2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2019 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Telluride and Explorer have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Telluride has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Explorer’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Telluride are reminded to check the back seat when a sensor determines the back seat is occupied. The Explorer doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Telluride has standard Forward Collision Avoidance, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Telluride SX has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Telluride’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Explorer doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Telluride and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

The Telluride comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Telluride 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Explorer. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Explorer ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked fifth.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 13 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (291 vs. 280) than the Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. The Telluride’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 1 more horsepower (291 vs. 290) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 255) than the Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Telluride

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

Explorer

FWD

2.3 Turbo 4 cyl.

19 city/27 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

AWD

2.3 Turbo 4 cyl.

18 city/25 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 Turbo V6

16 city/22 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Telluride uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Explorer Sport/Platinum requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Kia Telluride, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Explorer.

Brakes and Stopping

The Telluride stops shorter than the Explorer:

Telluride

Explorer

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

The Telluride has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Explorer doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Telluride’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the Explorer (114.2 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Telluride’s turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s (38.8 feet vs. 38.9 feet). The Telluride’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Explorer Sport’s (38.8 feet vs. 40 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Telluride has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Explorer (8 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the Telluride to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Kia Telluride may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the Ford Explorer.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Telluride SX 4x4 is quieter than the Explorer Sport 4WD (36 vs. 37 dB).

Passenger Space

The Telluride has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Explorer can only carry up to 7.

The Telluride has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Explorer (155 vs. 151.5).

The Telluride has 1.2 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 2.9 inches more rear legroom, 1.2 inches more rear hip room, .2 inches more rear shoulder room, .3 inches more third row headroom, 3 inches more third row hip room and 4.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Explorer.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Telluride’s middle and third row seats recline. The Explorer’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

Telluride

Explorer

Third Seat Folded

46 cubic feet

43.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87 cubic feet

81.7 cubic feet

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

Telluride

Explorer

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

20.4”/49.8”/83.8”

19.7”/49”/79.8”

Max Width

54.4”

48”

Min Width

43.5”

40”

Height

34.5”

45.5”

Towing

The Telluride’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Explorer’s (5000 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The Telluride uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Explorer uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The Telluride offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Explorer doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Telluride’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Explorer’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

When the Telluride SX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Telluride EX/SX has standard front air-conditioned seats and the Telluride SX offers them optionally in the second row. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Explorer doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

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

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