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Both the Telluride and MKT 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 MKT’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 MKT 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 MKT 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 MKT doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
The Telluride SX has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKT 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 MKT doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Telluride and the MKT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available all-wheel drive.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Telluride the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKT does not qualify as a “Top Pick.”
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 MKT’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.
Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Telluride 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Lincoln covers the MKT. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the MKT ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Telluride has a standard 800-amp battery. The MKT’s 650-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln 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 Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 6 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.
On the EPA test cycle the Telluride 4x4 gets better fuel mileage than the MKT (19 city/24 hwy vs. 15 city/21 hwy).
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Telluride uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MKT requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
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 MKT.
For better traction, the Telluride has larger tires than the MKT (245/60R18 vs. 235/55R19).
The Telluride has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The MKT 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 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the MKT.
The Telluride SX 4x4 handles at .81 G’s, while the MKT pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The Telluride SX 4x4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the MKT (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .57 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the Telluride’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the MKT AWD’s (38.8 feet vs. 41.5 feet).
The Kia Telluride may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 850 pounds less than the Lincoln MKT.
The Telluride is 10.7 inches shorter than the MKT, making the Telluride easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Telluride has standard seating for 8 passengers; the MKT can only carry 7.
The Telluride has 12.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MKT (155 vs. 142.3).
The Telluride has .8 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 3.2 inches more front hip room, 3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom, 2.1 inches more rear hip room, 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room, 4.6 inches more third row headroom, 3.1 inches more third row hip room and 6.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the MKT.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Telluride’s middle and third row seats recline. The MKT’s third row seats don’t recline.
The Telluride’s cargo area provides more volume than the MKT.
Behind Third Seat
21 cubic feet
17.9 cubic feet
Third Seat Folded
46 cubic feet
39.6 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
87 cubic feet
75.9 cubic feet
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 MKT doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The Telluride’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the MKT’s (5000 vs. 2000 pounds).
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 MKT doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Telluride’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The MKT’s parking brake has to released manually.
The Telluride’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The MKT’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
Consumer Reports rated the Telluride’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the MKT’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Telluride’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKT’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”
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 MKT’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Telluride is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The MKT doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Consumer Reports® chose the Kia Telluride as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Telluride was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2020. The MKT has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
Motor Trend selected the Telluride as their 2020 Sport Utility of the Year. The MKT has never been chosen.
The Kia Telluride outsold the Lincoln MKT by over seventeen to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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