If you need an SUV with three rows of seating, you’re not stuck buying a full-size bus-length vehicle with poor gas mileage. There are some excellent midsize SUVs available with a third row of seats at reasonable prices with decent gas mileage. Two of the best are the Kia Telluride (our Best Buy Award winner in its class three years running) and the Jeep Grand Cherokee L – a stretched version of the iconic Grand Cherokee.
Let’s look at reasons why a buyer might be attracted to each.
2023 Kia Telluride
The Kia Telluride is simply one of the hottest vehicles in America. Car dealers used to try to keep a six-week supply of new cars to sell. For much of the 2023 model year, Kia dealers have had trouble keeping a Telluride on the lot for a second week. With a spacious, thoughtful cabin, a strong V6 engine and a long feature list, the 2023 Telluride is a hit. Prices start at $35,690.
Kia Telluride Highlights
More cargo space: This is a comparison between the normal size Telluride and the stretched version of the Grand Cherokee. And the Telluride has more cargo space. That’s quite a feat.
Lower price, no less content: The Telluride’s starting price is nearly $8,000 less than the Grand Cherokee L’s. Nevertheless, it is no less well equipped. The base LX trim adds niceties like one-touch sliding and folding rear seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and even a rear passenger safety system, all at no extra cost.
Excellent warranty: Kia protects your investment with a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Even their bumper-to-bumper warranty is longer than what Jeep offers.
Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see Telluride models for sale near you
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Jeep practically invented the modern mid-size SUV. The 2-row Grand Cherokee is one of America’s 25 best sellers almost every year for many good reasons. For the 2023 model year, Jeep offers a 3-row version, the Grand Cherokee L, with the usual off-road capability and a tailored, upscale look. Prices start at $43,530.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L Highlights
Available V8: The standard V6 engine in these two SUVs is close enough in performance to make little difference. But Jeep is letting buyers step up to a 357-horsepower V8. Jeep is your best bet if you need (or just prefer) more grunt on your drive.
Available towing capacity of 7,200 pounds: Properly equipped, the Telluride can tow up to 5,500 pounds. The Grand Cherokee L can do it without breaking a sweat. It maxes out at a whopping 7,200. If your SUV will tow a boat or RV regularly, the Grand Cherokee L will have it much easier.
Terrain Skills: Kia has introduced two off-road-oriented versions of the Telluride this year, but neither measures up to the more trail-capable Grand Cherokee L. Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4-wheel-drive system might be the best in the business, with an electronic limited-slip differential sliding and real sliding plates. The Telluride X-Line and X-Pro perform better on the trails than you might expect. But if your SUV will see as much dirt as tarmac, you might want Jeep’s proven off-road reputation.
Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see Grand Cherokee L models for sale near you.
Both SUVs come with a standard V6 and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both are available in off-road-oriented trims, and they’re two of the best-looking midsize SUVs.
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L does what a Jeep usually does—offers excellent off-road performance and near-luxury features if you’re willing to pay for them. But so does the 2023 Kia Telluride, with a little more room for less money. If you need to tow, or will be spending as much time off-road as on, the Grand Cherokee L may still be your best bet. But in many cases, Telluride is the best at a lower price.
|2023 Kia Telluride||2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L|
|Estimated starting price||$35,690||$43,530|
|Engine||3.8-liter V6||3.6-liter V6|
|Horsepower||291 hp at 6,000 rpm||293 at 6,400 rpm|
|Torque||262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm||260 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm|
|Transfer||8-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|Fuel economy||20 city/26 highway/23 combined mpg||19 city/26 highway (FWD), 18 city/25 highway (AWD)|
|Also available||AWD||5.7-liter V8, 4WD|
|Basic warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain warranty||10 years/100,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|NHTSA overall safety||5 stars||n/a|
|Max seating capacity||8||7|
|Wheelbase||114.2 inches||121.7 inches|
|Total length||196.9 inches||204.9 inches|
|Width||78.3 inches||77.3 inches|
|Height||68.9 inches||71.5 inches|
|Twist diameter||38.8 feet||38.3 feet|
|Standing height, 1st row||39.5 inches||39.8 inches|
|Standing height, 2nd row||38.8 inches||39.9 inches|
|Standing height, 3rd row||37.8 inches||37.3 inches|
|Legroom, 1st row||41.4 inches||41.3 inches|
|Legroom, 2nd row||42.4 inches||39.4 inches|
|Legroom, 3rd row||31.4 inches||30.3 inches|
|Shoulder room, 1st row||61.6 inches||58.0 inches|
|Shoulder room, 2nd row||59.9 inches||51.9 inches|
|Shoulder room, 3rd row||55.3 inches||51.9 inches|
|Cargo volume||21.0/46.0/87.0 cubic feet||17.2/46.9/84.6 cubic feet|