The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Got Obliterated by the 2021 Kia Telluride

There are fancy cars, and there are good cars. Sometimes they cross over but not often. Luxury vehicles usually aren’t meant to last; they are intended to keep the driver comfortable until the next new thing comes out. However, as the Asian car market starts to meld the two more often, more “normal” SUVs are blowing luxury SUVs out of the water. According to Consumer Reports, the 2021 Kia Telluride is more reliable, affordable, and nicer than the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser. 

Is the 2021 Kia Telluride a good SUV?

It’s a Kia. Years ago, that would have meant something far different from what it means now. Kia has become synonymous with quality and piles of features. Kia went above and beyond on the 2021 Telluride in particular. 

A black 2021 Kia Telluride midsize SUV parked next to a canyon
The 2021 Kia Telluride on display | Photo via Kia

Consumer Reports gave the mid-size three-row SUV a nearly perfect rating of 97/100. Reviews aren’t everything, but something this glowing from Consumer Reports makes people take notice. The Telluride seemed to hit every metric right in the sweet spot. It’s big enough but not huge, and it’s reliable, heavy with features, and not crazy expensive. Kia simply squared up and sent one over the far fence for a walk-off home run. 

Is the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser a good truck? 

The Land Cruiser falls into a strange category, not unlike a Land Rover. What made the Land Cruiser a legend was its tough and adventurous platform. It started getting weird when it transitioned into a luxury vehicle that is still built on off-road underpinnings. 

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser in the mountains
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser | Toyota

RELATED: Are We Actually Getting a 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser After All?

This poses a strange conundrum: making something fancy enough to warrant the $85,000 starting price while still making a strong off-roader. This is a nearly impossible thing to work out because what makes a good off-roader is basically the opposite of what makes a quiet, luxurious ride. Due to these conflicting factors, CR gave the 2021 Land Cruiser a 74/100. In fairness, this is better than nearly any other decent off-roader rated by CR. 

The Telluride is the whole package at nearly half the price of the Land Cruiser

The Telluride is set squarely in Goldilocks territory. The size, power, features, fuel economy, comfort, reliability, and price are all “just right.” The Kia Telluride landed 4 / 5 and 5 / 5 in every category except fuel economy, which received a 3 / 5. Its 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 delivers plenty of power for the three-row SUV. All that power does drink a bit more gas than some of its competitors, but it isn’t terrible at 21 mpg combined. 

For reference, the tank-ish Land Cruiser is powered by a 381-hp 5.7-liter V8, the same old dinosaur engine in the Tundra and Sequoia. CR rated its fuel efficiency at 1 / 5 because it gets an abysmal 14 mpg combined. The heavy, fancy 4×4 is a decently comfortable ride, though. Due to its monstrous weight (5,715), Toyota wasn’t afraid to fill it with sound deading insulation and heavy-duty suspension to keep things smooth and quiet. 

Consumer Reports got this one dead on

Although both are fairly large, have 4×4 systems, and occupy a similar place in the market, the Telluride and Land Crusier really don’t compete. Really the only thing better about the Land Cruiser is that it has a proper 4×4 system, whereas the Telluride is a gimmicky electronic diff that shuts off under any real pressure. Other than that, the Telluride beats the Land Cruiser in literally every way. Pick a category, and the Kia will come out on top. Not only does Kia win the race, but it’s also is hard even to tell the Land Cruiser was involved in the first place. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, scientifically speaking, the Land Cruiser is cool, though.