Car Questions

Clear all

Highlander VS Telluride


Topic starter

Hi Scotty,

There is a lot of promotion about the Kia Telluride competition with the Toyota Highlander in terms of the great capabilities that Telluride offers, advanced technology, safety, and the large warranty period that Kia gives to customers. Do you have any information about the engine and gearbox and their reliability, how long do you expect them to last?

 Thanks and beast regards.


4 Answers

The difference between Kia/Hyundai always comes down to something like this:

  • Kia has more features for the price
  • Toyota’s features don’t catch on fire by themselves

I mean some KIA features might be worth the trouble…
A family member’s Kia Niro steers by its own on the Highway and consistently gets above 50mpg.
Even things like having a digital speedometer readout just makes it so much easier to drive.

That 50 mpg figure isn't going to mean much when the vehicle mistakes the full moon for a yellow traffic light and smashes into a curb.

Thank you for valuable info, I dont inteend to let the car drive it's own, I am sure of that however, I maybe use the (CC) or
(SCC), collision avoidance system or at least get benefit from the high tech safty sensoers.
I have Kia now 2020 Sorento with 33,000 Km and I had another Sorento 2018 before with 42,000 km. from my experance with both cars nothing serious just regular maintenance, fuel pump and battry life time no more than two years, maybe I was lucky with those two cars, but going to tilluride is like something new to mee and I would like to be sure if there is something I should consider. I havent used Highlander before I know Toyota is a relable, but if I choose the highest trim the price differance will be high.


The difference is simple: One works, one doesn't. 

The Highlander is a good SUV with a proven track record. The Telluride is a Kia.....meaning "falls apart." Kia/Hyundai have some of the worst quality in the industry and the resale values are awful compared to Toyota.

I wouldn't even consider the Kia. Much like people, you can make any car look nice but its what lies beneath that counts. And with Kia/Hyundai, it is not a pretty picture.


It depends, generally Kia has been having reliability issues for the last decade and a half or so. (Some say it’s always been that way)


As far the engine and transmissions, no one really knows yet - they’ve been out for only about 2-3 years…


The Lambda 3.8L V6 is a modern GDI engine that’s running in an Atkinson cycle but doesn’t even have hydraulic valve lifters it’s bizarre, unusual and complex.

Although they have quite a few already known issues, so far they seem to be reasonably reliable

(I herd some end up needing the valves to be cleaned, that you should adjust the valves on a regular interval, and that the timing chain seems to be an area for concern knowing other engines of this family)


the transmission is a relatively proven  design and it’s durability seems fine.

It’s known for having an issue where dust from friction packs clogs the solenoids and ruins the entire transmsmision so make sure to change the ATF every 35k miles at most (and also I’d recommend replacing the filter every 2 ATF changes, if it’s possible to do in your area - I’m not sure but it might be a very complex job on these modern KIAs)


It’s seems like an overall reasonably well built car… it’s too new to say for sure but a Toyota Highlander is probably still a much safer bet IMO.

what I’d be concerned about is all of the space age technology Kia puts into these cars… I bet it’ll all fall apart and I can’t even imagine how much it’ll cost to repair… 

Thank you for your input, how much do you think the difference in regular maintenance between the highlander and the telluride? do you think buy telluride new and sell it before the warranty expires is good choice?
The thing is I know that I will not hang with car more than 4-5 years max.

Well, during the warranty period reliability doesn’t really matter - it’s all good enough.
Then the question is just how much will it depreciate compared to the Highlander (can be a huge difference)…


I would go Highlander over the Telluride, especially if you plan to own beyond the warranty period.

We are currently not recommending any Hyundai Motor Group products, especially for purchase, due to their poor track record for quality/reliability.  The new ones are just a gamble.  If you have been following Scotty for any length of time, then you already know he is not a fan of them either and has been warning people of them.  If there was a doubt, see below:  also, the 10 year/100,000 mile warranty (which only applies to the original owner) is not what it is cracked up to be as more times than not they look for ways to get out of a warranty claim and refer to problems as “Oh, that’s normal”.  Plus, some of the mechanics working on the cars have no idea what they are doing.

If you must get a Hyundai or Kia product, then just lease it and return before the warranty expires.

So in general owning new telluride for 3-4 years how much the resale value will be decreased compared to Highlander and what is the maintenance cost difference?
is there chance to blow up the engine and transmission with lets say 50-70 km through these 4-5 years?