This has been an exciting year in Iowa when it comes to three-row SUVs. The biggest news so far is the release of the completely redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer, which has always been a trendsetter in the segment. But another big release is the all-new Kia Telluride, which has become an instant hit across the country.

If you're shopping for a three-row SUV, you have probably the best selection available that there's ever been. But that leaves our Iowa customers asking, which three-row SUV should I buy? Today we're going to compare the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer vs the new 2020 Kia Telluride.

Both of these three-row SUVs have proven huge hits with both reviewers and owners alike, but they take different approaches to providing family comfort and capability. So let's take a closer look at some of the similarities and differences between the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Kia Telluride.


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Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride - Interior & Features

When buying a three-row SUV like the Ford Explorer or Kia Telluride, Iowa families tend to prioritize comfort, spaciousness, and safety. Tech features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have become more important than ever, as has quality interior construction.

The 2020 Ford Explorer's interior can seat up to seven passengers, or Iowa buyers can swap out for captain's chairs for a more luxurious second row. The 2020 Ford Explorer has a much more spacious interior than the outgoing model, meaning all seven passengers have plenty of room, as does cargo behind the third row.

Meanwhile, the Kia Telluride has standard seating for eight, and also has an option for captain's chairs on trims above the base Telluride.

Looking at standard equipment, there's no doubt that both the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Kia Telluride are SUVs born of the modern age. With a wide range of tech and standard safety features, both SUVs offer an impressive array of options across all trim levels.

Standard safety features on the 2020 Ford Explorer include automatic high beams, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning & mitigation, and pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. These features are bundled together as Ford's Co-Pilot360, and come standard on all 2020 Explorer models.

Meanwhile, standard safety tech on the 2020 Kia Telluride includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and a drowsy driver warning system.

However, adding Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ to the 2020 Explorer adds a semi-autonomous driving system with adaptive cruise control, improved lane keeping assist navigation, and an evasive driving aide to avoid sudden stops. The Kia Telluride only receives similar features and automatic high beams if you go with the range-topping trim level, while the Ford Explorer has access to the Assist+ package on all but the base trim.

Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride - Engines & Driving

While both the 2020 Ford Explorer and Kia Telluride offer cabins that can be equipped luxuriously and packed with features, the powertrain options and driving experience truly separate the two three-row SUVs.

When it comes to engines, the Kia Telluride only offers one: a 3.8l V6 producing 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. While this is plenty to power the SUV, it loses out on horsepower, torque, and efficiency compared to the 2020 Ford Explorer's engine options.

The base engine on the 2020 Ford Explorer is a turbocharged 2.3l engine producing 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This engine is both more powerful and more efficient than the engine on the Kia Telluride.

Stepping up, the 2020 Explorer also offers a turbocharged 3.0l V6 that puts out 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft in the Platinum trim, or 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque in the performance ST trim level.

There is also a 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid, which uses a 3.3l V6 and electric motor to produce 318 horsepower while hitting 28 mpg combined.

As you can see, the 2020 Ford Explorer offers much more exciting powertrain options than the Telluride, but there's an even bigger difference in their driving experience. New for 2020, the Ford Explorer comes standard with RWD as opposed to the FWD of most of the competition. This drastically improves driving dynamics, as well as towing.

While the 2020 Kia Telluride provides a comfortable ride befitting a three-row SUV, the Ford Explorer manages to offer exceptional comfort while delivering on an engaging, powerful driving dynamic that is sure to lead to plenty of imitation as rivals catch up.


When comparing the 2020 Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride, it's clear that both vehicles deliver many of the goods that Iowa families are looking for in their family SUV. However, they have taken a different approach. Both can be outfitted with premium leather and a wide range of features, but the 2020 Explorer offers greater versatility both in options packages and powertrains.

Looking at the feature list and overall design of the 2020 Ford Explorer, it's not surprise that each new Explorer has been considered the flagship of the three-row SUV class. With power rivaling full-size pickups and interior luxury for the entire family, the 2020 Ford Explorer is something truly special.

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