A Fully Loaded 2021 Kia Telluride Is Comparable to Some Luxury SUVs

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Kia does not have a reputation for luxury. Despite a recent rebranding, the South Korean automaker maintains a relatively affordable lineup. The Kia Telluride is no exception—unless you upgrade to the fully loaded SX trim.
Within its non-luxury midsize SUV category, the Telluride’s $33,200 price tag sits somewhere in the middle of its peers. But if you jump to the SX model, you’ll pay between $42,500 and $55,000—the same base price range of many luxury models.
So what should you do? Deck out a Kia Telluride or buy the base model Buick Enclave or Volvo XC90? While no one can make that decision for you, a few key factors might help you decide.
A black 2021 Kia Telluride Nightfall edition on display
Can the 2021 Kia Telluride really compare to true luxury SUVs?

How luxurious is the 2021 Kia Telluride SX?

Besides the driver assistance package that comes with all Tellurides, the SX model also has a 12-way power driver’s seat, black-painted 20-inch rims, blind-spot monitoring, a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, front and rear sunroofs, and captain’s chairs for the second row.
According to Kelley Blue Book, Kia offers two packages that improve the Telluride’s class even further. The Nightfall Package blacks out all the chrome features on the SUV for about $1,300.
Or, for $2,300, you can add the Prestige Package, which includes leather heated and cooled seats, a head-up display, a 110V inverter, and special exterior colors.

How base luxury models compare to the fully loaded Kia

Deciding whether to go with a maxed-out Telluride or a luxury brand will depend on the high-class SUV you’re looking at and the features that are most important to you.
Buick’s 2021 Enclave, probably the cheapest midsize luxury SUV, starts at $41,500. But in order to include all the features present in the Kia Telluride SX, you’ll have to upgrade to at least the $49,600 Premium trim. Car and Driver says the Enclave has the most cargo space in its segment, but other than that, it’s a pretty lackluster option.
The Volvo XC90, on the other hand, offers a lot of the material quality and performance you’d expect in a luxury SUV for a reasonable base price of about $50,000.
All the driver-assist tech you’ll find in a Telluride comes standard in that price, along with a quicker, more fuel-efficient engine. If you want leather seats though, you’ll have to bump up to the $64,300 Inscription model.

The cost of owning a 2021 Kia Telluride SX

Comparing specs and prices, the price of a fully-loaded Telluride is only slightly lower than a luxury SUV. In the long run, though, you’ll most likely see those savings grow.
The Volvo XC90 might have its automaker’s safety record and European design, but repairing and insuring it will cost more than it will for the Kia.
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