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A black 2023 Chevy Traverse Midnight Edition is shown driving after winning a 2023 Chevy Traverse vs the 2023 Kia Telluride comparison.

Chevy Traverse vs. Kia Telluride: Which Three-Row SUV Is King?

Back in the ‘90s, it seemed as though the only option families had for carting around their brood was the age-old minivan. It was bulky, unsightly, and completely outdated even then, but that’s all there was to accommodate so many people and lots of cargo. Fortunately, we live in a new century with better-equipped vehicles to help us get from point A to point B and beyond more comfortably, even when there are rambunctious youngsters involved. Three-row SUVs are the answer for families across America and their traveling woes, offering plenty of space for passengers and configurable cabin spaces for gear in an easier-to-drive and more stylish package. Two family-friendly options that frequently go head-to-head are the 2023 Chevy Traverse vs the 2023 Kia Telluride; looking at them, I have to wonder if there’s one obvious winner designed to make family travels better in every way.

Space for People and Gear

One of the biggest concerns for families is space, especially when traveling with more than one kiddo in tow. After all, kids bring everything but the kitchen sink with them during any journey, no matter how small; so from water bottles to tablets, stuffed animals to their favorite blanket, you need room for it all. The 2023 Chevy Traverse does a fantastic job of accommodating everyone (and everything) joining you onboard, with a class-leading max cargo volume of 98.2 cu.ft., surpassing rivals like the 2023 Kia Telluride, which only offers 87 cu.ft. This extra space can accommodate a lot, which makes every bit highly sought-after by families on the go.

Families also like the Traverse’s Smart Slide second-row seat to help load up their crew quickly and efficiently, as well as the available power-folding third row to accommodate more cargo. The Kia Telluride has a nice amount of legroom, especially in the second row, which places it ahead of much of its competition; however, it’s able to offer this by sacrificing cargo space. This makes the Telluride less attractive to families who need all the room they can get in their vehicle. If you’re looking for space in your vehicle, the Traverse offers more to help you enhance everyone’s comfort, as well as have a dedicated place for all of your travel belongings.

Ride Quality and Fuel Efficiency

You want to be able to enjoy a smooth, refined ride when you’re making frequent trips back and forth from school or hauling the kids to various sports practices all over the state. If your vehicle isn’t offering you the ride you require or the fuel efficiency you need, enjoying the drive won’t be as easy. This is another area where the 2023 Chevy Traverse shines, with exceptional fuel economy and an all-around smooth and controlled ride. Equipped with a 3.6L V6 engine, the Traverse offers an exciting ride with 310 horses driving it forward, along with exceptional efficiency, getting up to 27 MPG on the highway. Unfortunately, the Telluride falls short here, with its weaker 3.8L Lambda V6 that offers just 291 horsepower. I’d like to see better fuel economy numbers out of this midsize traveler to make up for its lack of power.

The Telluride is a more rugged traveler, aiming to appeal to families who frequently find themselves off the beaten path. The Traverse, on the other hand, has more of a well-rounded appeal, offering a smooth and agile ride, and when paired with available all-wheel drive capabilities, traversing any terrain and any road condition is no sweat for this versatile family hauler. It even offers an available Off-Road Mode to enhance its stability and precision in rough conditions. All in all, the Traverse is a much more practical everyday traveler, offering the ride quality and efficiency you need during all of your family’s journeys.

Trim Expectations

You may initially think that having a ton of trims to choose from is better; however, this usually ends up being confusing. When you have too many options, as you’ll find in the Kia Telluride’s 2023 lineup, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up choosing a trim that you find (much too late) doesn’t work for you. When you take a look at the 2023 Chevy Traverse and its trim lineup, you’ll notice that it has the perfect number of options, all of which offer something unique to drivers. From its High Country model, which showcases a leather-appointed interior, SkyScape sunroof, and a premium feel throughout, to its fierce RS, which offers a sportier appeal to your ride, plus mid-level and base models that are stylish and exciting, it’s easy to pick the Traverse that works for your needs and budget–this is a reminder that sometimes less is more.

Safety Tech and Features

Another area that strikes a chord with families is safety, especially when traveling with your little ones. You can’t do much about the other drivers on the road, but when your vehicle is watching out for you, you’ll be able to avoid issues and remain as secure as possible, no matter how long your journey happens to take. Both the 2023 Chevy Traverse and the 2023 Kia Telluride offer their fair share of safety features, with the Traverse armed with one of the best safety systems in the business: Chevy Safety Assist. In addition to all of the regular features you can expect in modern-day vehicles, like a Lane Departure Warning and Automated Emergency Braking, there’s also a slew of available assistance features that come in handy during daily drives and long road trips.

From an available HD Surround Vision Camera to provide you with unobstructed views around your vehicle, to Adaptive Cruise Control that adjusts automatically to the flow of traffic, the Traverse has all kinds of helpful tech to keep your precious cargo safe. You’ll even find standard Teen Driver technology, which comes in handy when your little ones grow up and find themselves behind the wheel (time flies!). The 2023 Kia Telluride includes a slew of safety features as well, such as available Highway Driving Assist 2 and a Blind-Spot Collision Warning, though it lacks extra features like Chevy’s Teen Driver system.

Infotainment and ConvenienceTech

Of course, you can’t forget about interior technology, especially when you’re traveling with your very own pint-size tech gurus. Enjoying advanced innovation in your vehicle is a given these days, and the Traverse doesn’t disappoint. Standard Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which aren’t even available for the Telluride, as well as USB ports in every row, make it easy to be on your way in the 2023 Chevy Traverse. I do like the digital key feature that Kia makes such a big deal about, but through the myChevrolet app, you’re not only able to unlock your Traverse, but you’re able to start it, locate it, and more from your smartphone. This helps tremendously when you’re rushing around in the mornings, trying to get everyone out the door and loaded up at the start of a school day.

Which One Reigns Supreme?

Both of these three-row SUVs do a great job of accommodating today’s busy families, but I have to give it to the Traverse for offering the total package. Not only is its cargo space larger than the Telluride’s, it’s more efficient and offers the perfect number of trims along with fantastic safety features, and advanced technology designed to make a serious impact on your ride. What’s more is that it offers all of this for a more affordable starting price than you’ll find with the Kia Telluride, which makes it a winner among families who have the monthly budget in mind. If you’re on the hunt for the best three-row family SUV, designed to make your daily commute, running errands, and getting away on the weekend better, then the Traverse is hard to beat.