2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2019 Ford Flex

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Telluride and Flex 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 Flex’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 Flex 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 Flex 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 Kia Telluride has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Flex doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Telluride’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Flex doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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

Both the Telluride and the Flex 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, 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 Flex’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 Flex. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Flex ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Telluride has a standard 800-amp battery. The Flex’s 650-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 4 more horsepower (291 vs. 287) and 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 254) than the Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Telluride

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

Flex

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/23 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 Turbo V6

15 city/21 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Telluride uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Flex Limited 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 Flex.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Telluride

Flex

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.8 inches

The Telluride stops much shorter than the Flex:

Telluride

Flex

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Telluride has larger tires than the Flex (245/60R18 vs. 235/60R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Telluride LX/EX has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Flex SE.

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 Flex doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Telluride is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Flex.

The Telluride SX 4x4 handles at .81 G’s, while the Flex SEL AWD pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Telluride’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Flex’s (38.8 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Telluride may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 400 pounds less than the Ford Flex.

The Telluride is 4.9 inches shorter than the Flex, making the Telluride easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

Passenger Space

The Telluride has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Flex can only carry 7.

The Telluride has 1.5 inches more front legroom, 3.4 inches more front hip room, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, 3 inches more rear hip room, 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.6 inches more third row hip room and 4.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Flex.

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Telluride

Flex

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

20 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

46 cubic feet

43.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87 cubic feet

83.2 cubic feet

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

Telluride

Flex

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

20.4”/49.8”/83.8”

16.5”/47”/83.3”

Max Width

54.4”

46”

Min Width

43.5”

40.5”

Height

34.5”

40”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Telluride’s liftgate can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Flex doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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

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 Flex 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 Flex’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Telluride SX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Flex doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Flex’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 Flex doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

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

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