If you need an SUV with three rows of seating, you’re not stuck buying a bus-length full-size vehicle with poor gas mileage. There are some excellent midsize SUVs available with a third row of seating 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 in a row) and the Jeep Grand Cherokee L – a stretched version of the iconic Grand Cherokee.
Let’s look at reasons 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 6-week supply of new cars to sell. For much of the 2023 model year, Kia dealers have had trouble holding a Telluride on the lot for a second week. With a roomy, well-thought-out 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, not lesser content: The Telluride’s starting price is almost $8,000 lower than the Grand Cherokee L’s. Yet it’s no less well-equipped. The base LX trim brings niceties like one-touch sliding and folding rear seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and even a rear-occupant alert safety system, all at no added 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 the Telluride models for sale near you
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Jeep practically invented the modern midsize SUV. The 2-row Grand Cherokee is one of America’s 25 best-sellers almost every year for a lot of good reasons. For the 2023 model year, Jeep offers a 3-row version, the Grand Cherokee L, with the usual off-road prowess 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 are close enough in performance to make little difference. But Jeep lets buyers step up to a 357-horsepower V8. The Jeep is your best choice if you need (or just prefer) more grunt on your drive.
Available 7,200-pound towing capacity: Properly equipped, the Telluride can tow up to 5,500 pounds. The Grand Cherokee L can do that without breaking a sweat. It maxes out at a full 7,200. If your SUV will be pulling a boat or camper regularly, the Grand Cherokee L will have a far easier time of it.
Off-road skills: Kia has introduced two off-road-oriented versions of the Telluride this year, but neither stacks up to the most trail-capable Grand Cherokee L. Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4-wheel-drive system may be the best in the business, with an electronic limited-slip differential and real skid plates. The Telluride X-Line and X-Pro acquit themselves better on the trail than you might expect. But if your SUV will see as much dirt as asphalt, you might want Jeep’s proven off-road reputation.
Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the 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 dressiest-looking midsize SUVs.
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L does what a Jeep tends to do – 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 space for less money. If you need to tow, or will spend as much time off-road as on, the Grand Cherokee L might still be your best bet. But in many circumstances, the Telluride bests it for 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 @ 6,000 rpm||293 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque||262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm||260 pound-feet @ 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission||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|
|Overall Length||196.9 inches||204.9 inches|
|Width||78.3 inches||77.3 inches|
|Height||68.9 inches||71.5 inches|
|Turning Diameter||38.8 feet||38.3 feet|
|Headroom, 1st row||39.5 inches||39.8 inches|
|Headroom, 2nd row||38.8 inches||39.9 inches|
|Headroom, 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|