Compared: 2022 Ford Explorer vs. 2022 Kia Telluride

It's sport versus style when contrasting this pair of three-row mid-size SUVs; we compared their interiors, fuel efficiency, and price.


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The 2022 Ford Explorer and the 2022 Kia Telluride are two of the most popular three-row mid-size sport-utility-vehicles currently on sale. Each provides spacious and comfortable family transportation in an affordable package, with the Explorer adding an extra degree of sporty performance and the availability of a hybrid model versus the focus on style and value presented by the Telluride.

How do these two SUVs stack up when compared head-to-head? Here's a quick comparison of the fuel economy, interiors, and pricing of the 2022 versions of the Explorer and the Telluride.


Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride: Fuel Economy

The Kia Telluride only comes with a 3.8-liter V-6 that delivers 291 horsepower and EPA fuel economy estimates of 20-mpg city and 26-mpg highway for front-wheel drive models. Those estimates drop to 19-mpg city and 24-mpg highway when all-wheel drive is ordered.


The Ford Explorer provides a trio of engine choices. The thriftiest at the pump is the 318-hp Hybrid model, with a gas-V6 and electric motor combining for 27-mpg city and 28-mpg highway in rear-wheel drive trim (23-mpg city/26-mpg highway with AWD). Next up, its base 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder produces 300 horsepower and is rated at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for RWD models (with 1 mpg subtracted for AWD).

Each of these Explorer powerplants match or outperform the Telluride's efficiency.

Falling behind the Telluride is the high-performance Explorer ST edition's 400-hp twin-turbo V-6 and its 18-mpg city/25-mpg highway rating for RWD (with 2 mpg lopped off the highway figure with AWD).


Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride: Interior

The Ford Explorer barely pushes past the Kia Telluride in terms of total cargo space, showing 88 cubic feet available versus 87 cubes for the Kia with the rear two rows folded flat. With all three rows occupied, the Telluride's 21 cubic feet between the back seat and the hatch is three cubes better than the Ford.

The Telluride comes standard with eight-passenger seating, while available second-row captain’s chairs reduce that number to seven. The Explorer maxes out at seven in the base model and six for all other trim levels (requiring buyers to add in an optional second-row bench to get back to seven). Again, the headroom is very close, but the Kia enjoys a 3.4-inch legroom advantage in its more generous second-row.


The Telluride offers a more upscale presentation and nicer materials than the Explorer at the high end of each trim ladder in terms of interior design. Ford's top-tier 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen is paired with a 12.3-inch gauge cluster screen, but the Telluride's 10.3- inch unit with navigation is standard versus the 8.0-inch setup found in entry-level Explorers. Both vehicles deliver Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.


Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride: Price

The most affordable 2022 Ford Explorer checks in at $34,540, including destination fees, while the priciest Platinum trim level starts at $57,035.


A base 2022 Kia Telluride starts at a near-identical $34,345, while its most expensive model (the SX) climbs to $44,245—nearly $13,000 cheaper than the Explorer Platinum.

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Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting is a writer and podcast host who contributes to a number of newspapers, automotive magazines, and online publications. More than a decade into his career, he enjoys keeping the shiny side up during track days and always has one too many classic vehicle projects partially disassembled in his garage at any given time. Remember, if it's not leaking, it's probably empty.