With small-body crossovers dominating the market, finding an affordable three-row SUVs can be a chore. There are a number of things to consider: styling, safety, utility, comfort, and of course, price.

Enter the 2020 Telluride, Kia’s second try at the three-row, mid-size SUV. The Korean automaker didn’t pull any punches this time, packing the Telluride with modern tech and a number safety features as standard. The Ford Explorer, the ever-present stalwart in the mid-size SUV space, has gone through a complete redesign for 2020. Still a reliable choice, the all-new Explorer’s standard offerings and safety features are great for anyone hauling groups of people.

For those of us who can’t afford to buy both, here’s a rundown of how the Telluride and the Explorer stack up.

Buy This

2020 Kia Telluride
2020 Kia Telluride

All-wheel-drive, 8-passenger, 4-door hatchback

Engine:
DOHC 24-valve V-6
Aluminum block and heads
Direct fuel injection
8-speed automatic transmission
291 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
262 lb-ft torque @ 5200 rpm

Measurements:
Wheelbase: 114.2 in
Length: 196.9 in
Width: 78.3 in
Height: 69.3 in
Passenger volume: 155 cu ft
Cargo volume: 21 cu ft
Curb weight: 4443 lb

Standard features:
Body-color heated side mirrors w/ LED turn signal indicators
Daytime running light (DRL)
Body-color door handles
Front and rear skid plate
Positioning LED lights, and projector beam headlights
Rear spoiler
Shark fin antenna
Three (3) 12 V power outlets
Five (5) USB ports
Six (6) speakers
60/40 split-folding 2nd-row seats
8.0-inch touch-screen display
Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay®
Blind-spot collision avoidance assist-rear (BCA-R)
Bluetooth® wireless technology hands-free connectivity
Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA), w/ pedestrian detection
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
SOFINO leatherette seat trim

Performance:
Zero to 60 mph: 7.0 sec
Fuel Economy: City/highway – 19/24 mpg

Wheels:
18-inch alloy wheels

Safety:
Auto emergency braking w/ pedestrian detection
Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Lane Following Assist (LFA)
Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
Driver Attention Warning (DAW)

Base price: $32

Pros & Cons
✔ Price
✔ Robust standard V6 with decent towing power
✔ Spacious interior for large families
✔ Lots of standard tech and safety features
✔ Plush ride; well-shaped seats for all-day comfort
✘ No available powertrain upgrades
✘ Lack of small-item storage

Not That

2020 Ford Explorer
2020 Ford Explorer

All-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback

Engine:
Turbocharged, intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4
Direct fuel injection
Aluminum block and head
10-speed automatic transmission
300 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
310 lb-ft torque @ 3500 rpm

Measurements:
Wheelbase: 119.1 in
Length: 198.8 in
Width: 78.9 in
Height: 69.9 in
Passenger volume: 156 cu ft
Cargo volume: 18 cu ft
Curb weight: 4498 lb

Standard features:
Lane Keeping System
Reverse Sensing System
Tri-zone electronic temperature control
Rear auxiliary climate control
Configurable daytime running lights
Dome/map lights in all three rows
Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler
Integrated key fob
Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start
Three (3) 12V Powerpoints
Dual second-row smart charging USB ports
Rear view camera with washer
Remote Start
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
FordPass Connect™ 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot
Six (6) speaker AM/FM radio, MP3-compatible
Second-row captain seats with Power-Assist Fold
Third-row 50/50 split-fold bench seat
Cloth seating
LED lighting

Performance:
Zero to 60 mph: 6.2 sec
Fuel Economy: City/highway – 20/27 mpg

Wheels:
18-inch alloy wheels

Safety:
AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™
Belt-Minder®
Front Passenger Knee Airbag
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether Anchors for Children)
Safety Canopy® System
SOS Post-Crash Alert System™
Traction control

Base price: $37k

Pros & Cons
✔ Fully redesigned for 2020
✔ Increased passenger cargo room
✔ Rear-wheel-drive improves handling and towing
✔ New hybrid and high-performance ST versions
✘ Expensive pricing on higher trim models
✘ Poor interior materials on higher trim models
✘ Not enough USB ports

The Kia Telluride is a first-class SUV giving you the luxury feel, without the draining your pockets. Kia’s focus on style, interior space, driving dynamics is well placed. The redesigned Explorer, while very capable, has been out done by Kia in interior accommodations, powertrain, and driving dynamics.

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