Kia finally entered the three-row SUV market when it introduced the Telluride this spring. One of its most formidable competitors will be the upcoming 2020 Toyota Highlander, which sheds its staid image thanks to a recent makeover. Does the Telluride’s quirky design compete with the newly elegant Highlander? Let’s examine the design differences between the two models before you make up your mind.
If you see the Telluride on the street, you’ll probably be able to tell it’s built from the company that makes the Soul. Like the small hatch, the 2020 Kia Telluride adopts an exceptionally boxy look. Up front, it features a squared-off face with rectangular headlights and a rectangular grille with a honeycomb pattern. You could say the Highlander adopts a softer look, with wedge-shaped headlights and rounded grille with a 3D-effect lattice design. A decorative wing element is attached to the Toyota badge for a little flair. Not content with a simple Kia logo, the Telluride sprawls its name out in silver letters across the hood.
The boxy theme continues when you look at the side profile of the Telluride. The Highlander gets a more car-like nose, and instead of sharp straight character lines on the Telluride, it features a fluid hip line. It also gets a floating roof design, and the window tapers off dramatically from the front to back, further contributing to its windswept look. The Telluride stands out for its extensive body cladding, giving it an off-road-ready look.
Both vehicles feature simple rear designs without too many embellishments. In the rear, the Telluride features its name in wide lettering once again, this time in between the taillights. The quote mark-shaped lights have vertical lines as lighting signatures. In contrast, the Highlander sports thin, wide taillights. The Telluride has a chunky bumper, complemented by a bold rear skid plate with integrated twin exhaust pipes.
Hop inside the Telluride, and you’ll find the cabin feels wide. It gets a stretched-out dash with a wide 10.25-inch touchscreen available, plus a row of buttons and vents all oriented in a straight horizontal line. The Highlander features a more cluttered array off buttons, and a more layered dash design. The dash is set off by ambient lighting in pockets under the screen and in the passenger side compartment. The Highlander offers a massive 12.3-inch touchscreen.