The Kia Telluride made quite the impact on the automotive industry when it was first introduced in 2019, instantly establishing itself as a fan favorite.
Its popularity has endured over the years, as evidenced by its continuous placement at the top of Edmunds’ esteemed list of the best midsize three-row SUVs.
Building upon its success, the Telluride underwent a series of upgrades in the previous year, encompassing both cosmetic enhancements and technological advancements.
However, in the midst of the Telluride’s reign, another contender emerges, eager to vie for the attention of SUV enthusiasts: the all-new 2024 Mazda CX-90.
Positioned to supplant Mazda’s CX-9 model as the brand’s largest SUV offering, the CX-90 commands attention with its sleek aesthetics, invigorating performance, and the promise of a sophisticated interior ambience.
As automotive enthusiasts ponder the prospects of a new reigning champion, Edmunds’ experts undertook a comprehensive comparison of the two SUVs to determine whether the CX-90 possesses the necessary qualities to surpass the 2024 Telluride’s exceptional standing.
COMFORT AND INTERIOR
Mazda has long been striving to establish itself as a luxury brand, and this commitment is evident in the CX-90. The interior of the CX-90 exudes a sense of quality craftsmanship and opulence, making it a truly inviting space.
One notable feature is the presence of numerous physical buttons that control major functions, all of which are thoughtfully labeled and conveniently positioned for easy access and quick identification. This design element allows for effortless operation, as drivers can intuitively navigate the vehicle’s various features without any confusion or distraction.
Moreover, the driver and passenger seats are exceptionally comfortable, making long drives a pleasurable experience. With the ability to accommodate up to eight passengers, the CX-90 is a versatile vehicle for larger groups.
However, it is worth noting that the second and third rows of seating offer slightly less passenger space compared to the Telluride, a rival in the luxury SUV segment.
Nonetheless, the CX-90’s overall commitment to luxury and attention to detail make it a compelling choice for those seeking a refined and enjoyable driving experience.
When it comes to evaluating the comfort factor, it is worth noting that both vehicles, namely the CX-90 and the Telluride, offer rides that can be described as comfortable.
However, it is important to highlight that the CX-90’s ride may feel slightly stiffer when encountering potholes, especially when it is equipped with larger wheels.
On the other hand, our expert test team has showered praise upon the Telluride for its remarkable qualities, including the presence of supportive and impeccably contoured seats, which contribute to an enhanced level of comfort.
Additionally, the Telluride also stands out with its impressively quiet cabin while driving on the highway. Furthermore, in terms of cargo space, the Telluride has an edge over the CX-90 by offering a greater amount of storage area.
By folding down the third-row seats, the Telluride provides a considerable 46 cubic feet of available space, in contrast to the CX-90’s 40.1 cubic feet.
This discrepancy in cargo capacity further solidifies the Telluride’s position as a more practical and versatile option for individuals who prioritize ample storage capacity in their vehicles.
Winner: Mazda CX-90
PERFORMANCE AND MPG
Mazda embodies the essence of a luxury-leaning automaker, cultivating a discerning approach to design and performance that sets them apart.
Despite this commitment to opulence, Mazda’s unwavering drive for superior driving dynamics remains steadfast. Within the prestigious CX-90 model, Mazda offers a tantalizing selection of three engines to cater to the diverse preferences of its esteemed clientele.
These options include two powerful inline six-cylinder engines, ingeniously engineered to produce 280 horsepower and 340 horsepower respectively, as well as a remarkable plug-in hybrid four-cylinder, effortlessly generating a formidable 323 horsepower.
Of note, the plug-in hybrid variant provides the additional benefit of enabling approximately 26 miles of electric-only travel before seamlessly transitioning into regular hybrid operation.
In contrast, Kia adopts a more straightforward approach with the Telluride, offering a single engine option in the form of a robust 291-horsepower V6 configuration.
Regrettably, Kia chooses not to provide an option for a hybrid powertrain. In comprehensive testing conducted by the esteemed experts at Edmunds, the 340-horsepower CX-90 eclipsed the Telluride in terms of acceleration, achieving the remarkable feat of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph a full second quicker than its counterpart.
The CX-90 triumphantly achieved this impressive feat in a mere 6.5 seconds, while the Telluride lagged behind marginally, completing the same acceleration in 7.5 seconds.
Furthermore, it must be highlighted that the CX-90’s handling characteristics exude an aura of unparalleled stability and confidence when navigating demanding corners, elevating the driving experience to new heights of satisfaction and enjoyment.
In addition to its impressive features and luxurious design, the CX-90 distinguishes itself from its competitors with its exceptional fuel efficiency.
As confirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the CX-90, equipped with standard all-wheel drive, achieves an impressive 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in combined city and highway driving conditions.
This remarkable fuel efficiency not only contributes to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly driving experience, but also allows drivers to save on fuel costs in the long run.
On the other hand, the Telluride, another notable contender in the market, falls slightly behind with a combined fuel efficiency rating of 20 mpg when equipped with all-wheel drive.
It is worth noting that the EPA has not yet provided a rating for the plug-in hybrid engine option available on the CX-90, further highlighting the innovative and cutting-edge nature of this vehicle.
Winner: Mazda CX-90
When comparing both of these SUVs, it becomes evident that they are well equipped with a range of standard advanced driver aids.
These aids include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, and blind-spot warning, all of which contribute to enhancing the safety of the vehicles.
Moreover, if desired, potential buyers have the option to include additional features, such as a surround-view camera system, which greatly facilitate the parking process. Put to the test, these systems have proven to function efficiently, effectively minimizing false alerts.
Stepping inside the Telluride, one is greeted by a spacious cabin outfitted with a 12.3-inch center touchscreen, complete with user-friendly and intuitive controls.
This touchscreen not only provides convenience but also boasts support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, ensuring seamless connectivity for drivers.
Kia has prioritized simplicity and usability in the design of this vehicle, recognizing the contemporary need for technology that is both straightforward and easy to navigate.
The CX-90, a remarkable vehicle, offers a range of impressive features that elevate the driving experience to new heights. One such feature is the inclusion of a 10- or 12-inch screen, depending on the trim level, which provides a visually stunning display for all your infotainment needs.
Additionally, Mazda has gone above and beyond by ensuring seamless smartphone connectivity, allowing drivers to effortlessly integrate their mobile devices with the CX-90’s system.
This wireless connectivity is a testament to Mazda’s commitment to providing cutting-edge technology.
In contrast, the Telluride, while also offering smartphone connectivity, requires users to connect their phones using a USB cord.
This slight inconvenience may be seen as a drawback for those seeking a more streamlined and convenient experience. Moreover, it should be noted that the ease of use of the CX-90’s infotainment system falls slightly short when compared to the Telluride’s.
While both vehicles excel in their own right, it is clear that the CX-90 offers a more advanced and user-friendly infotainment system, solidifying its position as a top contender in the market.
The immense appeal of the Mazda CX-90 lineup lies not only in its remarkable performance and stunning design, but also in its ability to seamlessly integrate luxury features that rival those offered by renowned luxury car manufacturers.
With a price range spanning from $40,970 to $61,325, the higher trims of the CX-90 effortlessly transcend into the realm of opulence.
The CX-90 line boasts an impressive array of choices with three engines and five trims, enabling prospective buyers to select the perfect configuration to suit their preferences and needs.
By investing in the CX-90, consumers are bound to enjoy an exceptional level of value for their hard-earned money. On the other hand, the Telluride—an equally captivating option—generally offers a more cost-effective alternative to the CX-90 without compromising on sophistication.
Ranging from $37,355 to $54,550, the Telluride lineup manages to deliver a higher-end experience at a more accessible price point.
Furthermore, Kia’s commitment to customer satisfaction is evident in their provision of longer basic and powertrain warranties, which serve to enhance the appeal and overall value of the Telluride.
Winner: Kia Telluride
The CX-90, with its upscale design and enjoyable driving experience, is undoubtedly an appealing option for those in search of a three-row SUV. Moreover, the availability of a plug-in hybrid model further enhances its appeal.
However, when comparing it to its competitors, the Kia Telluride emerges as the clear leader. The Telluride boasts significant advantages in terms of space, comfort, and value, which are ultimately the key factors that Edmunds’ car experts deem most crucial.
While the CX-90 may excel in certain areas, it is the overall package offered by the Telluride that sets it apart and solidifies its position as the top choice in this comparison.