hyundai and kia are both part of the larger hyundai manufacturing organization, but even their own communications departments don't admit to any knowledge of the other's products. ask a hyundai public relations person about a kia product that you know shares a platform with a hyundai product, and they invariably respond, "kia who?"
same bones, different faces
at the first two major auto shows of the 2018-19 season (the 2018 los angeles auto show in december and the 2019 north american international auto show in detroit), we've seen two new three-row crossover suvs from the brands: the 2020 hyundai palisade and the 2020 kia telluride. on the outside, they look as different as two big, boxy crossovers that sit on an identical wheelbase can look ... which is not much. the interiors look about as different as the outsides do, and i saw no differences in interior seating layout at all. under the sheet metal, the palisade and telluride are the same vehicle. so the short answer to "what's the difference between the new palisade and the new telluride?" is this: almost nothing.
both use the same 291-horsepower, 3.8-liter atkinson-cycle v-6 making 262 pounds-feet of torque. both use the same eight-speed automatic transmission featuring identical gear ratios. both have front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive — hyundai calls it htrac, kia doesn't call it anything special — and both come with multiple driving modes.
spot the differences
there are only a few ways in which the telluride and the palisade differ, as far as we can tell. first is in the styling: the kia has a more rugged look to it, more boxy, less flowing than the palisade's swoopy light signatures. they look surprisingly different inside, too, with different dash designs, button styles and materials, but both retaining the same 10.25-inch touchscreen display. pick whichever style you like best — despite kia's push toward a more adventurous off-road image, they both have the exact same capability to leave the pavement behind.
the second difference is in the gauge cluster behind the steering wheel. the kia gets traditional gauges with a small central digital display, which the hyundai gets as well, and both offer a big heads-up display — but the hyundai palisade also offers an optional fully digital 12.3-inch display instead of gauges, like one would find on a ford, land rover or audi.
related: 2020 hyundai palisade video: 4 things to like on the inside
the two also differ in how they treat their third row of seats. the hyundai palisade features an optional power-folding third row, whereas the kia telluride surprisingly does not. the second rows of both the palisade and the telluride feature a one-touch tilt-and-slide feature, but they're not really powered systems — more of a mechanical, spring-loaded action.
finally, the other difference between the two is where they're assembled — the hyundai is imported from ulsan, south korea, while the kia is made at kia's plant in west point, ga. hyundai also has a slightly better standard warranty than kia, though that's not really a difference between the two crossovers themselves. new hyundais come with a five-year or 60,000-mile full-vehicle limited warranty supplemented by a seven-year, unlimited-mileage anti-perforation warranty (rust, essentially) and a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. kia offers all of the same conditions, but their anti-perforation warranty is only five years or 100,000 miles.
we can't really say if there's any difference in how the two drive yet as we haven't been able to get behind the wheel of either one, but if there's much difference between them, we'll be very surprised. choosing one might just come down to which style you prefer and which dealer will get you a better deal. we'll know more later this summer when the palisade goes on sale in the u.s. — kia hasn't specified when the telluride is coming other than to say it will be 2019.
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