Kia Telluride vs. Toyota Highlander vs. Ford Explorer vs. Honda Pilot and Five Other Three-row Midsize SUVs

The 21st Century has seen Americans ditching minivans for midsized three-row SUVs. In the last decade and a half, about a dozen minivans have been discontinued as the family-hauler of choice. And in the past three years, new names like Atlas, Ascent, Telluride, and Palisade have joined the hyper-competitive three-row SUV segment.

I grew up surrounded by minivans because our family of six required a family hauler that was spacious and comfortable. And we made good use of them. A big family like ours needed a vehicle with plenty of space for six and their gear; a minivan was the only option. Space, safety, and reliability were at the top of my parents’ list of must-have transportation features. SUVs were for off-roading, not the road trip or morning school run.

But now, SUVs have evolved and taken over the carpooling and road-trip game. And there are so many to SUVs choose from. So MotorTrend will answer for you: Who makes the best midsize three-row SUV for a big family?

Who makes 3-row SUVs?

This contest pits the 2020 MotorTrend SUV of the Year against several newer entrants and some segment stalwarts. Can it handle the burden?

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is both the newest SUV of the pack and also the segment sales leader. Entering its fourth generation, the Highlander comes with sleeker lines and a bolder design inside and out. Our mid-trim XLE tester was priced at $42,320—the least expensive SUV in the test (by thousands of dollars) but, when you look around its interior, clearly not the cheapest. With its leather seats, 18-inch wheels, power liftgate, and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa, the Highlander brings tremendous value.

If you prefer an SUV that stands out from a crowd, the Kia Telluride, crowned SUV of the Year for 2020, gets a lot of attention. Kia‘s new three-row SUV brings fresh style to the SUV’s traditional boxy design. It also delivers a ton of value—at $47,585, our Telluride SX arrived with heated and ventilated seats in the first and second rows, a panoramic sunroof, and USB ports for all three rows.

The Hyundai Palisade shares the same platform, engine, and suspension as the Telluride. But the two Korean SUVs are different, inside and out. The Hyundai is a bit more expensive as equipped, with our Limited model carrying a sticker price of $48,205. Like the Kia, the Palisade adds a lot of features and materials that the rest of the field can’t match.

Subaru got tired of its loyal customers leaving for other brands when their families got bigger, so the Ascent was conceived with the American market in mind. The Ascent Touring we tested came with handy interior features and camel-colored leather seats. For $47,017 as equipped, the Ascent carries strong value.

The Mazda CX-9 was launched back in 2016, but its design continues to be among the freshest in the segment. The CX-9 has been known as the driver’s SUV; it has impressed us with its handling and maneuverability. Our Signature-trim tester had nice materials and was decently equipped, but its $47,715  price tag seemed a bit too high for what you get. Its cabin feels narrower than the others, and its technology is aging.

The Honda Pilot is the longest-tenured SUV in this group. Our Black Edition was the only Pilot available (but at least Honda provided one; Nissan declined our request for a final-year Pathfinder). Our Pilot arrived with a price of $50,740, the highest in this test, but its design package makes it a strong value that has aged well.

The Volkswagen Atlas is the only European player in the segment, and it has a distinct personality. With 20-inch wheels, a second-row bench seat (captain’s chairs are optional), and heated front seats, the $49,390 Atlas SEL feels pricey when you compare it to the Koreans. But it’s enormous inside.

Based on a new rear-drive unibody platform, the Ford Explorer has been re-engineered from the ground up for the 2020 year-model. The platform is a first for the Explorer, and Ford updated the new generation with an angular design and a more spacious cabin. Our XLT tester arrived with a price of $47,715 and a surprisingly short list of amenities.

Completing the field is the Chevrolet Traverse, the biggest three-row SUV in the segment. With gobs of cargo room and ample passenger space, the Traverse has been a popular model for Chevy. Our $47,990 Traverse Premier arrived with an easy-to-use 8.0-inch infotainment screen and a video rearview mirror, which can project a camera view onto the mirror in case passengers or cargo block your view.

3-row SUVs: Which has the best interior?

Even more than driving dynamics, buyers of big SUVs want convenience and space. But they also don’t want a crude box. Every day, you run errands, pick the kids up from school, and commute to work. That’s a lot of time inside your vehicle. And when you’re spending nearly $50,000 for an SUV, you want it to look and feel plush, spacious, and comfortable.

The Kia Telluride was the SUV with by far the most sumptuous interior. The quilted leather, spacious second row, and 10.25-inch touchscreen are all traits of today’s luxury-brand SUVs, but this one comes at a mainstream price. The Telluride also shines by virtue of its multiple smartly positioned USB ports in the first, second, and third rows. “Getting into the Telluride after the Highlander was like being upgraded to business class on a long flight,” features editor Christian Seabaugh said.

The price difference between the two is more than $5,000, but the upgrades go even beyond that. “All the buttons, knobs, and switches in the Telluride have the extra-premium feel you would expect from a higher-end brand,” editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin said.

In contrast, the Highlander’s driver position is so far inboard that the driver’s elbow won’t rest comfortably on the door-mounted armrest. Although it’s the newest entrant in the segment, we were let down by the Highlander’s old technology and very tight third row (only 27.7 inches of legroom, the smallest of the group). The infotainment system is slow and doesn’t look as new as the others—even the Pilot’s feels newer. Some of the buttons require a real reach, getting into the third row is a struggle, and once you’re back there, there are no USB ports. But we praised the Highlander’s deep and efficient trays for driver and passenger—an ideal place to put your phone, wallet, or keys.

We were most disappointed by the interior of the Explorer, which was rife with poor material choices, creaky joinery, and even exposed wires. “There’s an abuse of scratchy plastics on the doors and dash,” associate online editor Nick Yekikian said. “The leatherette feels like rubber. It’s almost mushy. The center console lid closes with a really unsatisfying clap.” Despite the materials, the Explorer’s third row is comfortable and spacious; even adults have enough legroom and headroom for short city drives.

The Hyundai Palisade differentiates itself from the Telluride with a push-button gear selector and an intriguing layout for the center console. There’s a lot of attention to detail, from the headliner that feels like the fanciest Egyptian cotton to the quilted leather on the door panels. Although the Telluride and Palisade are similar, we’d rather spend our time in the Telluride. “The Palisade is logical, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it attractive or premium,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “It’s just different to be different.”

The Subaru Ascent distinguishes itself from the group with its elegant mix of interior colors. The three-tone palette and faux wood on the door panels creates a relaxing atmosphere. “The material choice, quality, and color mix are all top-notch,” Seabaugh said. The infotainment screen is easy to use, and the excellent Harman Kardon stereo comes with the only CD player in the group. The Ascent offers good visibility, and it’s comfortable. But we prefer the Highlander’s dashboard trays, which aren’t as narrow or short and hold more stuff than the Ascent’s. The Ascent also comes with smart interior details, like the handles located on the shoulders of the second-row captain’s chairs’ seat backs to help you get in or out of the third row.

Sadly, the Mazda CX-9 does not share the Ascent’s roominess or ease of ingress/egress. Getting into the third row is a struggle, and your hair will get messed up when you try to fit yourself through the narrow passage. If you make it through, you’ll find yourself cramped. Our CX-9 was equipped with a center console for second-row passengers, but we found it useless and unnecessary. We also despise the infotainment system—the rotary knob interface is infuriating, and you can’t control the touchscreen when the SUV is moving.

Contrary to the Mazda, the Traverse has a capacious third row, fitting adults and still leaving enough room for cargo. Although we admired its infotainment system, we also noticed its uninspiring interior design and subpar material quality. “Chevy really needs to work on the tactile feel of its switchgear,” Seabaugh said. “All the knobs and levers feel so chintzy, like they’re going to crumble in my fingers.” Rechtin said the stereo sounded like “someone threw an iPhone into a trash can.” At least the A/C blows an Arctic blast right away.

European cars aren’t usually known for being the most spacious, but the Atlas is the exception. “Its third-row seating is excellent, even with the second-row seats fully back,” Rechtin said. “Ingress and egress are easy given the large rear door cut. Plus, enormous cargo space.” The Atlas offers the most legroom for third-row passengers. On the tech front, its infotainment system was easy to use, its digital cluster looks sharp, and its optional Fender stereo is crisp. But that’s where the good news ends. The faux wood trim is unconvincing, and the hard plastics in the second and third rows are appalling. VW may have focused too much on developing a spacious interior and forgotten about making an attractive one.

The midcycle refresh the Pilot received a couple of years ago brought an updated infotainment system with modern graphics and smart features like CabinTalk, which allows the driver to talk to their kids through the speakers (or headphones if they’re connected to the rear entertainment system). But design-wise, the Honda’s black-on-black interior looks dated and boring, especially when you compare it to the Subaru or the Korean cousins. We loved the deep and spacious center console and the ease of getting into and out of the third row, which is ample enough for city drives for adults.

3-row SUVs: Which has the best performance?

Although these players aren’t necessarily known for being great athletes, you’ll want an SUV that has enough punch to pass an 18-wheeler when necessary, a suspension that makes the ride pleasant, and enough sound
insulation that you can hear your kids in the back.

We headed to Southern California’s spectacular Palos Verdes Peninsula. Its twisty and hilly roads overlook the Pacific Ocean, and its neighboring streets and reachable freeway made it a great spot for vehicle evaluation.

If we were to award a gold medal for performance, ride, and handling, the Mazda CX-9 would be the champ. With its stiffer steering, well-balanced suspension, and peppy 2.5-liter turbo-four engine, the CX-9 delivers on Mazda’s “Driving Matters” mantra. “No SUV in this group is as engaging and—dare I say—rewarding to drive as the CX-9,” Seabaugh said. “Its steering is well weighted, accurate, and pure.” With 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, the CX-9 was tied for the torquiest SUV (along with Explorer), and its six-speed automatic transmission, though old, still gets the job done. Rechtin agreed: “It’s definitely the most entertaining drive of the bunch if you still want the feel of fun.”

Although 0-60 times are almost irrelevant for this segment, sometimes you need that extra giddyap. We were surprised to see the Honda Pilot winning the chase in 6.2 seconds. “Once the VTEC kicks in, this engine feels and sounds great,” Walton said. Its standard 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 produces 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, and its nine-speed automatic was updated for 2019 to make shifts smoother and downshifts quicker. It’s not perfect, but the gearbox feels like it has improved, though we wish it wouldn’t hunt for gears when going uphill. Yekikian noted a “squishy brake pedal that inspires little confidence,” but during our testing at the track, the Pilot tied for first (along with the Traverse and Highlander) in 60-0 braking, stopping in 116 feet.

Whereas most of the SUVs we tested were equipped with all-wheel drive, our Traverse was front-drive only. Its 3.6-liter V-6 is good for 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, making it the SUV with the most horsepower, and its nine-speed gearbox provided smooth shifts during our drive. We also enjoyed the steering precision and heft. But because it’s the largest SUV of the group, we noted plenty of body roll. Rechtin experienced awkward head toss even when going over smaller bumps, and he commented on the suspension undulations. And although its engine felt pretty powerful, it wheezed like an old-time Hoover vacuum with a full bag when asked for more power.

The virtually identical Koreans shine inside and out, but underneath they aren’t outstanding. The Telluride and the Palisade share the same powertrain—a 3.8-liter V-6 engine that delivers 291 hp and 262 lb-ft mated to an eight-speed gearbox. And although their performance numbers are nearly identical, they’re not top of the class. Seabaugh complained about the lack of low-end torque, and Walton described the transmission as “lackadaisical.”

In the real world, the Palisade’s ride feels stiffer and sportier than the Telluride’s plush suspension, and the Kia’s brakes outperformed the Hyundai’s. Neither feels slow, but a bump in horsepower and torque wouldn’t hurt.

If the Koreans need more power, the Highlander needs more road isolation. Whether it’s the wind or road noise, the Highlander’s cabin was pretty loud. Its eight-speed automatic and 295-hp, 263-lb-ft 3.5-liter V-6 are carried over from the previous generation. Seabaugh criticized the way the engine and the transmission played together (or rather, didn’t), adding that the “lack of powertrain refinement is far more galling than its complete and utter lack of steering feel.” Despite the harsh comments on the powertrain, we applauded the Highlander’s suspension, which delivered a smooth ride even through the tumbling, slow-motion landslide of Portuguese Bend.

The Subaru Ascent delivers lots of low-end torque, and its chassis tuning stood out during our road test. With a 2.4-liter turbo-four engine, the Ascent delivers 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, and it’s the only three-row SUV in this group that carries a CVT. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; the transmission and the engine work very well together, delivering power to the wheels with little lag. And just like we’ve experienced with the newest Subarus, ride and handling are some of the Ascent’s best traits. Walton complimented its sporty-for-the-segment ride, and Yekikian noted its composure and stability at high speeds. Although the Ascent won’t raise your eyebrows for how quick it is, Rechtin said its acceleration felt quicker than what its 0-60 time indicated.

If speed is your priority, the Volkswagen Atlas is not for you. It took 7.8 seconds to get to 60 mph—1.6 seconds behind the Pilot. Its 3.6-liter V-6 produces 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, but it doesn’t get along with its jerky eight-speed gearbox. Then there’s its ride—Yekikian felt carsick after he finished the 50-minute loop and begged not to drive the Atlas home that night. Rechtin noted more head toss than in other SUVs, and every judge commented on the lack of steering feel. “The lack of engineering excellence, quality, attention to detail, and design—all hallmarks of global VW products like the Golf—are truly galling in the North America-only Atlas,” Seabaugh said.

With its 2.3-liter turbo-four engine coupled to a 10-speed automatic, the Ford Explorer makes 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Ford offered us an Explorer with all-wheel drive, but because it was much more than our $50,000 limit, we instead took delivery of a rear-wheel-drive XLT. It might sound cool to say you have a rear-drive Explorer, but once you get behind the wheel, your perception could change. Its powertrain was poorly calibrated, and we all complained about its bouncy and unsettled ride. “On paper, this engine should be a winner, tied for the most torque of the group,” Walton said. “But in practice it ends up feeling lacking, its transmission slower to shift and less decisive.” On the freeway, every judge noticed its poor noise insulation, and our unit suffered from a whistle coming from the windshield during freeway driving, which speaks to the Explorer’s build quality.

3-row SUVs: Which is the safest?

The primary job of these SUVs is transporting your family safely. IIHS has data on all of these SUVs except the Highlander, which has not been tested as of this writing, but with the new safety standards for 2020, no three-row SUV received the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. To qualify for a 2020 Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick, vehicles must have Good ratings in each of the six crashworthiness tests and have Good or Acceptable headlights and available front crash prevention technologies.

The Palisade, Telluride, CX-9, and Ascent all received the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick award (the Traverse, Explorer, Pilot and Atlas did not), but the Chevy, Honda, and Volkswagen got five-star ratings—the best possible score—from NHTSA. (As of this writing, the Explorer has not been tested by NHTSA.)

Although we enjoyed the way the Ford’s smart cruise control adjusted to speed limits, it leaves just enough of a gap in front for other cars to cut you off. “The cruise braking takes a little long to react, and the turbo-four is slow to respond once a gap opens in front of you,” Rechtin said.

During our testing we also knocked the Traverse for not having adaptive cruise control; you can only set a distance alert for the automatic emergency braking system. The Pilot  received five stars from NHTSA but fell short from getting the 2020 Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. (The 2020 Pilot was tested and rewarded with a 2019 Top Safety Pick award, but it’s disqualified from earning a 2020 Top Safety Pick because it didn’t get a Good rating in the passenger-side small overlap crash test, a new requirement for this year.) Honda Sensing continues to be one of the best safety suites, and it’s standard on the Pilot. Lane keep assist kept the Pilot centered in its lane, and adaptive cruise control was easy to engage.

The Telluride’s lane keeping assist had trouble reading some of the lanes during the freeway portion of our drive, and we criticized its adaptive cruise control for having difficulties in stop-and-go traffic—something that new vehicles should perform flawlessly.

The CX-9 and Ascent joined the Hyundai and Kia in receiving the IIHS’ second highest honors, but we preferred the Subaru’s smart cruise control, which detected distant vehicles slowing down earlier than other systems.

Chevrolet Traverse Honda Pilot Mazda CX-9 Subaru Ascent Volkswagen Atlas
AVG STATE FEES $1,143 $1,170 $1,127 $1,138 $1,171
DEPRECIATION $24,621 (52%) $21,000 (45%) $24,079 (52%) $17,958 (41%) $22,986 (51%)
FINANCING $5,228 $5,079 $5,100 $4,835 $4,966
INSURANCE $6,535 $6,671 $8,412 $8,477 $8,063
FUEL $8,434 $8,375 $8,175 $8,175 $9,416
MAINTENANCE $3,351 $3,140 $3,428 $3,291 $3,069
REPAIRS $708 $719 $807 $862 $0
5-YEAR COST OF OWNERSHIP $50,020 $46,154 $51,128 $44,736 $49,671
INTELLICHOICE Target Purchase Price $38,136 $37,811 $40,439 $40,525 $34,531

3-row SUVs: Which is the best value?

There are many ways to look at value. Some SUVs have low starting sticker prices, which can give an impression of a smart purchase, but when you step up from the base trim and start adding options, you can find huge gaps in how much they’ll lighten your pocketbook relative to comparably equipped competitors.

The Explorer XLT starts at a tempting $37,770, but our model came with almost $10,000 in options, bumping its price to $47,715—yet the amount of cheap, black plastic on its grille, profile, mirror caps, and throughout its interior had us wandering if this was the work truck version. For that price, you’re better off with the Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride, which drive better, have more convenience features, look cooler, and have brilliant interiors.

The Toyota Highlander XLE, with its $42,320 sticker price, is a tremendous player in the value game. You get good bang for your buck, and in a Highlander, that really means something. The Toyota also comes with standard captain’s chairs in XLE and higher trims, whereas VW charges $695 extra for them, even in the top-trim Atlas SEL with the Premium package. Volkswagen’s Atlas looks sharp, but its value is not as strong.

Per IntelliChoice’s five-year cost of ownership analysis (depicted above), the Ascent tops the chart with the best retained value. Unfortunately, it’s too early to have data for the Telluride and Palisade, the newest nameplates in the segment, and Explorer and Highlander, which are all-new for 2020.

3-row SUVs: Which is the best?

After our look at all the players in the three-row SUV game, it became clear to us that if you have a big family or really need that third row and room for tons of stuff, a minivan is a better option.

No SUV can match the passenger room, cargo space, and utility that minivans offer. That said, despite not being as functional, the usability of three-row midsize crossovers has improved greatly. And they look better, too. But it ain’t just clever marketing that has boosted sales. SUVs are much more capable for families now than they were a decade ago. And the segment is more crowded than ever.

So which is the one to choose? Sometimes it depends on your priorities.

Despite its roominess, the VW Atlas‘ busy ride and handling and recalcitrant powertrain need improvement before it can be a strong player in this segment.

The same can be said for the Ford; although different powertrains are available, the combination of the 2.3-liter turbo with the 10-speed and rear-wheel drive delivered a terrible overall calibration. Its content-per-dollar also makes for a poor value proposition.

The Mazda CX-9 is the most fun to drive in this group, but for a family seeking spacious transportation, its tighter packaging makes it less appealing. Its aging technology doesn’t help, either.

The Chevrolet Traverse, on the other hand, offers a spacious cabin and modern infotainment system, but its weak safety features and cheap interior land it well down our roster.

The Toyota brings a strong value game and sharp interior design. However, the Highlander’s claustrophobic third row, outdated infotainment system, and thrashy powertrain relegated it to a disappointing finish.

Any of the vehicles in the top four places are worth considering. A solid new player, the Hyundai Palisade scored highly for its attention to detail, but its hard seats and harsh ride kept it off the podium. You won’t regret owning one, but there are better options.

The Honda Pilot has aged well, and the updated transmission and infotainment system erased our main quibbles over the past years’ models. Its packaging and value continue to be among the best in the segment.

The Subaru Ascent’s value, interior design, and spacious cabin helped it claim the silver medal. Shame about that exterior design, though.

Finally, the Telluride. It seems 2020 is the year for South Korea. Not only did Parasite take the top honors at the Oscars, but our reigning SUV of the Year also continues to outperform its competitors. Although it still has areas where it could improve, the Kia Telluride remains the best three-row family SUV you can buy today.

3-Row SUVs: Best and Worst

9th Place Volkswagen Atlas
It’s plenty spacious but has a ride that will make kids carsick. VW needs to improve its family SUV’s suspension.

8th Place Ford Explorer
It’s new to market, but the Ford seems like it was built ages ago. Its price ladder doesn’t speak well to value.

7th Place Mazda CX-9
Great power, ride, and handling, but that’s not why folks buy people haulers. It’s short of the traits that make a true family vehicle.

6th Place Chevrolet Traverse
A strong SUV just three years ago, the Traverse has suffered at the hands of the newer players in the segment. A rental car feel at a high price.

5th Place Toyota Highlander
The segment sales leader arrived with a cool new design, but a cramped third row and a thrashy powertrain hurt.

4th Place Hyundai Palisade
A smart value, the Palisade raises eyebrows at school plays and soccer practice. Ride is stiff for kids, though.

3rd Place Honda Pilot
The smartly packaged Pilot scores highly with its responsive suspension and direct steering feel.

2nd Place Subaru Ascent
It’s oddly styled, but once you see how spacious and capable it is, the Ascent checks many boxes. Plus: value.

1st Place Kia Telluride
Eye-catching design, an elegant interior, and excellent value. The Telluride doesn’t disappoint. A class above.

2020 Chevrolet Traverse Premiere (FWD) 2020 Ford Explorer XLT (RWD) 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition AWD
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD Front-engine, RWD Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl SOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 222.7 cu in/3,649 cc 138.1 cu in/2,264 cc 211.8 cu in/3,471 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 11.5:1 10.0:1 11.5:1
POWER (SAE NET) 310 hp @ 6,800 rpm 300 hp @ 5,500 rpm 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 266 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm 310 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
REDLINE 6,750 rpm 6,500 rpm 6,750 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 14.0 lb/hp 14.6 lb/hp 15.3 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic 10-speed automatic 9-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.49:1/2.16:1 3.58:1/2.58:1 4.33:1/2.08:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 17.3:1 16.5:1 16.0:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 3.3 3.1 3.1
BRAKES, F; R 12.6-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS 13.6-in vented disc; 12.6-in disc, ABS 12.6-in vented disc; 13.0-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum 8.5 x 20-in cast aluminum 9.5 x 20-in cast aluminum
TIRES 255/55R20 107H (M+S) Continental Cross Contact LX20 255/55R20 107H (M+S) Pirelli Scorpion Zero 245/50R20 102H (M+S) Continental CrossContact LX25
WHEELBASE 120.9 in 119.1 in 111.0 in
TRACK, F/R 67.3/67.0 in 66.9/66.9 in 66.3/66.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 204.3 x 78.6 x 70.7 in 198.8 x 78.9 x 69.9 in 196.5 x 78.6 x 70.6 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 7.5 in 7.9 in 7.3 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 13.3/21.3 deg 20.1/22.0 deg 19.7/20.8 deg
TURNING CIRCLE 39.0 ft 38.7 ft 39.4 ft
CURB WEIGHT 4,346 lb 4,367 lb 4,285 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 58/42% 50/50% 56/44%
TOWING CAPACITY 5,000 lb 5,300 lb 5,000 lb
HEADROOM, F/M/R 41.3/40.0/38.2 in 40.7/40.5/38.9 in 39.5/40.9/38.9 in
LEGROOM, F/M/R 41.0/38.4/33.5 in 43.0/39.0/32.2 in 40.9/38.4/31.9 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 62.1/62.2/57.5 in 61.8/61.9/54.6 in 62.0/62.0/57.6 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH F/M/R 98.2/57.8/23.0 cu ft 87.8/47.9/18.2 cu ft 82.1/46.0/16.0 cu ft
0-30 2.4 sec 2.2 sec 2.1 sec
0-40 3.5 3.5 3.2
0-50 4.7 5.0 4.6
0-60 6.4 6.8 6.2
0-70 8.1 9.1 8.1
0-80 10.4 11.8 10.6
0-90 13.0 15.5 13.4
0-100 16.7 17.3
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.2 3.6 3.3
QUARTER MILE 14.8 sec @ 94.9 mph 15.3 sec @ 89.6 mph 14.7 sec @ 93.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 116 ft 121 ft 116 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.81 g (avg) 0.81 g (avg) 0.79 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.2 sec @ 0.64 g (avg) 27.7 sec @ 0.64 g (avg) 27.6 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,750 rpm 1,600 rpm 1,500 rpm
BASE PRICE $46,995 $37,770 $50,740
PRICE AS TESTED $47,990 $47,715 $50,740
AIRBAGS 7: Dual front, front side, front center, f/m/r curtain 8: Dual front, front side, front knee, f/m/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/35,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 3 yrs/35,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 19.4 gal 17.9 gal 19.5 gal
5 x 25-MI LOOP, VEH. REPORTED* 19.7 mpg 18.9 mpg 21.2 mpg
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB Not tested 20.1/29.4/23.5 mpg 19.1/28.2/22.3 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 18/27/21 mpg 21/28/24 mpg 19/26/22 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 187/125 kW-hrs/100 miles 160/120 kW-hrs/100 miles 177/130 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.92 lb/mile 0.82 lb/mile 0.90 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular Unleaded regular
*Onboard trip computer averages

2020 Hyundai Palisade HTRAC (Limited) 2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD 2020 Mazda CX-9 Sg AWD
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Atkinson-cycle 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Atkinson-cycle 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 230.6 cu in/3,778 cc 230.6 cu in/3,778 cc 151.9 cu in/2,488 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 13.0:1 13.0:1 10.5:1
POWER (SAE NET) 291 hp @ 6,000 rpm 291 hp @ 6,000 rpm 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
REDLINE 6,750 rpm 6,500 rpm 6,300 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 15.3 lb/hp 15.5 lb/hp 19.1 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.65:1/2.36:1 3.65:1/2.36:1 4.41:1/2.65:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 15.6:1 15.6:1 17.6:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.9 2.9 3.1
BRAKES, F; R 13.4-in vented disc; 12.0-in disc, ABS 13.4-in vented disc; 12.0-in disc, ABS 12.6-in vented disc; 12.8-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 7.5 x 20-in cast aluminum 7.5 x 20-in, cast aluminum 8.5 x 20-in cast aluminum
TIRES 245/50R20 102V (M+S) Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS 245/50R20 102V (M+S) Michelin Primacy Tour A/S 255/50R20 104V (M+S) Falken Ziex CT50 A/S
WHEELBASE 114.2 in 114.2 in 115.3 in
TRACK, F/R 67.2/67.6 in 67.2/67.6 in 65.3/65.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.1 x 77.8 x 68.9 in 196.9 x 78.3 x 68.9 in 199.4 x 77.5 x 67.6 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 7.9 in 8.0 in 8.8 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 18.5/21.2 deg 17.0/20.9 deg 17.7/20.0 deg
TURNING CIRCLE 38.7 ft 38.8 ft 38.8 ft
CURB WEIGHT 4,459 lb 4,510 lb 4,333 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 56/44% 55/45% 55/45%
TOWING CAPACITY 5,000 lb 5,000 lb 3,500 lb
HEADROOM, F/M/R 39.3/38.3/37.2 in 39.5/38.8/37.8 in 39.3/38.5/35.4 in
LEGROOM, F/M/R 44.1/42.4/31.4 in 44.1/42.4/31.4 in 41.0/39.4/29.7 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 61.2/60.8/55.2 in 61.6/59.9/55.3 in 57.9/58.1/53.1 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH F/M/R 86.4/45.8/18.0 cu ft 87.0/46.0/21.0 cu ft 71.2/38.1/14.4 cu ft
0-30 2.5 sec 2.5 sec 2.4 sec
0-40 3.8 3.9 3.6
0-50 5.1 5.2 5.1
0-60 7.1 7.2 7.1
0-70 9.1 9.3 9.3
0-80 11.3 11.5 12.3
0-90 14.5 14.5 15.6
0-100 17.7 19.7
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.7 3.7 3.8
QUARTER MILE 15.3 sec @ 89.1 mph 15.4 sec @ 92.9 mph 15.5 sec @ 89.7 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 129 ft 118 ft 121 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.74 g (avg) 0.80 g (avg) 0.85 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.3 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) 27.3 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) 27.1 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,700 rpm 1,600 rpm 1,900 rpm
BASE PRICE $47,745 $44,960 $47,315
PRICE AS TESTED $48,205 $47,585 $47,715
AIRBAGS 7: Dual front, front side, driver knee, f/m/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 10 yrs/100,000 miles 10 yrs/100,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/Unlimited miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 18.8 gal 18.8 gal 19.5 gal
5 x 25-MI LOOP, VEH. REPORTED* 19.2 mpg 19.7 mpg 17.4 mpg
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 20.2/29.9/23.7 mpg 18.6/31.0/22.7 mpg 17.3/28.3/21.0 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 19/24/21 mpg 19/24/21 mpg 20/26/23 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 177/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 169/130 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.93 lb/mile 0.93 lb/mile 0.87 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular Unleaded regular
*Onboard trip computer averages

2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2020 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD 2019 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL 4Motion
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged flat-4, alum block/heads Atkinson-cycle 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads 10.6-deg V-6, iron block/alum head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 145.7 cu in/2,387 cc 210.9 cu in/3,456 cc 219.6 cu in/3,598 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.6:1 11.8:1 12.0:1
POWER (SAE NET) 260 hp @ 5,600 rpm 295 hp @ 6,600 rpm 276 hp @ 6,200 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 277 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm 263 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm 266 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm
REDLINE 6,000 rpm 6,750 rpm 6,000 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 17.7 lb/hp 14.9 lb/hp 17.1 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.44:1/2.08:1 3.00:1/2.02:1 3.60:1/2.41:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 13.5:1 14.2:1 16.3:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.6 2.8 2.8
BRAKES, F; R 13.1-in vented disc; 13.0-in vented disc, ABS 13.3-in vented disc; 13.3-in disc, ABS 13.2-in vented disc; 12.2-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 7.5 x 20-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 18-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum
TIRES 245/50R20 102H (M+S) Falken Ziex ZE001 A/S 235/65R18 106V (M+S) Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S 255/50R20 105T (M+S) Continental CrossContact LX Sport
WHEELBASE 113.8 in 112.2 in 117.3 in
TRACK, F/R 64.4/64.2 in 65.3/65.4 in 67.2/67.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.8 x 76.0 x 71.6 in 194.9 x 76.0 x 68.1 in 198.3 x 78.3 x 70.0 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 8.7 in 8.0 in 8.0 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 17.6/21.8 deg 17.9/23.0 deg 20.4/22.4 deg
TURNING CIRCLE 38.0 ft 37.4 ft 38.1 ft
CURB WEIGHT 4,594 lb 4,398 lb 4,725 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 54/46% 54/46% 55/45%
TOWING CAPACITY 5,000 lb 5,000 lb 5,000 lb
HEADROOM, F/M/R 40.1/38.7/36.3 in 38.4/39.4/36.1 in 41.3/40.4/38.3 in
LEGROOM, F/M/R 42.2/38.6/31.7 in 40.4/41.0/27.7 in 41.5/37.6/33.7 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 61.1/60.3/57.2 in 59.0/58.7/55.0 in 61.5/60.8/54.9 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH F/M/R 86.0/47.0/17.6 cu ft 84.3/48.4/16.0 cu ft 96.8/55.5/20.6 cu ft
0-30 2.9 sec 2.5 sec 2.7 sec
0-40 4.0 4.0 4.0
0-50 5.5 5.4 5.6
0-60 7.3 7.2 7.8
0-70 9.6 9.6 10.1
0-80 12.4 12.1 12.9
0-90 16.1 14.9 16.5
0-100 20.4 19.1
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.7 3.7 4.1
QUARTER MILE 15.8 sec @ 89.2 mph 15.6 sec @ 91.5 mph 15.9 sec @ 88.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 118 ft 116 ft 121 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.80 g (avg) 0.82 g (avg) 0.84 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.4 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) 27.4 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) 27.1 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,500 rpm 1,400 rpm 1,800 rpm
BASE PRICE $46,055 $42,320 $44,190
PRICE AS TESTED $47,017 $42,320 $49,390
AIRBAGS 7: Dual front, front side, driver knee, f/m/r curtain 8: Dual front, front side, driver knee, front-pass thigh, f/m/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 6 yrs/72,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 6 yrs/72,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles 2 yrs/Unlimited miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 19.3 gal 17.9 gal 18.6 gal
5 x 25-MI LOOP, VEH. REPORTED* 17.7 mpg 18.1 mpg 16.7 mpg
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB Not tested 20.3/30.6/23.9 mpg 16.4/25.8/19.6 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 20/26/22 mpg 20/27/23 mpg 17/23/19 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 169/130 kW-hrs/100 miles 169/125 kW-hrs/100 miles 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.87 lb/mile 0.86 lb/mile 1.01 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular Unleaded regular
*Onboard trip computer averages

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