are found in the Pilot’s starter model, the LX. Here you’ll get adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, a lane-keeping system, and automatic high beam headlights. Blind-spot monitoring isn’t added until the EX trim level.

    While both of these SUVs will keep you safe, the 2021 Kia Telluride provides a more rounded suite of safety features on all trim levels, not just the higher trim levels like the Honda Pilot.

  • Interior

    The interior of a 2021 Kia Telluride is shown from the side.

    What's Inside the Kia Telluride?

    Kia is well-known for creating comfortable and refined interiors, and the 2021 Telluride is no exception. Simulated leather upholstery, rear temperature controls, and five USB charging ports are included right off the bat, starting with the LX. In this base model, you’ll also get an additional USB media port and an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. If you’re looking for a spacious cabin to drive along with seven of your favorite passengers, the Telluride LX isn’t a bad deal.

    Kia’s mid-level S trim adds a power-adjustable driver’s seat and heated front seats. The Telluride EX is quite impressive with leather seating, dual-zone climate control, a wireless phone charger, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation. For the ultimate in Kia luxury, the SX has a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and an upgraded driver’s seat with memory settings. Topping it off with the Prestige package leaves nothing left to be desired with automatic windshield wipers, premium leather upholstery, and heated and ventilated second-row seats.

    What's Inside the Honda Pilot?

    The base Pilot LX isn’t quite as high-tech, with a 5-inch central display screen. You’ll have to opt for at least the EX model to get a similar feel to the base Telluride. On the EX, an 8-inch touchscreen with smartphone capability is added. Trizone climate control and heated front seats are also included. For leather upholstery and second-row USB ports, you’ll need to upgrade to the EX-L.

    The SE adds wireless smartphone charging, but for a real jump in interior upgrades, you’ll want to opt for the Pilot’s Touring trim. The Touring model has a navigation system, heated rear seats, and a 10-speaker audio system with a rear entertainment system.

    Which Is the Best?

    In many ways, the Telluride provides a more generous interior bang for your buck. High-tech features and refined accents are plentiful from the start, whereas you’ll need to invest in a higher trim for a well-equipped Pilot. For instance, second-row captain’s chairs are added in the Telluride’s second-level S trim (with an MSRP that starts at $34,390), but in the Pilot, these don’t appear until you’re all the way up the Elite trim (with an MSRP that starts at $48,420).

  • Exterior

    A silver 2021 Kia Telluride is shown from the front driving on a wet road after winning the 2021 Kia Telluride vs 2021 Honda Pilot comparison.

    Both the Telluride and Pilot are aerodynamically-styled with available 20-inch wheels. The Telluride offers nine exterior color options, while the Pilot has eight for most trims. If you opt for the base LX Pilot, you only have four color options, which include Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, Lunar Silver Metallic, and Platinum White Pearl (for an added cost).

    Look at the Kia Telluride

    The Telluride’s S model and above are equipped with a sunroof and roof rails. In the SX trim, that turns into dual sunroofs. Opting for the SX Prestige package adds automatic windshield wipers. On the EX or SX, you can choose the Telluride’s Nightfall Edition. A glossy black exterior sits on black finish 20-inch alloy wheels, styled with a black finish radiator grille, Nightfall Edition Kia logos, and headlamps and fog lamps with black bezels.

    Look at the Honda Pilot

    The Pilot has a similarly styled Black Edition trim with a black interior and exterior features, including 20-inch black alloy wheels. The Black Edition’s interior is unique with red ambient lighting.

    For convenience, the Telluride has a hands-free liftgate, starting with the EX trim. A hands-free liftgate can be found on the Pilot’s SE model. For a sunroof on the Pilot, opt for the EX-L or higher. Unfortunately, dual sunroofs are not an available feature in the new Pilot, but you can get a panoramic sunroof by choosing the Elite trim level.

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