Under the hood of the 2020-2023 Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade with the brand’s Lambda-II 3.8-liter V6 engine, a power plant that has been around in various forms since 2005. Here it produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet or torque on 87 octane regular unleaded fuel.

In its latest iteration the engine features direct fuel injection and runs on the fuel saving Atkinson Cycle with a 13.0:1 compression ratio. To make it all workable it features dual overhead cams on each of its aluminum heads with continuously variable cam timing. The cams are chain driven.

Available with both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the engine comes mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. On the 2023 Telluride SX AWD we have here fuel economy is rated by the EPA at 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.

Following the airflow, the intake charge starts at the front of the engine bay through a snorkel at the top of the radiator and goes through an air-filter box mounted high and easy to access. From there it travels through a single bore throttle body and into a composite plastic intake manifold we can see pretty clearly with the engine’s sound cover removed.

Here, there isn’t much of the fuel delivery system to see as most of the direct injection components are hidden away with exception of the large fuel regulator seen here with it’s foam sound cap.

Looking at the top front of the engine you can see the spark plug coil packs easily, looking easy to change. The rear plugs will take some extra effort to get to. Exhaust exits low at both the front and rear of the engine into the catalyst system.

Routine maintenance in the engine compartment is straight forward due to its simple layout and easy access to most components. Engine coolant is located at the top of the passenger side wheel well. Windshield washer fluid is just ahead of it notable with its bright blue cap.

Checking the oil is done at the bright yellow dipstick at the front top of the engine, the oil filler cap just to the left of it. There is no dipstick for the automatic transmission. Brake fluid can be checked and topped off at its reservoir located the driver side rear of the engine bay.

The air-filter is just ahead of it and is one of the easiest in the business to replace, simply sliding out like a drawer with the pull of a couple levers. With a vehicle like this anyone can change the filter without tools or experience. Never pay the dealership for this again. Brilliant.

Next to the air filter is the main engine control unit (ECU) and to the right of that is the main consumer grade fuse box. Pop the top with a couple tabs and you will find a fuse removal tool inside to make your work easier here.

The 12-volt battery is located ahead of the air-filter box for easy access to its posts. Changing it will require the removal of the plastic intake snorkel however.

Looking around the engine bay it’s worth noting that it is nicely trimmed out with plastic panels at the sides and at the firewall for a vehicle in this price range. Looking ahead toward the front you can see its electric cooling fan – keep your hands clear – even when powered off. At the rear of the engine bay down low on the passenger side is the ABS control unit.