2021 Honda Pilot vs. 2021 Kia Telluride

2021 Honda Pilot vs Kia Telluride

In the Honda Pilot, you have all the tools needed to explore the open world—world-class tech, safety systems for added peace of mind, drive modes for virtually any type of road condition.

In the new Telluride, you have a lot of good tools at your disposal, though there’s something missing in Kia’s latest SUV addition. It lacks that verve, that certain je ne sais quoi, that spirit for adventure. Guess it comes down to a simple choice, really: Get busy living or get busy researching more when you already know the answer is the Pilot. (It’s got a certain ring to it, no?) Here’s why you should seriously consider driving away from the dealership in a Honda Pilot, not a Kia Telluride.

Modern Comforts

Rear Entertainment System

Some say that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. We say, “Tell that to a parent who’s trying to keep three rambunctious kids occupied.” But if you agree with the former, then you’ll appreciate the fact that the simple Kia Telluride doesn’t come with an available rear entertainment system -- not in its base LX nor in its range-topping SX trim. That equates to a whole lot of back-seat drivers vying for your attention.

If that sounds like a nightmare, the 2021 Honda Pilot is gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse. In the Touring and Elite models, you’ll find an advanced rear entertainment system that includes a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen, built-in streaming apps, a Blu-Ray™ and DVD player, and HDMI connections.

Rear Entertainment System

Wi-Fi Hotspot

Houston, we have a problem. Not only is the Telluride void of any form of rear-seat fun, it’s also without an available Wi-Fi hotspot. With the whole crew in the back toiling away on their tablets, you’re bound to hit your family’s mobile data cap.

The Honda Pilot Touring makes for a wiser purchase if your brain thinks in gigabytes. It comes with a standard Wi-Fi hotspot, courtesy of AT&T, that enables riders to stay connected to the world outside of Pilot’s 151.7-cubic-foot cabin.

Wi-Fi Hotspot

Tri-Zone Automatic Climate

People also say not to sweat the little things. That’s difficult to do inside the Kia Telluride. Without a tri-zone climate control system, sweat may find trails down passengers’ backs. Instead, riders are limited to a standard AC unit or upgraded dual-zone setup with rear temperature controls.

In all Honda Pilot models is a tri-zone automatic climate control system with built-in humidity control and air filtration. Starting with Pilot EX trims, you also get a 2nd-row climate control layout, enabling rear passengers to adjust temperatures at will. Ah! That’s better.

Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control

Standard Heated Steering Wheel

For some added comfort, especially during the chilly mornings, grab a Honda Pilot Elite. It not only comes with perforated heated and ventilated front seats, but it also includes a heated steering wheel—a feature that isn’t standard in any Telluride trim. Your palms will thank you.

Fuel Efficiency

Today’s currency is measured in “miles per gallon,” which means the Pilot is richer than the Telluride. The 2WD Pilot models return 20 city/27 highway mpg, while the AWD versions bring in 19 city/26 mpg. By comparison, the FWD and AWD Tellurides return 1 and 2 fewer miles per gallon on the highway, respectively. Every cent mpg matters.

2021 Pilot
2021 Pilot
2021 Telluride
2021 Telluride
City / Highway / Combined
20/27/23* 19/26/22* 20/26/23 19/24/21

Intelligent Traction Management

Voracious traveler? You gain a big advantage with the Pilot and its Intelligent Traction Management system. When making your normal commute home, keep the drive mode in Normal. When it gets icy and snowy, switch to the specially designed Snow mode. On trails, activate Mud mode to ensure you have enough traction to get out of mud pits. And when you’re tackling the Sahara-like off-roadways, put your Pilot in Sand mode for added confidence.

The Telluride is adequate when off-the-grid thanks to AWD Lock and Snow Mode options. However, its normal drive modes aren’t catered to certain road conditions like Honda Pilot’s ITM setup.

Intelligent Traction Management

Max Cargo Volume

When push comes to shove, you want to choose a big SUV that can carry big-SUV stuff. That’s the Honda Pilot. In the Pilot EX, you get a maximum of 109.2 cubic feet of cargo space up to the front row. That’s over 22 cubic feet more than the Kia Telluride offers. Even up to the second row, Pilot beats Telluride, 55.9 to 46.0 cubic feet. Now those are some big-SUV numbers.

2021 Pilot EX 2021 Telluride EX
Max Cargo Volume (cu ft) 109.2* 87
2nd-Row Cargo Volume (cu ft) 55.9* 46

3rd-Row Room

Third-row seats are usually reserved for pets, kids or the third cousins you barely know. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a bit of room, doggone it. Honda Pilot grants back-row riders those extra few inches. Compared to the Telluride, Pilot’s third-row bench offers nearly an inch more headroom, two inches of shoulder room, an inch of hiproom, and a tad more legroom to close the deal.

2021 Pilot Elite 2021 Telluride SX
Rear Headroom (in) 38.9 37.8
Rear Legroom (in) 31.9 31.4
Rear Shoulder Room (in) 57.6 55.3
Rear Hiproom (in) 44.6 43.7


20 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg rating for 2WD trims. 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg rating for AWD trims. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.

Cargo volume based on SAE J1100 cargo volume measurement standard plus, where applicable, floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position.