Hit the road
Both the Pathfinder and Telluride come standard with stout six-cylinder engines. The Pathfinder's 3.5-liter V6 (284 horsepower, 259 lb-ft of torque) is a carryover from the last generation, though a new nine-speed automatic replaces the previous continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available on all models for an extra $1,900.
The Telluride goes with a 3.8-liter V6 (291 hp, 262 lb-ft) and an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is also available for an additional $2,000, except on the SX, where it costs $1,900. Towing capacity maxes out at 5,000 pounds for a properly equipped Telluride. That's one area where the Pathfinder has a definite advantage — it can pull up to 6,000 pounds.
The Pathfinder comes in at an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined whether you go with front- or all-wheel drive, though the top Platinum trim with AWD will drop you to 22 mpg. The front-drive Telluride is also rated at 23 mpg combined, but the AWD model is a bit lower at 21 mpg.
In Edmunds' testing, the Telluride gains the slightest of advantages in terms of acceleration, posting a 0-60 mph time of 7.4 seconds. The Pathfinder is barely behind, needing 7.6 seconds. Braking and handling tell a similar story, with the Telluride coming to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet — 4 feet shorter than the Pathfinder. We praise the confident cornering that both SUVs exhibit, with body roll well managed. Neither feels out of sorts on a twisty mountain pass, and both deliver a pleasantly smooth ride. As far as driving impressions go, it's as close as it gets between the Nissan and the Kia.