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Since it arrived in 2001, the Toyota Highlander has been one of the most popular midsize SUVs offered. Now, the greatest challenge to the Highlander’s status has arrived. The Kia Telluride arrived in the market in 2020, offering a new three-row midsize SUV aimed squarely at the Highlander. Although the Toyota SUV is still a favorite, J.D. Power tells us the Kia SUV might be the better choice.

How are the Kia Telluride and Toyota Highlander Similar?

Both of these vehicles offer three rows of seats, elevated ride height, impressive V6 engines, and modern safety packages. The Kia Telluride and Toyota Highlander both rank highly for reliability, giving families two impressive SUVs they can trust.

Which SUV offers better overall value?

Kia Telluride

Front view of blue 2023 Kia Telluride
2023 Kia Telluride | Kia

The Telluride ranges from $33,09 to $43,990 and comes in four trim levels. All models use the same V6 engine and offer the choice of either FWD or AWD. Seating seven is pretty easy in the Telluride, but you can expand to eight in a pinch (the middle third-row seat is pretty narrow). The Kia Connect infotainment system is impressive. When purchased new, this system offers a 12-month trial subscription which includes:

  • Remote engine starting
  • Remote door locking
  • Remote climate control operation
  • Automatic collision notification
  • Rapid access roadside assistance
  • Customizable geofencing settings
  • Stolen vehicle recovery assistance

The Telluride is the highest-ranked midsize SUV for resale value, but it does not include complimentary scheduled maintenance.

Toyota Highlander

A white 2023 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV is driving on the road.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

This Toyota SUV offers a price range o $35,405-$47,560 and it’s offered in seven different trim levels. The Highlander has a standard V6 engine and an optional hybrid powertrain to choose from along with the choice of either FWD or AWD. You’ll find comfortable seating for seven or eight passengers with an optional second-row captain’s chair configuration on higher trim levels.

The Toyota Highlander includes the Safety Connect package with a one-year trial which gives you access to:

  • Automatic collision notifications
  • Live emergency assistance
  • Rapid roadside assistance
  • Three months of Wi-Fi
  • Remote engine starting
  • Remote door locking
  • Live concierge services on models with a factory navigation system

Toyota provides two years/25,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance on every new Highlander SUV.

J.D. Power gives the advantage to the Kia Telluride in pricing and value over the Toyota Highlander.

Did J.D. Power get it right?

Front angle view of green 2023 Toyota Higlander Hybrid midsize SUV
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

Although the Kia SUV starts at a lower price than the Toyota SUV, does that really translate to better overall value? For some, that could be the case and J. D. Power is a well-respected organization that’s been reviewing and comparing vehicles for a long time. Still, the Toyota Highlander offers seven trims compared to the four for the Kia Telluride. Additionally, the Highlander can be had with a hybrid powertrain which is unavailable on the Telluride. Finally, Highlander owners enjoy complimentary maintenance which isn’t offered for the Telluride.

Although the Kia Telluride begins at a lower starting price, the complete packaging of the Toyota Highlander should put it ahead of this Kia SUV; but that’s just my opinion.

Next, check out several fuel-efficient family SUVs, or learn more about these two midsize three-row SUVs in this video below: