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Toyota 4Runner vs Kia Telluride: [ See The Differences ] – Updated

Toyota 4Runner vs Kia Telluride: [ See The Differences ] – Updated

Car buyers looking for a new SUV often have a hard time choosing between the Toyota 4Runner and Kia Telluride, both of which are extremely popular. In this regard, one might want to note that while the Toyota 4Runner first hit the road back in 1984, the Kia Telluride made its debut in 2019.

Despite the latter being a much newer car, the Toyota 4Runner is a close competitor due to its excellent performance and reliability. So, which of the two is actually a better choice for you? Let us take a look.

Toyota 4Runner vs. Kia Telluride: Which one is better?

Honestly, comparing a Toyota 4Runner to a Kia Telluride is similar to comparing apples to oranges. While they both are SUVs, they are completely different and excel in separate purposes.

The 4Runner is a powerful, dated, and rugged SUV capable of tackling rough terrains with ease. The Telluride is a much more sophisticated family SUV offering a great deal of luxury and fuel efficiency.

For most people, the Telluride is a better choice as it offers a much more comfortable ride and relatively modern features.

Toyota 4Runner would be a better choice for those who plan to go off-roading with the SUV. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you need the car for everyday use or on city roads or off-road trips.

Differences between Toyota 4Runner vs. Kia Telluride

Considering that Toyota 4Runner and Kia Telluride are two completely different types of SUVs, it’s only normal that there would be plenty of differences between the two.

Knowing about them will enable you to make an informed purchase where you can be 100% sure about your choice. Let’s see which one between the two SUVs is a better choice under different parameters.


A Kia Telluride is a relatively more economical option than a 4Runner, both in terms of the initial price and long-term costs. Let us start by comparing their prices. The 2021 4Runner’s price ranges from USD 37,515 to USD 51,645, while a 2021 Kia Telluride comes between USD 33,160 and USD 43,360. This essentially makes the Kia Telluride a more affordable SUV, especially if you are going for the top trims.

A Kia Telluride is typically cheaper to insure than a 4Runner as well. Moreover, it also happens to be much more fuel-efficient. A Toyota 4Runner delivers 16 MPG of mileage on city streets and 19 MPG on highways.

The fuel mileage of a Kia Telluride ranges from 20 MPG on city streets to 26 MPG on highways in the two-wheel-drive mode. In the case of four-wheel-drive, you’d get 19 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on highways.

Hence, Kia Telluride clearly beats Toyota 4Runner in being a cost-effective and affordable SUV.

Engine and performance

As we mentioned earlier, Toyota 4Runner offers better performance in off-road terrains while a Kia Telluride is much better on regular roads. The 4Runner runs on a 4.0-liter V6 engine, while the Telluride has a 3.6-liter Lambda v6 engine.

The latter delivers significantly more horsepower – 291 HP compared to the 4Runner’s 270 HP. A Kia Telluride also accelerates much faster, going from 0 to 100 MPH in 17.8 seconds. A Toyota 4Runner, on the other hand, takes 22 seconds.

The Toyota 4Runner engine does have one advantage over the Kia Telluride engine – it generates greater torque. While a base model 4Runner delivers 278 lb.-ft. of torque, a base model Kia Telluride offers 262 lb.-ft.

Such higher torque is one of the factors that make the 4Runner more capable at handling rough terrains. Overall, the Telluride is still a more powerful car in general.

In this regard, you might want to note that in most cases, the more powerful an engine is, the more fuel it consumes to run. The fact that this isn’t the case for Kia Telluride, which offers more power as well as greater fuel efficiency than the 4Runner, makes it the winner in this aspect.

Off-road capabilities

The Kia Telluride is a powerful SUV capable of handling off-road terrains, but it’s nowhere as good as the 4Runner.

In fact, Toyota 4Runner is one of the best off-road SUVs, designed specifically to tackle rough terrains. It has a rugged, truck-like structure with 9.6 inches of ground clearance to drive seamlessly over rocky and bumpy surfaces.

Certain trims also have a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can automatically adjust the suspension to enable extra wheel articulation.

In case you choose a Toyota 4Runner with a four-wheel drive, it will also come with a feature called A-Trac. This feature sends more power to the wheels that have more traction, making it surprisingly easy to climb over obstacles.

However, do not assume that Kia Telluride is bad for off-road driving. Although the manufacturers didn’t design it exactly for the purpose.

While it’s not as good as the 4Runner at off-roading, the Telluride is still among the best SUVs in the crossover segment. With eight inches of ground clearance, an underbody skid plate, and an all-wheel-drive, it’s quite capable of hitting the trails.

While both SUVs can handle off-road terrains, the 4Runner is much better at it.


Both Toyota and Kia have equipped 4Runner and Telluride with plenty of safety features respectively. The two cars share several common safety features, such as child safety locks, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, electronic stability systems, etc.

However, Kia Telluride is safer to drive, with a number of additional and sophisticated features for enhanced safety. For instance, it offers a blind-spot warning system that uses sensors to warn the driver of objects that can’t be seen using the rear and side view mirrors.

A Toyota 4Runner has a body-on frame. However, there are no frame members above the floor. However, a Kia Telluride uses a three-dimensional high-strength frame to create a safety cell around the passenger compartment. In addition to offering extra protection from impact, it also provides a sturdy base where you can mount side impact beams.

As per the test results of the 35 MPH frontal collision test carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, both cars have earned four stars for driver safety. However, 4Runner scored only three stars for passenger safety, while the Telluride got four stars.

Quite essentially, it’s safer to ride a Kia Telluride than a Toyota 4Runner, and is definitely more suitable as a family car.

Comfort and infotainment

Once again, Kia Telluride beats Toyota 4Runner hands down. Don’t get us wrong, Toyota has indeed infused the 4Runner with an excellent infotainment system too.

It has an 8-inch touchscreen that can connect to Apple CarPlay and Android AutoTM.  However, Kia Telluride beats it with a robust infotainment system that includes a 12.6-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android AutoTM, onboard Wi-Fi, in-dash navigation, wireless smartphone charging, and more.

The interior of a Kia Telluride is far more lavish and comfortable than that of a Toyota 4Runner. One of the downsides of the 4Runner is that its interiors come covered in plastic.

Moreover, a Toyota 4Runner doesn’t exactly offer a very smooth ride – it often gets quite jarring even on city streets. You’d get to enjoy a much cushier ride in a Kia Telluride.

This is yet another factor that makes the Kia Telluride a better choice if you are looking for a family hauler.

Similarities of Toyota 4Runner vs. Kia Telluride

Although both Toyota 4Runner and Kia Telluride are popular SUVs, they do not share a lot of similarities. As pointed out earlier, these are two completely different types of cars with different intended purposes.

They do share certain commonalities, such as safety features like frontal collision braking, child safety locks, etc. Both SUVs can handle mild off-road tracks without a lot of rocky terrain, although only the 4Runner is capable of tackling rougher terrains.

Is 4Runner more comfortable than Telluride?

Toyota 4Runner certainly can’t beat Kia Telluride in comfort. The latter delivers a cushy and comfortable ride, while the former focuses more on tackling rough terrains without a lot of emphasis on comfort.

Besides having much more comfortable interiors, Telluride also offers a remote starting system. This means you can start up your car and get the climate system to automatically heat or cool the interior before you even leave your house.

Kia Telluride is also much more spacious than Toyota 4Runner. Firstly, it can accommodate eight people, while a 4Runner can accommodate seven if you choose a three-row seating trim.

Secondly, the Telluride offers much more headroom, legroom, shoulder room, hip room, etc. This evidently makes the Kia Telluride much more comfortable than the Toyota 4Runner.

Is the Telluride and 4Runner the same?

Kia Telluride and Toyota 4Runner certainly aren’t the same vehicle. Not only are they separate models from two different brands, but they also happen to be entirely different types of SUVs.

The Telluride is a truck-based SUV designed to tackle rough, off-road terrains. The 4Runner is a modern crossover SUV designed for an optimum blend of comfort, performance, and efficiency. It’s easy to remove one of them from your list of potential options based on how you plan to use the car.

Is 4Runner and Telluride same frame?

Despite the fact that both the 4Runner and the Telluride manifest a strong look, they do not share the same frame. Toyota 4Runner uses a body-on-frame designed on a truck platform.

On the other hand, Kia Telluride is a unibody crossover SUV. The Telluride’s frame is more robust and offers better impact protection for the passengers.

Is the Telluride or 4Runner safer?

Between the two SUVs, the Telluride is a much safer choice. It comes with a host of sophisticated safety and driver-assist features that are absent in the 4Runner.

Of course, the 4Runner does have various great features as well and isn’t an unsafe vehicle. It’s just that a Kia Telluride happens to be a much better option in this aspect.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has granted Kia Telluride’s Forward Collision Avoidance system six points. Contrarily, the 4Runner scored Zero, which indicates its collision avoidance system isn’t very effective.


Quite clearly, Kia Telluride is a much better choice for most buyers, i.e., those looking for a family hauler for everyday transport. In fact, Kia Telluride has also bagged the 2020 World Car of the Year Award.

This doesn’t mean that Toyota 4Runner isn’t a good SUV – it simply serves a different purpose. In fact, the 4Runner is still among the top choices for individuals looking for an SUV for off-road driving.

Hence, the choice is rather easy. If you need a highly capable and reliable off-roader, go for Toyota 4Runner. If you are looking for a lavish and spacious SUV with excellent performance, Kia Telluride is the right one for you.