The SUV segment has become one of America’s largest and for obvious reasons. These vehicles are made to haul people, cargo, and light trailers through short and long travels alike, providing plenty of room and comfort. When sedans are too small, and pickup trucks are too utilitarian, the SUV fills the need. Both the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Kia Telluride provide seating for over six people, a significant amount of cargo room, and plenty of cool features that make the ride just as fun as it is functional. But in the super-competitive mid-size SUV market, how do you know where to start? Both Ford and Kia, two of the largest manufacturers, have great options. Let’s take a look at how they can compare by diving deeper into a comparison of the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Kia Telluride. Most importantly, which option fits your needs the best? We shall find out!
Trims, Prices, and Options
Ford offers five distinct trims for the 2020 Explorer with a variety of prices and standard features. Here are the trims and their base MSRPs: Explorer ($32,765), XLT ($36,675), Limited ($48,130), ST ($54,740), and Platinum ($58,250). As you can imagine, the higher in trim you go, the more features become available to you. The Explorer trim is a base model vehicle, while the Platinum trim is a luxury vehicle.
Kia only offers four trims for the 2020 Telluride, and the pricing is relatively similar to the lower Explorer trims. The trims and their MSRPs are, LX ($31,890), S ($34,290), EX ($37,290), and SX ($41,790). You get more options as you look at the higher trims, per usual. However, the average lower price, and fewer trim options make the Telluride less customizable than the Explorer, let’s dive deeper into what these two vehicles have to offer.
Looking Under the Hood
The 2020 Ford Explorer takes the opportunity to experiment with three very distinct engines, the availability varying for each based on the chosen trim. The Explorer, XLT, and Limited trims include a 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that offers 300 horsepower and 310 lb/ft of torque. However, you can opt into a 3.3L hybrid engine with the Limited, delivering 318 hp. The ST and Platinum trims come with an impressively powerful 3.0L EcoBoost engine that offers 400 horsepower and 415 lb/ft of torque. The average fuel-economy data for the Explorer comes back at 27 MPG city and 29 MPG highway.
All Explorer engine options are paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. The Explorer, XLT, and Limited come standard with rear-wheel-drive and an optional upgrade to 4-wheel-drive. The ST and Platinum trim already come standard with 4-wheel-drive, without the rear-wheel-drive option.
The 2020 Kia Telluride is a new entry into the SUV market, and in its debut year, offers only one engine option. This engine provides plenty of power for most drivers, however. The Telluride is equipped with a 3.8L V6 engine that delivers 291 hp and 262 lb/ft of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This also gets an impressive, 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. All Telluride trims also come standard with front-wheel-drive. However, all trims can be upgraded to all-wheel-drive.
Comfort, Space, and Technology
The 2020 Explorer features three rows of seating, which can accommodate seven with a second-row bench seat or six with second-row optional captain’s chairs. The higher trims also offer heated seats for colder days. There are also a variety of equipment packages that can add luxe upholstery and remote engine start, among other features that will provide comfort and luxury to your vehicle experience.
The maximum cargo space in the Explorer is 83.9 cubic feet, and a properly-equipped Explorer can tow up to 5,600 pounds, though additional package options are required. Some trims or upgrades also include a roof rack. All of this means that you can bring the whole family and their luggage without having to be cramped and uncomfortable.
All trims for the Explorer offer tons of fun technology. Standard in all vehicles is a 4G wifi hotspot – your kids will love that. They also all come standard with FordPass Connect. As you go higher in the trims, you can get wireless charging and adaptive cruise control. There are many options, and you can customize the vehicle to your liking.
An upside to the 2020 Kia Telluride is that it offers seating for up to eight with second and third-row bench seats in the LX trim package, meaning you can fit more people than the Explorer, or have some extra wiggle room. All other trims include second-row captain’s seats, which limits the overall seating capacity to seven. It is important to point out that the Telluride comes out of the gate with luxury on the mind for all trims providing standard faux-leather upholstery on all trims (LX, S, EX, and SX).
Regardless of seating capacity, there’s still up to 87 cubic feet of cargo space, and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. In terms of space inside the vehicle, the Telluride wins. But if you go on trips or need to haul extra stuff with you, the Explorer is superior.
As you get higher up the trims with the Telluride, luxury becomes the standard. The EX trim adds LED taillights, sound dampening glass, a hands-free liftgate, keyless entry and start, ventilated seats, a wireless charging pad, and the ability to silence the rear speakers. The SX takes luxury even more seriously, with LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights, two sunroofs, memory function for the driver’s seat, and a ten-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system. However, the standard (for all trims) full entertainment system features Bluetooth, five USB ports, an 8-inch touch screen, and a six-speaker sound system.
The Explorer has tons of standard safety features, followed by some optional upgrades. All trims come standard with lane-keeping assist, reverse sensing systems, and a post-crash alert system. The Limited trim adds more features such as Ford CoPilot360 technology, automatic high beams, and blind-spot monitoring. Safety is obviously at the top of Ford’s mind.
The Telluride has also taken the safety game seriously. With lots of safety features including adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, automatic headlights, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and “drowsy driver” alerts, it is clear that Kia cares about their customers’ well-being.
At a Final Glance
Both the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Kia Telluride have lots to offer. However, it is clear that Ford gives their customers more options and opportunities for customization. Ford and Kia have brought their A-game to the mid-size SUV market in 2020. The Explorer includes a choice from three powerful engines, while the debut Telluride offers only one engine option. Both vehicles can be equipped to tow a basic load and feature plenty of room for passengers and cargo alike. Wherever the road leads you, these vehicles make adequate partners. The two SUVs are almost tied when it comes to the end. But if you want the most out of customization, fuel-economy, and luxury, the 2020 For Explorer is the best choice.