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Sport Utility Vehicles (or SUVs) will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of people, especially in the Middle East region. Their immense popularity means that SUVs never go out of fashion, and manufacturers keep rolling out models every year just to keep up with public demand. One of the latest SUVs to hit the market is the 2020 Kia Telluride, and is closely related to the Hyundai Palisade.
However, things are not going to be too easy for the Telluride as it goes up against the extremely well-established and well-liked Mitsubishi Pajero. While the Pajero is a much older car (first being launched way back in 1982), its aggressive pricing and long-standing position in the segment means that it is hard for any newcomer to knock it down. So let’s see how the all-new Kia Telluride fares…
Parked next to each other, it becomes quite evident that the Pajero is indeed the older car here. The Mitsubishi Pajero’s boxy design coupled with (mostly) flat bodylines and an overall old-school SUV charm isn’t lost on anyone who sees it. Over the years, Mitsubishi has tried to spruce up their body-on-frame hero by adding some modern-day ‘luxury’ touches such as LED daytime-running lights, projector headlamps, revised and more stylized alloy rim & front grille design to name a few.
On the other hand, the all-new Telluride might seem pretty old-school and robust by design at first (just like the Pajero), but a closer look will reveal that this is, in fact, a much newer vehicle. While the Mitsubishi stands taller (1.870 meters versus the Kia’s 1.801 meters), the new Telluride is indeed longer, wider, and boasts more wheelbase (3.081 meters versus the Pajero’s 2.780 meters).
The Telluride looks modern enough, courtesy of its stylish but large LED headlamps, the Korean marque’s signature grille design, smart chrome trimmings all around, flared fenders housing big alloy wheels, strong but well-contoured bodylines, plus the claw-like LED tail lamps and a twin-exhaust setup with faux skid plates front & back work in the Telluride’s favor, too.
While it has most of the equipment expected in a modern car, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the Pajero’s interior looks dated when compared to the very well-built, luxurious and upscale interior of the new Kia Telluride. The Telluride also feels more premium in comparison, featuring high-quality materials and appreciable craftsmanship plus top-notch fit & finish.
Of course, the Pajero still holds the unofficial record for having one of the largest sunroofs on (almost) any production car, though the Telluride does come with dual sunroofs - both are quite large! As for interior space, both of these SUVs offer enough room for adults across all three rows. However, the seats in the Kia feel a touch more comfortable and also offer more support, overall.
The Pajero offers a healthy features list, but it can’t really hold a candle against the much better equipped Telluride -- The Kia gets adaptive drive modes, wireless phone charging, “Driver Talk” mode, electronic parking brake with auto hold, ventilated front seats, and a high-definition & responsive 10.25-inch touchscreen among others.
The 3.8-liter V6 in the Kia Telluride is capable of propelling this large SUV to 100 km/h in under 7.5 seconds, while Mitsubishi’s similar-sized but less powerful V6 means that the Pajero needs over 12 seconds to hit the ton. Both cars get an automatic gearbox as standard in the UAE but it is the new Telluride, with its 7.8 L/100 km fuel consumption figure, that comes out as being more efficient.
Given its superior performance, fancier features and interior trim, up-to-date design and powertrain, the 2020 Kia Telluride is surely worth its asking price of AED 119,000 (GX variant).