Car Comparisons

2023 Toyota Sienna vs Kia Telluride Comparison Test and Video

Comparison Data

2023 Kia Telluride X-Pro
2023 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD 7-Pass.
Engine Displacement
Engine Cylinders
Hybrid I4
Peak Horsepower
291 hp @ 6,000 rpm
245 net hp
Peak Torque
262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
Fuel Economy
12.8 / 9.8 / 11.4 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
6.8 / 6.6 / 6.7 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space
601 / 1,304 / 2,455 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st row
949 / 2,129 / 2,860 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st row
Base Price
A/C Tax
Destination Fee
Price as Tested
Optional Equipment
$500 – Jungle Green paint, $250; Terracotta Brown leather, $250
$4,670 – 25th Anniversary Special Edition, $4,670

The narrative that SUVs are inherently cool and minivans aren’t is an interesting one.

In reality, all it’s done is deprive the vast majority of today’s families of the kind of practicality only vans can offer. But we decided to approach this comparison as objectively as possible. That’s why we brought the 2023 Toyota Sienna together with the 2023 Kia Telluride – the former being our favourite minivan on the market, and the latter a repeat winner in its class in the annual AutoTrader Awards. In essence, if you’re shopping for a family hauler, these two are about the best their respective segments have to offer.


If you’ve already decided you prefer the presence of an SUV, then the winner of this specific category is all but a foregone conclusion. But don’t be too quick to dismiss the Sienna, which boasts some of the most radical styling on the mainstream market. No, it doesn’t have the muscularity of the Telluride, but it’s not the slab-sided peoplemover that probably comes to mind for most minivan critics.

The bodylines have been extensively stretched and sculpted, while the nose looks as if it was inspired by the Shinkansen bullet trains of Japan. Around back, the teardrop shape of the tail light housings are integrated well with the bulging bodysides. The lone disappointment as far as the Sienna’s styling comes down to the 18-inch wheels this tester rides on, which are technically alloys but are shroud in tacky plastic covers.

The boxy and upright Telluride stands in stark contrast with the Sienna, with AutoTrader Editor-in-Chief Jodi Lai describing it as a budget Range Rover. This tester in particular, the range-topping Telluride X-Pro, adds some off-road-inspired flair that suits the overall proportions well without going overboard. Finished in Jungle Green paint ($250), this Kia is quite the stunner.

Toyota Sienna: 9.5/10; Kia Telluride: 9/10


You might have noticed that neither interior was mentioned above. That, of course, was entirely by design – pun intended – because when it comes to family haulers like these ones, practicality reigns supreme. While stylish in its own way, the Sienna’s cabin stands out for the shelves and cubbies stashed just about everywhere imaginable. Even the front doors have tiered storage surfaces in addition to the usual bottle holders, while there’s a massive pass-through bin beneath the centre console that’s big enough to stash a handbag.

The Telluride is useful, too, although it can’t match the minivan it’s up against here when it comes to small-item storage. Likewise, while getting in and out of the front and back seats is as simple as it gets amongst entries in this segment, it’s nowhere near as easy as it is to do the same in the Sienna. That’s particularly true of the back seats courtesy of the sliding rear doors that are the hallmarks of a minivan.

Similarly, the Telluride’s ability to carry cargo is well apportioned amongst SUVs this size, with 601 L behind the third-row seats and 1,304 L with them folded; however, the Sienna provides 949 L of space for stuff with all its seats upright, and 2,129 L with the rearmost ones tucked into the floor. Our lone complaint here is that the second-row seats aren’t removable, nor do this tester’s captain’s chairs fold flat, which means the interior isn’t as useful as it could be when moving cargo.

At 2,268 kg (5,000 lb), the Telluride is equipped to tow more than the Sienna, which can handle just 1,588 kg (3,500 lb). This year, Kia has also added a dedicated driving more for towing that optimizes the powertrain for such occasions, while the load-levelling rear suspension helps reduce sag with all that weight hooked up to the back.

Toyota Sienna: 9.5/10; Kia Telluride: 8.5/10


Where these two differ most is under their hoods, with the Telluride still relying on a tried and true V6 engine compared to the Sienna’s hybrid powertrain. The former is a 3.8L that generates 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, all of which heads to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. It doesn’t make this Kia especially speedy, but it won’t leave it languishing on the highway when it’s time to merge or pass slower traffic.

Being built around a four-cylinder gas engine, the Sienna’s powertrain doesn’t pack an enormous punch, although it feels properly optimized for the size and weight of this van. It still sounds a little strained thanks to the automatic continuously-variable transmission (CVT) working with the gas – electric setup to make this Toyota go, but it’s not as bad as a smaller entry like the sleek and stylish Toyota Venza and its RAV4 Hybrid sibling that use the same powertrain. Credit the Sienna’s extra kick, with 245 net hp to work with compared to 219.

Toyota Sienna: 7/10; Kia Telluride: 9/10

Fuel Economy

The Sienna’s biggest advantage over its rival is how much money it will save you at the pumps, with a combined consumption rate of just 6.7 L/100 km for an all-wheel-drive model like the one tested here (the front-wheel-drive version is good for 6.6). That’s about as efficient as a gas-powered Toyota Corolla, which is downright ridiculous. What’s even more outlandish is how easy it is to achieve – and even exceed – that number, with this week-long test finishing at a combined 6.4 L/100 km across approximately 975 km.

That’s a substantial 5.0 L/100 km less than the Telluride’s official combined rating of 11.4 – a number we weren’t able to touch during this test. The final tally came in at 11.8 over the course of more than 330 km, which isn’t unlike most V6-powered SUVs this size, but it’s well short of what the Sienna is capable of. Even primitive mathematics suggest the Telluride will burn about 25 L more fuel than the for every 500 km travelled. If that seems unnecessary – and it is – but you still can’t see yourself in a van, the same hybrid powertrain is offered in the Toyota Highlander, along with the upcoming Grand Highlander that’s supposed to be roomier still.

Toyota Sienna: 10/10; Kia Telluride: 6/10

Driving Feel

While their fundamentals are quite similar – unibody construction, three rows of seats, and all-wheel drive – this pair feels entirely different to drive. That doesn’t have so much to do with the fact that one’s an SUV and the other is a van as it does with the platforms on which they’re built.

Riding on the so-called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that underpins the vast majority of the brand’s products these days, the Sienna comes across as solidly built without being too flat. It’s certainly a little top-heavy, which is noticeable when using highway on- and off-ramps, but the suspension soaks up most of what the road throws at it while remaining compliant. There’s even a reasonable amount of weightedness to the steering, which isn’t often the case with modern machines this size.

It’s not as if the Telluride is sloppy by any stretch, but where the Sienna’s suspension absorbs most road imperfections, the vast majority of them are channelled through this Kia’s very structure. It leads to a sense of lateral stiffness, with a ride that isn’t quite as composed by comparison. Likewise, the steering is a little over-boosted next to the Sienna’s system.

Toyota Sienna: 8/10; Kia Telluride: 7/10


When it comes to ride quality, these two are similarly characterized. The Sienna could stand to be just a little softer, with broken pavement more noticeable than it should be, but it’s impeccable across anything close to smooth surfaces. Even the third-row seats are surprisingly supportive, while this tester’s second-row captain’s chairs feature long-slide functionality and flip-out leg rests. The bigger issues here come down to a serious lack of sound-deadening materials, with plenty of wind and road noise making its way inside, while the plastics that make up most interior surfaces are scratch-prone and of subpar quality.

The flatness of this Kia’s ride leads to similar complaints about its comfort, although it’s about the same as the Sienna in that regard. This range-topping X-Pro trim in particular does better when it comes to isolating occupants from outside interference, while the leather upholstery inside looks and feels good – especially in this tester’s optional brown finish ($250). Unfortunately, the stiffness of the seats, as well as the lack of any kind of contouring, quickly leads to discomfort for occupants both front and back.

Toyota Sienna: 8/10; Kia Telluride: 6/10


In typical Kia fashion, the Telluride is packed with desirable features including a standard heated steering wheel and front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, USB charging ports in all three rows, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections run through a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and a height-programmable power tailgate, among others. Meanwhile, all it takes is a short step up to the second trim, the SX, to get extras like an upgraded stereo, ventilated front seats with driver’s side memory settings, and leather upholstery, while the rest of the lineup adds heated and ventilated second-row seats, and dual sunroof panels (a single pane is standard).

The Sienna’s feature set isn’t quite as impressive but it’s certainly not bad, with a heated steering wheel and front seats, tri-zone climate, and nine-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connections coming standard. There are also seven USB ports throughout the cabin. But then good stuff like ventilated front seats are reserved for this tester’s 25th Anniversary Special Edition package ($4,670) or the range-topping Limited trim, the latter of which is the only way to get heated second-row seats. However, in terms of functionality, the second trim and up get power sliding side doors and a power tailgate, all of which can be operated hands-free, while a second-row entertainment system is offered here – something that isn’t available in the Telluride.

Toyota Sienna: 8/10; Kia Telluride: 10/10


The safety suites in both these vehicles are rather extensive, although the Kia’s is a little more advanced. So on top of the forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning and keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control systems that are standard in both the Sienna and the Telluride, the latter adds a so-called highway drive assist system and navigation information to its adaptive cruise.

That highway-drive assist system also gets an automatic lane change function in all but the base Telluride; however, its usefulness isn’t without question. While the system requires the driver’s hands to remain on the steering wheel, just as the same systems from BMW and Volvo do, even the slightest hand movement will cancel manoeuvres, but then feathering the wheel will lead to stern warnings to grab ahold.

According to the experts at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), both the 2023 Toyota Sienna and the 2023 Kia Telluride earned Top Safety Pick+ designations – the highest the not-for-profit gives out. These wins are especially significant this year, with the IIHS implementing more stringent standards around side-crash and pedestrian protection. Those enhanced standards mean only 28 Top Safety Pick+ winners for 2023 compared to 65 last year.

Toyota Sienna: 9/10; Kia Telluride: 9.5/10

User Friendliness

There isn’t much separating these two when it comes to the features and functions you’ll use every day, with physical switchgear for climate and infotainment, plus more on the steering wheel for audio and driver-assistance. Both vehicles are also easy to climb in and out of and offer commanding views of the road, although the Sienna is that much better in both regards. Its lower ride makes it more comfortable to climb aboard, while the sliding rear doors are undeniably excellent. As an added bonus, they make it all but impossible for your kids to damage other vehicles in parking lots. Also in this Toyota’s favour is a third row that’s roomy enough for two or even three occupants compared to the Kia’s that’s just so-so.

Toyota Sienna: 9/10; Kia Telluride: 8.5/10


As we covered in another recent comparison involving the Telluride, Kia has rather quietly moved this three-row into the upper reaches of the segment when it comes to pricing. What used to be a three-trim lineup that ranged from $44,995 to $53,995 before freight and tax has ballooned to five trims, the cheapest of which starts at $50,195 plus a non-negotiable freight charge of $2,549. Then there’s the range-topping X-Pro tested here that starts at $62,795.

The 2023 Sienna is significantly more affordable to start, with the LE priced at $42,150 plus a freight charge of $1,930. And while that’s for a front-wheel drive version, adding all-wheel traction is a rather reasonable $1,840. And on it goes across the lineup, with all but the priciest Limited trim available in the choice of front- or all-wheel drive; it only comes in the latter for $60,390 before freight and tax. Meanwhile, this XSE AWD tester is $49,690, while its optional anniversary package adds $4,670 to the asking price.

Toyota Sienna: 8/10; Kia Telluride: 6/10

The Verdict

There’s no question that the 2023 Kia Telluride is a generously proportioned, practical, and user-friendly family hauler. If you’re convinced a three-row SUV is right for you and your family, the Telluride is worthy of a spot on your shortlist thanks in no small part to its extensive list of standard and available features – although they don’t come cheap.

The Telluride’s biggest issue isn’t so much what it does wrong, but rather what it doesn’t do as well as the 2023 Toyota Sienna. Stylish, practical, and approachable, this hybrid-only family hauler does it all. Now consider its compact car-like efficiency and reasonable pricing, and there isn’t a three-row we could recommend in its place.