Written by Cameron Lindsay, CNN Los Angeles, Calif.
With lavish interior interiors and dynamic driving dynamics, both the Jeep Grand Cherokee L and the Kia Telluride come with high expectations. But does one best the other in this dynamic SUV showdown?
Cameron Lindsay, product manager for both of these vehicles, shares all of the details you need to know.
First, there is the size. While the L is smaller in size, it has more cargo space than the Telluride. The Telluride’s cargo capacity is a generous 63.7 cubic feet, while the Grand Cherokee L has a better package of 50.9 cubic feet. However, the Telluride has less than half the storage space than the Grand Cherokee Sport, offering about 28 cubic feet of cargo space.
Additional perspective. The Jaguar F-Pace (72.3 cubic feet) and the Porsche Macan (63.8 cubic feet) are close, though the Touring trim is only available on the F-Pace. The Telluride, on the other hand, boasts the largest cargo bay in the segment with its 64.5 cubic feet of storage space.
Automotive Performance and Economy
The supercharged V8 engine under the hoods of both of these SUVs offers power and torque that can be felt, though the Jeep model has a slightly better overall efficiency score (20.3 mpg city, 25 mpg highway).
Here are the numbers for the Chrysler:
Jeep Grand Cherokee L
A 3.6-liter supercharged V8 engine produces 292 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, a hike of 17 horsepower and 27 pound-feet of torque over the Grand Cherokee LX’s engine. The power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, with the manual available as an option. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Premium R and Turbo models will be offered on the L models, providing performance features and a performance-tuned exhaust note.
A 3.3-liter supercharged V6 engine develops 329 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, a boost of four horsepower and three pound-feet of torque over the Kia Optima’s engine. The power is routed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission, with the manual option available.
Fuel economy is 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The Optima has already been available in S and SE trim, with a manual option.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L, which won the prestigious ‘German-branded SUV of the Year’ in 2018, looks at home in a landscape populated by glossy factory showrooms. Its minimalistic styling is accented by dark strips, contrasting chrome accents and attractive hexagonal LED tail lamps. The design harkens back to the original Jeep SUV design introduced in the 1960s.
(The Kia Optima, on the other hand, looks downright suburban with its eye-pleasing interior touches and flat roofline.)
The steering ratio of the Jeep is the second-strongest in the segment, but yet is not the best when compared with those of other vehicles in the sport utility vehicle class. Once you sit in the seat, the steering feel settles down. Perhaps it is due to the solid feel of the new suspension system that Chrysler has updated.
(In fact, when we were handling the Cherokee L back in July at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we thought the driving dynamics were lackluster, calling it a ‘meh performance SUV.’ )
Styling, good or bad
As you’d expect with the Kia Optima, Kia’s design team has made the Optima and Kia Telluride look similar, with a similar high-contrast design that retains some of the Mercedes-Benz sports car-style cues. Jeep has done the same. The similarities with the Optima present a closer comparison than with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L and Kia Telluride Overview View as list View as gallery Open Gallery Image: Christopher Miller/Getty Images for CES 2018 Image: Michael Robinson Chavez/Getty Images for Audi Technology Group Experience of panoramic moonroof with autonomous windshield as the sun shimmers on California coastline from different angles. Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock Image: Michael Robinson