2020 Kia Telluride vs Ford Explorer

2020 Kia Telluride vs Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer was the bestselling three-row sport utility vehicle in America in 2018. This aging SUV is long overdue for an overhaul, which is coming next year. But the Explorer will find some unexpected–and serious–competition in the shape of the 2020 Kia Telluride. This all-new vehicle is the first Kia SUV to sport a third row and the longest Kia ever. In this head-to-head, we’ll see what the old stalwart and the newcomer have to offer buyers who are looking for more interior space and the performance to match.

Towing: Tie

Towing is a good yardstick of what an engine can do. Ford fans may find this shocking, but Kia is now competitive in the towing business. With its Towing Package, Kia Telluride owners can expect to tow up to 5,000 pounds. So strap in and move that recreational boat or a hard-side RV. The Telluride can take it and you to the lake or the mountain. The 2020 Ford Explorer pulls even with the Telluride, with the exact same 5,000-pound projected towing capacity. They’re neck and neck, so let’s continue.

Accessibility and Space: 2020 Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride wins this fight. You will be amazed at the versatility of the space in your SUV. For starters, there’s the power liftgate, giving you immediate and easy access to 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Then there’s the One-Touch 3rd-Row Entry system, that automatically moves the second row out of the way for ridiculously easy access to the third row, one of the primary issues for anyone with a third row SUV. Finally, there’s the best-in-class second-row leg room, which means that cargo space must be cavernous when both rear rows are folded down.

2020 Kia Telluride Interior

Ford isn’t saying how big the newly designed Explorer’s cargo space dimension will be, though there is talk that it will be pretty competitive. The 2019 Ford Explorer now boasts 21 cubic feet, the same as the 2020 Telluride. Time will tell if the Explorer can improve upon that number. But there’s no one-button access to the third seat, no mention of reclining third seats, and no best-in-class second-row leg room. The Telluride has set a high bar for accessibility and space and we’re not sure the Explorer can match or beat it.

2020 Kia Telluride Exterior

Exterior Styling: 2020 Kia Telluride

Styling is subjective, we’ll admit that much. But the Kia Telluride has the advantage of looking new. Despite its promised overhaul, the 2020 Ford Explorer’s silhouette looks essentially unchanged from 2019. But the blunt, tiger-nose grille of the Kia Telluride has a different look that is already generating buzz: one part pony car, one part SUV. The combination is a decidedly exciting style, one we hope will revolutionize the look of the large SUV industry-wide. The Explorer looks like more of the same, but the Telluride is a master act of design.