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2022 Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride

2022 Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride

2022 Explorer vs Telluride - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

Many of today’s families prefer the flexibility of a three-row SUV. While this segment is extremely competitive, the 2022 Ford Explorer and the 2022 Kia Telluride remain among the segment's best options. Both of these models bring some great qualities to the table.

The Ford Explorer has remained a best-selling vehicle for more than three decades. Automotive journalists rave about the latest generation’s impressive performance capabilities and satisfying list of standard equipment. A new ST-Line trim has arrived this year, which will appeal to drivers who seek a sportier look.

Although the Kia Telluride hasn’t been on the market for as long as the Explorer, it’s already racked up several noteworthy automotive awards. Many people love the Telluride’s cool exterior styling and luxurious cabin. A handful of new standard features makes the 2022 model an even greater value. Keep reading to find out which one of these SUVs wins this head-to-head battle.

The Powertrain

The 2022 Ford Explorer’s lineup offers three different powertrains. Most buyers stick with the SUV’s standard EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Its output of 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque will definitely satisfy the majority of drivers. A 10-speed automatic helps the Explorer to deliver a gutsy performance. Road tests show it's capable of accelerating to 60 mph in an impressive 6.8 seconds.

Folks who need more muscle under the hood can upgrade to the Explorer’s EcoBoost V6 engine. It raises the performance meter by pushing out up to 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. A rapid 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds ranks the racy Explorer ST among the quickest models in the segment.

Drivers seeking maximum efficiency will be interested in the Explorer’s hybrid V6 powertrain, which develops a fulfilling 318 hp. It promotes spirited acceleration while also reducing fuel consumption.

All versions of the 2022 Kia Tellurude come equipped with a modern V6 engine. It’s tuned by Kia to push out 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. This SUV’s eight-speed automatic transmission effectively transfers power to the wheels. Although the Telluride is not as swift as the Explorer, drivers will enjoy its smooth and effortless acceleration. Expect a 0-60 mph time of around 7.1 seconds.

In regard to towing capabilities, the Explorer takes the win. While trims equipped with a turbo four-cylinder engine can tow up to 5,300 pounds, stepping up to the twin-turbo V6 engine increases the Explorer’s tow rating to 5,600 pounds. Meanwhile, a properly equipped Telluride can handle up to a 5,000-pound load.

The edge in overall fuel efficiency also goes to the Ford Explorer. While trims equipped with the base engine have an EPA fuel economy of 21 mpg town/28 mpg freeway, opting for the EcoBoost V6 engine lowers the rating to 18 mpg town/24 mpg freeway. Choosing the Explorer’s hybrid engine results in a rating of 27 mpg town/28 mpg highway.

Most commuters will find the Telluride to be frugal enough to drive daily. This SUV can return up to 20 mpg in city traffic and 26 mpg on the highway. Like the Explorer, it’s engineered to develop maximum power using regular gasoline.

Folks who plan to regularly take off-road adventures may find the new Explorer to be more appealing. While the Telluride’s optional AWD system is great for snowy conditions and weekend camping trips, Ford’s available AWD system features a Terrain Management System. Drivers can select from various modes, including Trail and Deep Snow/Sand settings.

An all-new Timberline trim has recently been introduced to the Explorer’s lineup. It’s one of the most adventurous versions of the Explorer to ever hit the market. A few of its rugged enhancements include a limited-slip differential for enhanced off-road traction, protective skid plates, and a raised suspension with specialized shock absorbers.

Both of these SUVs performed well during emergency braking tests. When braking at 60 mph, it took the Explorer around 121 feet to come to a complete stop. However, heavy-duty brakes reduce the racy Explorer ST’s stopping distance to a 114 feet. By comparison, the Kia Telluride recorded an equally impressive 60-0 mph braking distance of 118 feet.

In regard to reliability, the 2022 Ford Explorer has mixed reviews. While some evaluators give the Explorer a below-average dependability rating, others consider it to be more reliable than most competitors. Over the past few years, the Telluride has proven itself to be a more reliable vehicle overall. This is great news for drivers who aren’t looking to spend a lot of money on repairs.

Kia’s superior warranty gives the Telluride a clear edge over the Explorer. Its lengthy powertrain warranty lasts for up to 100,000 miles. Ford covers the Explorer with a 60,000–mile warranty. Kia’s 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty also outclasses Ford’s 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.


Unlike the 2022 Kia Telluride, the 2022 Ford Explorer is built on a rear-wheel-drive platform. This helps promote especially balanced handling. Many people enjoy the Explorer’s confident driving dynamics. A performance-tuned suspension makes the Explorer ST even more engaging to drive on the street.

Although the new Telluride isn’t offered with a sports-tuned suspension, it still manages to inspire drivers with total confidence. Torque Vectoring Cornering Control helps the SUV to handle quite well on twisty roads. Only the Telluride offers a self-leveling rear suspension, which helps keep the vehicle more balanced when towing a load.

Both of these SUVs offer a deliver a rather ride on the interstate. While driving over uneven pavement can cause passengers to feel some bumpiness, most people won’t have any complaints. Because of the Explorer ST’s stiffer sport suspension, its ride quality does suffer. Buyers who desire maximum comfort should avoid this high-performance trim.

Of these two models, the Telluride has the quietest cabin. This silent nature of the Telluride’s cabin makes it feel more like a premium luxury vehicle. When traveling at moderate highway speeds, expect the Explorer to allow more wind noise to invade its interior.

The Telluride scores additional points for its impressive outward visibility. Large windows help the drivers to remain aware of other vehicles on the road. Although the Explorer’s outward visibility is decent, drivers are likely to encounter a few more blind spots.

While the Explorer can carry up to seven passengers, Kia designed the Telluride to accommodate up to eight people. Families who need the most space will be happier with the Telluride, which provides an extra 3.4 inches of legroom in its second-row seat. Although the Explorer has a slightly more spacious third-row seat, larger adults will still find it to be an uncomfortable place to sit.

The edge in overall seat comfort goes to the Kia Telluride. Its nicely contoured seats provide excellent support and cushioning throughout the day. While the Explorer’s front seats are comfy, some reviewers say its rear seats could use more cushioning. While Ford’s optional Multi-Contour seats have built-in massage functions, they are not recommended. When these seats are turned off, they have a rather lumpy feel.

There are a couple of luxurious trims in the Explorer's range. Nonetheless, the Telluride is more upscale. In many ways, it feels like a budget-friendly Land Rover. More hard plastics are found inside the Explorer.

These family haulers offer a similar amount of cargo space. With its third-row seat folded flat, the Telluride provides 46 cubic feet of storage space. Meanwhile, folding the Explorer’s third-row seat expands its available cargo space to 43.9 cubic feet.

Like the Kia Telluride, the Ford Explorer features a modern infotainment system that’s easy to use. Instead of upgrading to Ford's larger 10.1-inch touchscreen, Explorer buyers should stick with the standard 8.0-inch touchscreen. According to reviewers, the larger screen has been heavily criticized for its lack of usability. Kia’s newly standard 10.25-inch HD touchscreen performs much better.

In contrast to the Telluride, the Explorer can be equipped with a fully digital gauge cluster. Drivers will be able to customize the screen’s view. On the other hand, only the Telluride offers a head-up display. This safety-enhancing feature puts speed, driving directions, and other key info in the driver’s direct line of sight.


While the NHTSA doesn’t provide frontal crash scores for the 2022 Ford Explorer, this SUV receives a perfect rating in side crash protection. It also earned top marks in every impact test performed by the IIHS, thus being named a Top Safety Pick+.

The Telluride receives the NHTSA’s coveted five-star overall safety rating. However, there are some potential weak points. According to the IIHS, this SUV’s side crash protection isn’t quite as good. Its standard halogen headlights also don’t perform as well. Buyers are encouraged to upgrade to the Telluride’s LED headlights, which are standard on the Explorer.

As expected, these SUVs are equipped with a rearview camera. However, they can be upgraded with a 360-degree camera system.

Blind-spot information, automatic emergency braking, and active lane assistance come standard on the Explorer. Not only does the Telluride also provide these confidence-inspiring features, but it also comes standard with intelligent cruise control. Furthermore, Kia’s forward collision warning system provides pedestrian and cyclist detection.

The Explorer does offer some exclusive driving aids. While rear brake assist helps prevent drivers from backing into obstacles, evasive steering assist aids your ability to maneuver around fast-approaching road hazards. Ford also offers the Explorer with an automated parking system.

Some exclusive safety technologies are also available for the Telluride. Kia’s blind-spot monitor can display video of vehicles approaching in the next lane. Meanwhile, Safe Exit Assist helps prevent youngsters from opening doors into oncoming traffic.

What Has the Best Value?

Prices for the 2022 Ford Explorer begin at around $33,240. Meanwhile, the 2022 Kia Telluride has a starting MSRP of $32,800. A significantly better warranty ultimately makes the Telluride a better value.

Drivers seeking the most luxury will be comparing the Telluride SX and the Explorer Platinum. When equipped with Kia’s highly desirable SX Prestige package, the Telluride SX demands around $45,000. By comparison, prices for the Explorer Platinum begin at $52,100. Choosing the Telluride SX enables car shoppers to save money without sacrificing any creature comforts.

Which is Better?

Both of these SUVs are fine family vehicles. However, each has its own special attributes. Drivers who desire an SUV with enhanced performance capabilities will be interested in the sporty Explorer ST. Meanwhile, off-road enthusiasts should strongly consider the all-new Explorer Timberline.

Car shoppers seeking value can’t go wrong with the 2022 Kia Telluride. It’s protected by one of the best warranties in the business. Another highlight is the Telluride’s upscale cabin, which puts a superior emphasis on comfort.

Both of these stylish SUVs can turn heads. However, the Telluride’s bold exterior design stands out even more. Kia’s optional Nightfall Edition package, which adds several blacked-out treatments, looks especially cool.

While the 2022 Ford Explorer does have some clear advantages, the 2022 Kia Telluride wins this head-to-head comparison. It’s an ideal pick for drivers who are seeking a stylish family vehicle that offers excellent everyday comfort. An impressive list of standard equipment and a 100,000-mile warranty also help make the Telluride hard to beat.

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2021 Ford Explorer VS Kia Telluride