We’ve written about many Volkswagen comparisons, such as VW Taos vs Tiguan or VW Tiguan vs Atlas, but this is our first Volkswagen to Kia with VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride. In this article, we will be comparing the Atlas and Telluride in price, size, reliability, common problems, and more. The Atlas is Volkswagen’s mid-size crossover SUV and the Telluride is Kia’s largest SUV and is classified as a mid-size crossover. Since they both are the same classification, there will be a lot of similarities and a few differences that we will be covering below.
VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride – The Basics
The Volkswagen Atlas was first introduced in 2017 and is still being produced today. It is also referred to as the Volkswagen Teramont in markets outside of the US. It is positioned between the Tiguan and the Touareg. The Atlas is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. Volkswagen introduced a smaller variant of the Atlas in 2020, the Atlas Cross Sport. The Atlas features 5 different trims: SE, SE with Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.
The Kia Telluride was first introduced in 2019 and is still being produced today. It is named after a little town in Colorado, Telluride. It is the largest SUV, or vehicle for that matter, Kia has produced. As soon as the Telluride was released, it was an instant hit. In fact, in 2020, it won World Car of the Year and MotorTrend’s SUV of the year. The Telluride features 4 different trims: base LX, S, EX, and SX.
Volkswagen Atlas Generation
- CA1 Atlas (2017-Present)
Kia Telluride Generations
- 1st Generation (2019-Present)
VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride Price
In this portion, we will be going over brand new 2022, as of this writing, model prices and used prices for the VW Atlas and Kia Telluride.
New Volkswagen Atlas Price
In this section, we will be covering the new Atlas 2022, as of this writing, model year prices. The base Atlas SE starts at $35,530, with a 4motion upgrade starting at $37,430. An Atlas SE w/ tech and SEL has two engine options: 2.0T and 3.6L V6. The 2.0T Atlas SE w/ tech starts at $39,700 with an option to upgrade to 4motion for $41,600. The 3.6L V6 Atlas SE w/ tech starts at $41,450 with the option to upgrade to 4motion for $43,350. The 2.0T 4motion Atlas SEL starts at $45,300 and the 3.6L V6 4motion Atlas SEL starts at $47,050. The SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line only have the 3.6L V6 as an available engine. The Atlas SEL R-Line starts at $48,450 and the SEL Premium R-Line starts at $52,700.
New Kia Telluride Price
In this section, we will be covering the new 2022 Kia Telluride prices. The base Telluride, or the LX trim, starts at $33,390 with an AWD upgrade option for an extra $2,000. The Telluride S starts at $35,890 again with an AWD upgrade option for $2,000. A Telluride EX starts at $38,390 with an AWD upgrade option for $2,000. And lastly, the highest trim, the Kia Telluride SX, starts at $43,290 with the option of an AWD upgrade for $1,900.
Used VW Atlas & Kia Telluride Prices
When it comes to used VW Atlas’ vs Kia Tellurides, since both of the models are relatively new, there won’t be a huge price difference from new to used. These are very competitive vehicles, so new and used prices are very similar. A used Atlas price ranges from $18,999 – $57,989* with an average price overall of $38,495, depending on model year and mileage. A used Tellurides price ranges from $26,888 – $62,998* with an average price overall of $44,945, depending on model year and mileage. The Telluride is more expensive on the used side because it was one year newer and has more upgrade options.
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
General Atlas & Kia Telluride Topics
VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2022 Kia Telluride.
VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride
As you can see the Atlas is bigger in all dimensions, but barely. The things that stand out to us are cargo space, towing capacity, and seating capacity. The Kia Telluride has more cargo space with all rows of seats up, however, the Atlas has more otherwise. The Telluride gets 21ft³ with all rows up, 46ft³ with the third row down, and 87ft³ with both the second and third row of seats down. The Atlas gets 20.6ft³ with all rows up, 55.5ft³ with the third row down, and 96.8ft³ with both the second and third row of seats down. They both are capable of towing 5,000 lbs. This comes standard on the Telluride, while the Atlas must be equipped with the 3.6L V6 engine to accomplish 5,000 lbs. Lastly, they both are capable of seating up to 7 passengers.
VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 VW Tiguan and 2022 Audi Q5 factory performance specs.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
VW Atlas Performance
The Atlas only has two engine options: a 2.0T TFSI & a 3.6L EA390 VR6. The 2.0T TFSI puts out 235hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and offers an upgraded option for VW’s AWD 4motion technology. It offers an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission. The 3.6L V6 naturally aspirated engine puts out 276hp and 266 lb-ft of torque and comes standard with VW’s AWD 4motion technology. It also offers an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission.
When it comes to fuel economy, the 2 engines get different gas mileage depending on the drivetrain. The 2.0T TFSI engine with FWD gets 21mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway for a combined 23mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. The 2.0T TFSI engine with 4motion gets 20mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway for a combined 22mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. The 3.6L engine with FWD gets 18mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway for a combined 21mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. Lastly, a 3.6L VR6 engine with 4motion gets 17mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway for a combined 20mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank.
Kia Telluride Performance
The Telluride only has one engine option for all trims: a 3.8L Lambda V6 engine. This engine puts out 291hp and 262 lb-ft of torque and offers an upgraded option for Kia’s AWD technology. This engine features an electronically-controlled 8-speed automatic transmission. When it comes to fuel economy, it is different depending on the drivetrain. A FWD 3.8L gets 20mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway for a combined 23mpg with an 18.8gal fuel tank. And the AWD 3.8L V6 gets 19mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway for a combined 21mpg with an 18.8gal fuel tank.
VW Atlas & Kia Telluride Reliability and Common Problems
Since the Atlas was produced in 2017, there isn’t too much information to go on for the Atlas’ reliability. According to Consumer Reports, the VW Atlas is placed 21st out of 26 for all mid-size SUVs. We would advise looking for a 2021 model year if at all possible. We’ve compiled some common problems that we’ve seen in Atlas’: a faulty clock spring, faulty fuel injectors, unexpected coolant loss, strange engine noise on shutdown, and premature fuel pump failure. Given that there is a small sample size of Atlas’, it is difficult to provide a mileage estimate. It has been told that there are “electrical gremlins” that haunt the Atlas’, according to verified owners. The best advice would be to get the best warranty package offered when purchasing an Atlas.
Like the Atlas, the Telluride hasn’t been around too long, so there isn’t much information to go on about its reliability. According to J.D. Power, it has a reliability rating of 85/100, which is considered to be great. The 2020 model year is regarded as the least reliable, so if at all possible, avoid this model. Common problems seen in Tellurides are as followed: powertrain issues, exterior lighting problems, poor acceleration, fragile windshields, vibrating steering wheel, and loud road conditions. How long do Kia Tellurides last? They have been told to last up to 200,000 miles.
VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride – Which is Better?
The question everyone came here for, which is better: the VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride. We may be a little biased because we have a Volkswagen blog, however, we lean towards the Atlas. It is bigger, more powerful, more custom, and we feel the interior is superior. This is not to say that the Kia Telluride is not an excellent alternative, because it certainly is. The Telluride is more reliable, cheaper in the low trims, and provides a more modern exterior. Both have 5-star safety ratings. Both can seat up to 7 passengers. As always, “better” comes down to consumer preference. We can give our opinion, but if reliability and cost are important, then the Telluride may be the way to go.
There is nothing better than getting first-hand experience with both models. So schedule a test drive at your local Kia and VW dealer to get behind the wheel and see them in person. This is going to be the easiest and quickest way to make a decision between the two.
VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride Conclusion
To wrap this article up, we know purchasing a vehicle is a daunting task, so we hope this has assisted anyone in their purchasing decision. In short, the Kia Telluride has better reliability, can be cheaper, and has won many awards. The Atlas has better gas mileage, cargo space, and provides more customization. If you happen to have any experience with either the Atlas or Telluride, please share your experience in the comments below. This will not only help our research, but it will also help future readers with their purchasing decision.