2020 Kia Telluride vs 2019 Ford Explorer

2020 Kia Telluride Warrington Pa

The leader in the SUV market is the all-new 2020 Kia Telluride. Kia built a three-row crossover to give the American market larger and more comfortable options than ever before. Created to accommodate large families, and of course, SUV fans wanting more space and more options -the Telluride does it all! Furnished with standard tech options and superpower, Kia claims the 2020 Telluride is the next level in SUV crossovers.

For this article, our contender is the 2019 Ford Explorer XLT. The XLT is Ford’s step up from their first trim package. Besides the few additional standard options, like finally adding a power front-passenger seat and satellite radio, Ford also included a leather-wrapped steering wheel. All-in-all, the Explorer didn’t change much from 2018. We must say the Explorer still has a solid construction and good power, but its third-row legroom is confining.

SEATING The Telluride eight-passenger seating is only limited by how many captain’s chairs you order. What’s attractive about its seating configurations is the third-row comfort and space set new heights for SUV crossovers in its class. The seven-seater Explorer has reasonably soft seats but no back support, which makes for an uncomfortable experience. And, although the optional second-row buckets have good comfort, the seats for some reason are designed with only one armrest. So, while your one arm rests comfortably, the other is left to dangle at your side. Finally, the Explorer’s third-row seating is more uncomfortable than the second row. It seems the farther back you go the more uncomfortable your passengers will be.

2020 Kia Telluride


2019 Ford Explorer

19 / 24 / 21 MPG (city, highway, combined) 16 / 22 / 18
3.8L 6cyl 8A Engine 3.5L 6cyl 6A
291 hp @ 6000 rpm Horsepower 365 hp @ 5500 rpm
All-wheel drive Drive Type All-wheel drive
8 Seating Capacity 7
21.0 Cargo Capacity (cubic feet) 21.0

CARGO When we open the rear tail-gate and estimated the cavernous cargo space of the Telluride, especially with the third-row seating folded down, we measured 21.0 cubic feet. The Explorer offers similar measurements, but the awkward cargo area leaves much to be desired. Even comparing other midsized SUV’s cargo space to the Telluride’s, we find the area behind the second-row enormous.

Kia designed the Telluride with a low base curb weight chassis, so its 291 horsepower performs like an SUV having over 300 horsepower. The exchange of weight was a very smart move because it gave the Telluride excellent acceleration and torque. Our competitor, the Ford Explorer, has 365 horsepower and smaller engine size, but as you can see in our chart below, it seems Ford forgot to incorporate fuel economy.

EPA estimates for the Telluride averages 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. The all-wheel-drive estimates are lower at 19 mpg city, 24 highway, and 21 combined. The Explorer has 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined. Without a showing of fuel economy, we think non-Ford enthusiasts will be looking to other manufacturers!


2020 Kia Telluride

2019 Ford Explorer

EX 4dr SUV AWD (3.8L 6cyl 8A)

XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)



Powerful standard V6 with more than sufficient towing power

Low noise cabin

Roomy interior for large families or groups

Powerful acceleration with the optional turbocharged V6

Plenty of standard high-tech safety features

Easy to use infotainment and tech features

Bold stout exterior styling




Average fuel economy

Poor fuel economy

No available powertrain upgrades

The overall feel of driving changes drastically between trim levels


Little third-row passenger space


Lacks safety features offered as standard options by other manufacturers

After comparing these two vehicles, we found the 2020 Kia Telluride a much more attractive buy than the 2019 Ford Explorer. The Telluride provides its owners with passenger comfort, driver performance, safety and entertainment technologies, and impressive fuel economy. Kia pushed the limits and Telluride is the vehicle that will lead the way in the SUV market.


Vehicles showed with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. See dealer for details. Some features are only available as part of packages. Gateway Kia & Kia Motors reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.