2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Kia Telluride

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Explorer has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Telluride doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard Reverse Brake Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Telluride doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Telluride doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the Explorer and the Telluride have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

The Explorer’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Telluride runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Telluride doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine

The Explorer’s standard 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 9 more horsepower (300 vs. 291) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6. The Explorer’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 27 more horsepower (318 vs. 291) and 60 lbs.-ft. more torque (322 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6. The Explorer Platinum’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 74 more horsepower (365 vs. 291) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6. The Explorer ST’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 109 more horsepower (400 vs. 291) and 153 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 262) than the Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer gets better fuel mileage than the Telluride:

MPG

Explorer

RWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Telluride

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Telluride doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Explorer’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Telluride doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Explorer V6 Turbo’s standard fuel tank has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Telluride (20.2 vs. 18.8 gallons).

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Telluride doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Telluride.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Telluride:

Explorer

Explorer ST

Explorer ST opt.

Telluride

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.3 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

12 inches

The Explorer ST’s optional front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Telluride are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the Telluride (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Telluride (275/45R21 vs. 245/60R18).

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Telluride S/SX’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer ST/Platinum offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Telluride’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The Telluride doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Telluride doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Telluride (119.1 inches vs. 114.2 inches).

Chassis

The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Telluride doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Explorer Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Telluride doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has .3 inches more front hip room, .2 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear hip room, .7 inches more rear shoulder room, .8 inches more third row headroom and .8 inches more third row legroom than the Telluride.

Cargo Capacity

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Telluride.

Explorer

Telluride

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

46 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87.8 cubic feet

87 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the Telluride’s in almost every dimension:

Explorer

Telluride

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

20.8”/49.8”/83.9”

20.4”/49.8”/83.8”

Max Width

59”

54.4”

Min Width

48.1”

43.5”

Height

33.7”

34.5”

Both the Explorer and the Telluride have standard second row automatic folding seats. The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s third row seats also fold up or down at the press of a button. The Telluride doesn’t offer automatic folding third row seats.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Kia Telluride is limited to 5000 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Explorer is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Telluride. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

On a hot day the Explorer’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Telluride can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The Telluride doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Telluride’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Explorer Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Telluride doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Telluride offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Explorer has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Telluride EX/SX.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Telluride doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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