2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Kia Telluride – Cincinnati, OH

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  • 2020 Ford Explorer

    A black 2020 Ford Explorer is facing left.

    Starting at

    $36,675

    2020 Kia Telluride

    A gray 2020 Kia Telluride is angled right on a white background

    Starting at

    $31,890

    300-400Horsepower (HP)291
    5,600Max Towing (LBS)5,000
    YesAvailable Hybrid ModelNo
    21/28-16/23 MPGFuel Economy (city/highway)20/26 MPG

    The midsize to large SUV market has picked up steam in recent years. Not long ago, the Ford Explorer really was the end all-be all in this market. While other manufacturers dragged their feet at first, they are now making numerous vehicles for the segment. This includes the Kia Telluride. The folks over at Kia are going to tell you it's every bit as much the SUV as the Explorer (if not more so). But is it true? Can the Telluride compete with the classic staple that is the Explorer in the SUV world? The only real way to figure this out is to directly look at the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Kia Telluride to decide which of the two should be at the top of your next SUV buying list. 

    Let's jump right into this comparison with the price. After all, before you find out the engine specs or cargo space, you're going to see that price right in the vehicle window. Price doesn't tell the entire story, but it sure can help. Starting off, the base trim on the 2020 Ford Explorer has an entry MSRP of $32,765. The base starting price for the 2020 Telluride is $31,890. Each vehicle has multiple trims to choose from and plenty of great features, but only one comes out on top.

  • Performance

    A couple is walking towards a silver 2020 Ford Explorer that is parked in front of a Cincinnati, OH, pizza shop.

    Engine Options 

    Ford has always been about giving you engine options. Basically, every vehicle it offers will come with some engine options. After all, this will have the greatest impact on your vehicle's overall performance, so why shouldn't you have a few options to choose from? The 2020 Ford Explorer is no different. It includes two all-gasoline engines and a hybrid engine.

    2020 Ford Explorer

    The base engine is a 2.3L turbo I4. This engine is going to give you 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. If you wanted something that is on the larger side, you can opt for the 3.0L Twin Turbo V6. This engine is going to up the performance numbers to 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque on the Platinum, and 400 horsepower with 415 lb-ft on the RS. Now, if you wanted the hybrid model, you'll end up with a 3.3L V6 that uses a 35-kilowatt electric motor and a connected 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. This combination will give you 318 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque.

    2020 Kia Telluride

    What about the 2020 Kia Telluride? Well, this is one area Ford and Kia are different. Kia doesn't always give you engine options. Often you have one engine and that's it, which is exactly the case with the 2020 Kia Telluride. The only engine available on the 2020 Kia Telluride is a 3.8L V6, which produces 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque.

    This means, even if you were to spring for the top-tier Telluride trim, you'd have an inferior engine to Ford's base. Plus, the Explorer's 2.3L Turbo I4 has a fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. The max fuel economy you'll get with the Kia Telluride is 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The fuel economy for the hybrid Explorer is 27 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway. This gives it an average of 28 MPG while the Telluride has an average of 23.

  • Towing and Cargo Capacities

    A view of the cargo area of a blue 2020 Ford Explorer filled with luggage and groceries.

    Towing Capability

    All of the Explorer engines give superior performance numbers. As you might expect, this does give the Explorer a boost in terms of towing. While the hybrid has a max towing of 5,000 pounds, you can boost this up to 5,600 with the Twin Turbo V6. The 2020 Kia Telluride has a max towing of 5,000 pounds, regardless of the trim. One of the downsides of not having more than one engine option on an SUV is you can't customize your towing performance.

    Cargo Room

    But what about cargo space? Chances are, you're not going to be towing something every day (if you were you'd probably be looking into a pickup instead of an SUV), but there is a chance you'll be tossing gear into your vehicle every day. Because of that, you'll want to know what kind of cargo room you have. This is generally one area the Ford Explorer has done well in, but how does the Telluride stack up in comparison?

    With the 2020 Ford Explorer, you will have a total of 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space when all the seats are up. If you fold down the back row, you'll increase this to 47.9 cubic feet, and then to 87.8 cubic feet if you fold down the middle row as well. As for the Telluride, you will start off with 21 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats up. This increases to 46 cubic feet when the back row is folded down and then to 87 cubic feet when the middle row is folded down. So, if you are using all your seats, you will have a little less than three cubic feet of extra space in the Telluride. However, the Explorer has nearly a foot more of total cargo space when the seats are folded down.

  • Safety

    A silver Explorer is parallel parking on a city street after winning 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Kia Telluride.

    Safety Features Are Abundant

    If there is one thing Ford excels at above the competition, it is safety. You will almost always find more safety features available on intro trims than any other manufacturer's vehicle. Ford doesn't believe you should pay extra for key safety features, which is why you'll find the base 2020 Ford Explorer packed with an abundance of safety features. This includes driver, front head, front side, passenger, and rear head airbags, four-wheel ABS and disc brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, daytime running lights, cross-traffic alert, traction control, and lane departure warning. These are all standard, so you don't need to pay a cent more to upgrade the safety equipment on the Explorer.

    Kia, in general, has gotten much better in recent years with the standard safety features it offers. It wasn't always the case, but the 2020 Kia Telluride does come with plenty of excellent safety equipment. This includes driver, front head, front side, passenger and rear head airbags, four-wheel ABS and disc-brakes, plus brake assist, lane departure warning, electronic stability control, daytime running lights, traction control, integrated turn signal mirrors, and blind-spot monitoring.

    Top Trim Safety

    So both SUVs bring their A games. In fact, the safety features you find on the top-trims for both the Explorer and the Telluride are exactly the same as those found on the base packages. Ford does add on a number of specialty tech upgrades though, which use cameras and sensors to monitor traffic around you. This way, your vehicle can adjust its speed automatically during cruise control, the brake assist feature is taken to a completely new level, and the parking assist features are some of the best in the industry.

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