Telluride vs. Pilot: It’s the special editions you want

It seems like Honda targeted the new Kia Telluride when it redesigned the Pilot for 2023. The Kia Telluride saw a major revision for 2023, while he Honda Pilot is now all new, but they’re shocking similar on paper. Now, these two seven-passenger SUVs seemed poised to compete head on with similar prices, similar sizes, and similar features. Which is better may depend on which special edition you pick?

What’s new for 2023 in these SUVs?

2023 Honda Pilot in blue on dirt
The 2023 Honda Pilot | Honda

The Honda Pilot is 100% new for 2023. From the frame up, Honda redesigned the Pilot with an eye toward its off-road version, the new TrailSport special edition. The entire lineup of Pilots now has a stiffer frame, a more powerful V6, and a longer and wider body. Speaking of that body, the Pilot has always catered to the minivan averse, or those of us who like the immense cargo ability and passenger ability of a van, but just don’t want a van. 

The Telluride, too, saw a major update for 2023 and won MotorBiscuit’s SUV of the Year award. The Telluride simply got a reskin for 2023, but it made the Telluride even more attractive, at least on the outside. Like the Honda, it comes well-optioned with a powerful V6, yet it has street-tough styling that the Honda can’t match. 

The Pilot and the Telluride have similar room

Most of the interior specs are about the same in the two, and they both have ample legroom, including in the way back. The Kia can be equipped with a middle bench seat for seating up to eight people, and so can the Honda. The Honda has 32.5 inches of legroom in the back while the Kia has about one inch less. While the back rows aren’t super comfy for full-sized adults, they’re both roomy enough for kids and for emergency use. 

The Honda Pilot interior has a total of 87 cubic feet of storage. Not surprisingly, so does the Kia Telluride. Their exterior dimensions are almost identical, too.  The Telluride is 197 inches long by 78 inches wide, while the Honda is about three inches longer and about 0.5 inches wider.

Both have powerful V6 engines and available all-wheel drive

A 2022 Telluride SUV driving in the sun
2022 Kia Telluride | Kia

The Honda has a newer version of its narrow-angle V6 that now makes 285 horsepower, which is a slight increase over the previous version’s. The Telluride’s V6 makes 291 ponies, making the engines’ power a wash between the two. The Telluride gets 21 MPG in town, and 24 MPG highway, while the Honda gets 19 MPG in town and 22 on the highway in two-wheel drive trim.

Both can be ordered as front-wheel drive SUVs or all-wheel with all-wheel drive. Neither, however, has a low-speed transfer case. 

Honda Pilot vs. Kia Telluride: the features are about the same, too

Depending on the trim you pick, these two are incredibly similar.  The base models of each add several driver assistance features like lane keep assist and emergency braking help. In top-level trims, you can order giant screens, leather, heated and ventilated seats, and other luxury touches that elevate these two to Yukon Denali-like levels of luxury inside. The Kia has a modern, clean, look with its new steering wheel. The Honda’s interior is more purposeful, with an all-black cabin that gives it a serious feel.

The special editions set the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot apart

For 2023 Honda leaned into the growing off-road trend with the new off-road TrailSport package. It adds all-terrain tires, skid plates, all-wheel drive, and a slight lift to its all-terrain suspension to give it more ability than the stock Pilot. It certainly looks the part for camping and trail running.

Kia leaned into a tougher street style for the Telluride for 2023. The updated Telluride has low front valence and low-profile tires that make it look more at home in front of the club than your nearest ranger station, especially in X-Line trim. The X-Pro trim is the dirt-oriented version, but other than tires it’s really more of an appearance package.

How much is a 2023 Honda Pilot or Kia Telluride?

2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport in red
2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport | Josh Lefkowitz, Getty Images
Related

When Can I Buy a 2023 Honda Pilot? Now.

The base version of the Pilot is the Sport, which starts at $39,150. From there, you can order the EX-L, TrailSport and Touring packages. The top-level Touring starts at $46,450. The TrailSport starts at $48,350 and comes with all-wheel drive standard. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option.

The base LX version of the 2023 Kia Telluride starts at a slightly lower $35,690. The X-Line is $45,485, and the X-Pro is $49,885. The top-of-the-line SX Prestige X-Pro starts at $52,785. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option.