Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2021 Kia Telluride is driving on a city street after leaving a Kia Telluride dealer.

Why the Kia Telluride Tops Any Minivan

Minivans were once the car of choice for long summer road trips because of their passenger and space capacity. They have, however, become a zeitgeist victim in favor of SUVs. At first glance, SUVs appear smaller and guzzle as much gas as a minivan, but automotive engineers have made great strides in SUV design and technology. That means the car that once symbolized middle America is now outclassed and outperformed by SUVs at every turn.

One of the most popular SUVs on the market can be found at your local Kia Telluride dealer. The Telluride is a midsize crossover SUV, the largest vehicle Kia has ever built in the United States. It was named MotorTrend’s 2020 SUV of the year and also claimed the 2020 title for World Car of the Year. Minivans are popular for their ability to seat up to eight passengers. However, the Telluride LX and EX trims offer eight-passenger seating, while the S, EX, and SX trims can seat seven passengers with their more comfortable second-row captain’s chairs. This is comparable to any minivan, but that’s not the only way SUVs like the Telluride are superior.

SUVs Savor Gasoline

In the early 2000s, SUVs were gas guzzlers. As gas prices, cost of living, and environmental concerns rose, consumers demanded better SUV designs, especially when it came to preserving space and performance teamed with a gas-efficient engine. Modern SUVs not only get more miles to the gallon than their earlier predecessors, but they have better gas mileage compared to the few minivans left on the road.
The Kia Telluride delivers a consistent 20 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway, with an average of 23 MPG combined. The Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey minivans are a step behind at 22 MPG combined.

SUVs Don’t Sacrifice Space and Cargo


The white interior of a 2021 Kia Telluride is shown with the middle seat folded.SUVs tend to have lower MSRPs (depending on the trim) than minivans because they are smaller vehicles. However, SUVs can be just as spacious as minivans when it comes to seating as well as cargo room. SUVs are designed to eliminate and redistribute space that is wasted in minivans.

Seating in midsize SUVs like the Kia Telluride is generally configured to have two benches of three seats each in the second and third rows, with individual driver and front passenger seats. The benches can be folded down when not in use to create cargo space. Minivans generally have the same seating configuration and removable seating option for more cargo, but minivan design also has a lot of dead space.

Minivans have more space between the seats, and trunk space isn’t always filled to capacity. Drivers are left lugging around under-utilized space that eats into gas and insurance bills. In general, a midsize SUV will provide a more practical option for any family that doesn’t find itself always loading its vehicle to the very limits.

Minivans Are Expensive To Own

Minivans are expensive cars to maintain. More passenger seating and cargo space come at the expense of the owner’s bank account. Minivans are generally more expensive from the initial MSRP to maintenance costs, higher insurance payments, and gas bills. When minivan owners are ready to resell their car, its depreciation value is so low it may not even be enough for a decent down payment on a new vehicle.

By the time most owners are ready to trade in their minivans, the cars have been driven hard. They usually are getting up there in miles, are a few years old, the interior has been through the wringer, and technology features are no longer up to industry standards. That’s not even mentioning what potential problems are under the hood and the “quirks” cars develop as they age. According to Edmunds, the 2020 Toyota Sienna value depreciates an average of $2660 per year (after the first year), and the 2021 Honda Odyssey depreciates an average of $3240 per year. Add to that the higher fuel consumption of a minivan and SUVs like the Telluride look even better.

SUVs Be Stylin’ While Minivans Be Crawlin’

Minivans are blobby bulges on the road. They do not have a sporty silhouette, and they scream of the suburbs and children. The only time a minivan is beautiful is when it’s brand new, but all new cars are beautiful on the sales lot. Minivans have become another zeitgeist victim because they have fallen out of favor. They had their golden age in the 1980s-1990s, but drivers want to shed that image. After all, it’s 2021 now, and who wants to be over 20 years out of date?

SUV is an acronym for “sport utility vehicle;” just by the name, the vehicles are guaranteed to be sportier. An SUV’s body type is a cross between a jeep and a sedan. It automatically makes the consumer think the owner has an active, modern lifestyle. Advertising campaigns for minivans always stress their practicality for families, while SUVs’ PR teams focus on adventure and excitement. You may not regularly find yourself crawling over back roads, but isn’t it nice to have a vehicle that you know can handle anything?

Style is also expressed through a car’s performance. Flashier or sportier cards do go faster than a curvy minivan. The Kia Telluride has a gasoline direct injection 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque for all its trims. Despite their greater bulk, many minivans are less powerful. The Honda Odyssey has a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, while the Toyota Sienna now comes with a 2.5-liter engine with just 245 hp and 169 lb-ft of torque. In other words, the Telluride is simply a better performer.

A grey 2021 Toyota Sienna is driving on a highway at sunset.

SUV Trim Prices Don’t Hurt As Much

Despite their advantages in looks and performance, midsize SUVs like the Kia Telluride remain affordable. While the starting price of minivans often falls into the same general price range, the trims and options are where the prices skyrocket.

The Kia Telluride’s lowest trim, the LX, starts at $32,190. Then it increases to $34,590 for the S and $37,590 for the EX. The MSRP range tops out with the SX trim at $42,490. These prices also fluctuate with taxes and optional features the driver selects, but all of the Telluride’s trims make reasonable price steps from one level to the next.

Minivans, however, do not. On first inspecting the MSRP for the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica, they are comparably priced at $32,090 and $35,820 for the lowest trims. Then the prices jump, especially for the Pacifica. The Chrysler minivan may appear reasonably priced, but its top trim will set you back a whopping $54,095 before any optional features and accessories! Honda keeps the prices more in line with the Kia Telluride hopping an average of $3,000 to $5,000 between trims. However, its highest trim package still reaches $47,820.

SUVs Are Way Cooler in Style and Deals

Minivans are no longer the car of choice for long summer vacations. They’ve become a thing of the past and have been replaced with a cooler, cheaper vehicle: the SUV. The Kia Telluride proves that it and other SUVs will dominate the roads for the next decade. As SUV technology improves, they’ll only look better and become (hopefully) even more efficient and less expensive.