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2023 Ford Explorer vs. Kia Telluride

1. Introduction

Let's first take into account the 2023 Ford Explorer. The base model comes at a starting price of roughly about $36,395 and can go up to about $58,000 (Platinum model) and in my own opinion is a typical looking SUV which has been its appearance for many years. Compared to the Kia Telluride, Ford does give potential buyers three other options (ST, King Ranch, and the Platinum Models) which are specifically becoming more similar to luxury SUV models. The ST and King Ranch models both offer a four-wheel drive system that includes an automatic selectable system which can switch between rear-wheel drive and four-wheel depending on traction and terrain. This is perfect for those that are living in uncertain weather conditions and/or enjoy camping and driving in the wilderness. It seems that the finish on the Ford Explorer has improved as well. Materials used in the interior are appealing to the eye and touch and Ford has finally made a switch to push-button interfaces located around the interior and center console of the vehicle. Also included in the interior is a new/innovative vertical touch screen console which acts as the brain for the car's entertainment and other controls. This feature is only available on the ST and Platinum models. The touch screen is a 10.1-inch display with Sync 3 capability and includes voice activation. Another unique feature about the touch screen is that the system will be receiving some intelligence about how the car is being driven and will predict what settings best suit the driver. This could be helpful for those that simply just want to hop in a vehicle and take a smooth/relaxing drive home from work. Step in and get away from the stress, worry, and frustration. Ford has also made one feature standard on all its models known as Co-Pilot 360 Driver Plus. This is the advanced driving assistance system that includes speed sign recognition, lane centering, and evasive steering assist. This system uses map data and traffic signs to help in everyday driving in regards to traffic and what settings would best suit the driver's use of the vehicle. This is only the beginning for the Ford Motor Company's future use of GPS and radar data and it is likely that there will be more advanced features for the generations to come. Please visit our Comprehensive Guide to Kia Model Comparisons to learn more about 2023 Ford Explorer vs 2023 Kia Telluride.

Both the 2023 Ford Explorer and Kia Telluride are great 3-row midsize SUVs that are moving in the direction of modern family transportation. The main objective of these SUVs is to make life on the road as easy as possible for driver and passenger. The 2023 Ford Explorer versus the Kia Telluride offers buyers two choices from the same platform. Although the Explorer has been around for many years, the Telluride has just been released in 2019. Kia and the Ford Motor Company have been around for many years selling us automobiles and ongoing technology and safety features are what made them both industry leaders. Both brands are equally matched in value, technological advancements, and safety features.

2. Design and Features

The lighting of the Explorer is highly efficient with automatic high-beams, heated and ventilated lighting. Efficient lighting is a relevant factor for large families with tod from sports and extracurricular activities during the morning, afternoon and night time periods. Overall, the Ford Explorer has an edge in comparison to the Telluride with regards to exterior design and features. [1][2][3]

The Telluride also has a good exterior design, but has less of a variety in terms of the wheel designs and colors. The Explorer has over 8 different wheel types to choose from and 10 different paint colors. Moving onto the tailgate, the Telluride has a manual tailgate which is less convenient. The powered tailgate in the Explorer can be controlled with a touch of a button and will open and close automatically. This feature is very convenient when loading and unloading cargo.

The 2023 Ford Explorer has an improved exterior design, powered tailgate, and excellent lighting. The exterior design has gone to another level when it comes to aesthetic appeal and functionality. It has moved towards a more efficient and sleeker look. The front grill and headlights are more visually appealing. The body has a redesigned look with a new color and an alloy wheel design. The exterior features are one of the strong points of the Explorer and stand out in comparison to the Telluride.

2.1 Exterior Design

At base, the Telluride looks more like a contemporary SUV than the more traditional-looking Explorer. The body is sleek and aerodynamic in contrast to Ford's more boxy and upright design. The Telluride comes with LED lighting on the front and rear end and 18-20 inch wheels dependent on the trim level. With "more" being the theme for the Telluride's design process, it's 7.9 inches longer, 2.4 inches wider, 3.9 inches taller, and has a 4.7 inch longer wheelbase than the Explorer. This means the Telluride has far more interior and cargo space, but taking all this extra size into account, it won't feel massive to drive compared to the Explorer.

Starting with the Explorer, Ford describes the new model's design as "adventure-ready". The look is boxy and robust, with a bold, upright design that looks to pay homage to the Explorers of old. This is in line with Ford's continued trend of reintroducing its SUVs of the late 90s/early 2000s with a modern twist, the best example of this phenomenon being the 2021 Bronco. The Explorer comes with LED lighting on the front and rear end and is equipped with 18-20 inch aluminum wheels. There's plenty of customization options for a unique look.

The design of an automobile is always a vital part of its appeal. It's what initially draws an individual to the vehicle and can often be the deciding factor when choosing between two different models. An individual's tastes can vary based on any number of factors, and for a family vehicle, it's crucial to have an outward appearance that facilitates any needs on the part of the consumer. Both Ford and Kia have a strong blueprint for their respective SUVs, with the Explorer and Telluride being no exception, and while the two vehicles have aims at entirely different sectors of the market, it remains an interesting battle of old tastes against new.

2.2 Interior Design

Other interior features found in the Telluride include: - Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob - Ambient lighting, which includes an increase in cabin and cargo mood lighting - Dual Sunroofs. The front sunroof is standard on the EX and SX trims. - Interior woodgrain trim comes standard on the EX and SX trims. - EX and SX trims have a Quiet Mode feature, which dims the rear speakers and quiets the front speakers when activated. - SOFINO synthetic leather seat trim comes standard on the EX trim, while the SX comes standard with genuine leather.

The interior design of the Telluride has enough headroom and legroom to accommodate adults in all three rows of seating. Telluride LX is standard with 8-passenger seating with a 2nd-row bench seat but also available 7-passenger seating with 2nd-row captain's chairs. The 2nd-row seats come with a one-touch mechanism for easy third-row access to both the LX and EX trims. The SX is available with the optional 2nd row Captain's Chairs as well. Available interior colors include a smooth Satin Black or rich Dune Brown Leather seat trim.

2.3 Technology Features

Driving a car is also a sign of luxury and comfort. This is not only important through speed and function, but in this era, high technology can also enhance the comfort of driving a car itself. Not because technology gives people much "dryers," but technology right in the car can ensure safety while driving. High technology is usually inserted in a new car series, which also differentiates the price of the new car series from the old car series. The more sophisticated the technology in a car, the more expensive it will be. This comparison would not be a difference, but it could be a reference if you want to own a car with high technology features. The safety features offered by Ford and Kia in their car technology are Ford Co-Pilot with advanced driver assistance system and Kia Drive Wise, which support safety for automatic emergency braking and keeping system. This feature can reduce the severity of accidents and also provide convenience for you while driving because it does not require you to drive. Automatic braking is unique to a vehicle in the event of a crash, so the risk of a collision can be reduced. This feature is expected to provide optimal safety!

3. Performance and Engine Options

The Telluride comes stocked with a 3.8L V6 engine that gives it an output of 291 hp and torque of 262 lb-ft. This engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission that allows the Telluride to reach 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. This kind of fuel economy is impressive for a vehicle of its size and weight. This engine also allows for a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs when properly equipped with an all-wheel drive system. The 3.8L engine is the only powertrain option of the Telluride, but with fuel economy and towing capacity like that, not many are complaining. The Explorer comes with four different options for its powertrain. The 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 engine with an output of 300 hp and 310 lb-ft and the 3.3L hybrid engine with an output of 318 hp and 322 lb-ft are the first two options for the base, XLT, and Limited trims of the Explorer. The ST trim of the Explorer comes with a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine with an impressive output of 400 hp and 415 lb-ft. Finally, the Platinum trim has a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 with the same output as the ST version of the engine. All of these engines come standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The fuel economy of the 2.3L engine is 21 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, and the towing capacity is 3,000 lbs. The fuel economy of the 3.3L hybrid engine, although unknown, is expected to be significantly more than the 2.3L and have a towing capacity of around 5,000 lbs.

3.1 Powertrain Options

The 2023 Ford Explorer will offer four powertrains. The standard 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 will be the most powerful powertrain of the four, featuring a conservative 365 horsepower and 380 ft.-lbs. of torque dyno tested and up to 400 ft.-lbs. transient overboost with 93 octane, due to be the most powerful in the segment. Its twin-turbo setup will feature a small, high-output turbo for quick throttle response and a larger turbo to provide more boost throughout the powerband. This setup virtually eliminates any turbo lag and provides a consistent and steady torque curve to deliver a smooth flow of power. The V6 will provide the best-in-class towing, estimated to be around 5100 lbs. The displacement and output of the V6 are designed to offer comparable power to the much larger and less efficient V8 engines of the previous generation SUVs, yet with the efficiency and responsiveness of a smaller modern engine. Also offered will be a naturally aspirated V6 engine, a V6 Hybrid, and an I4 motor. The naturally aspirated motor is rumored to be the Duratec35, which features Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) and Twin-turbo Equal Length exhaust manifolds in the 3.5-liter form used in the Ford GT. This technology has become widely used by manufacturers to provide variable valve timing, but the true and recent development in this technology is that Ford's Ti-VCT is the use of two different cams, one for inlet valve timing and the other for exhaust, to provide more thorough scavenging of exhaust gases and therefore a higher power output while still maintaining efficiency by not relying on a larger displacement and utilizing effective emissions control. The V6 Explorer is also expected to use a new 6-speed automatic transmission to optimize fuel economy, performance, and smooth shifting, a key advantage in the powertrain for the Explorer over its competitors. A powerful 240 horsepower V6 Duratec mated to a VTM-4 automatic transmission only will be offered in the upmarket trim levels, which is an increase from the previous 210 horsepower and will feature better fuel economy and lower emissions. An I4 motor is also expected to be offered in the future models to maximize fuel efficiency. The I4 engine is Direct Injection with a high level of DOHC valvetrain sophistication and is up to 15% more fuel-efficient than a conventional port fuel injection engine as seen in Honda's RT and Toyota's V6. The true impact of this engine in the Explorer will be seen in years to come and is expected to be a slow progression out of the V6 motors due to North American consumer preference.

3.2 Fuel Efficiency

The Ford Explorer has a slight edge when it comes to fuel efficiency, although certain configurations of the Telluride aren't far off. The standard rear-wheel-drive Explorer with a turbocharged four-cylinder is the thriftiest of the bunch, earning ratings of 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The news isn't bad with the all-wheel-drive version, which only drops by 1 mpg for both city and highway ratings. The hybrid model really boosts the Explorer's efficiency scores; rear-wheel-drive versions earn a stunning 27 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, ratings that make the hybrid version among the most efficient seven-passenger mainstream SUVs for sale today. With all-wheel-drive, the Explorer hybrid still earns impressive scores, with 23 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Meanwhile, fuel efficiency is hardly a selling point for large crossovers despite an increasing trend of the availability of hybrid models. Still, the Telluride does relatively well for its size, with both all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive V6 models scoring 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway ratings. That's actually quite close to many three-row crossovers with less space. The only downside is that Kia does not currently offer a more efficient four-cylinder or hybrid powertrain in the Telluride.

3.3 Towing Capacity

The Kia Telluride has a solid towing capacity of 5000 pounds with its 3.8 Lambda engine. While this is a big step up from other Kia vehicles, it is not quite up to the Ford Explorer's new capability to tow 5000 pounds. So for those who need a solid towing capacity, the Ford Explorer would be the better choice between these two vehicles.

The Ford Explorer also has Hill Descent Control and Trailer Sway Control on the Terrain Management System so that your trailer does not sway while turning or going down a hill.

The 2023 Ford Explorer has a towing capacity of 2000-5000 pounds. This is significantly more towing capacity than the Ford Explorer has had in the past years. The reason for the 3000-pound range difference is because of the different engines in the Ford Explorer. The 2.3L I4 engine has a 2000-pound towing capacity, and the 3.5L V6 engine has a 5000-pound towing capacity. This makes the Ford Explorer a great choice for those who want an SUV to tow something relatively heavy.

The towing capacity of an SUV is important for many people looking to buy a new vehicle. After all, the main job for some people's SUVs is towing. Some people may need to tow a boat, a camper, a trailer, or anything else that is large and heavy.

4. Safety and Reliability

A wide range of safety features are spread out quite evenly amongst the models of the Explorer. While the more basic trims only come with the standard safety package of airbags, anti-lock brakes, and other stability features, from the XLT model and up there is a mass of additional safety features. Primarily aimed at young families, Ford is offering plenty of features to aid in parent peace of mind. Post-2016 models come with a rearview camera and reverse sensing system to help prevent any scuffs and bumps during maneuvers, and inflatable rear seatbelts in the second-row seating are available on higher trims to provide added safety and peace of mind for transporting children. The more exciting safety feature for the Ford is the Co-Pilot 360 safety technology suite offered in the second highest trim level (limited) and standard for the top trim ST. Included here is the new advanced automatic emergency braking system, a lane-keeping system, and a rearview camera with a built-in lens cleaner. More basic safety features may be here in the Telluride, but Kia approaches safety with a focus on quality over quantity.

Both the Kia Telluride and the Ford Explorer prioritize safety, offering a number of driver assistance features alongside the expected safety tech suite. For the Kia, safe driving starts with prevention of accidents. This means that the Telluride should be able to avoid danger before physical safety is compromised. In practice, this means higher level adaptive cruise control, predictive pedestrian warnings, and collision avoidance assist are all standard from the EX trim level up. An excellent feature to protect against driving fatigue and potentially distracting children is the safe exit assist, which will alert the driver if an approaching vehicle is detected and lock the rear doors so that they cannot be opened. This is a feature that would be desirable with the same functionality for the front driver to prevent domestic disputes on a driving holiday.

4.1 Safety Features

The Explorer has a perfect overall safety rating based on NHTSA criteria, with 5/5 stars including 5/5 for accident and rollover, however only 4/5 stars for frontal crash. The IIHS is generally considered more severe in their testing criteria, and the Explorer performs well, getting a good rating in all categories including headlights, with the exception of an average (3/6) rating for child seat anchors ease of use. The 2021 Telluride has also performed well in safety tests, although no overall NHTSA rating was found, it managed to gain 5/5 in all crash tests including frontal, side, and rollover. The IIHS testing has been slightly more mixed, gaining a good rating in all categories with the exception of the headlights, which have been rated poor on most trim levels. Overall, both of these vehicles have performed quite well in recent safety testing, so they will likely continue to be deemed safe choices in the near future. [4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

The safety features of both of these vehicles are pretty similar, with both offering adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert. The Explorer comes with standard automatic emergency braking with pre-collision assist, while the Telluride only has that feature on higher trim levels. The Explorer also has a unique rearview camera system known as "Rear View Camera Washer," which is designed to prevent buildup and blockage of the camera. The Telluride, however, does have a unique and advanced safety feature that is not offered on the Explorer, which is safe exit assist, which alerts the driver or passenger opening their door not to exit the vehicle when approaching traffic is detected. Overall, the Telluride comes with a few more unique safety features, though the standard and slightly better safety rating of the Explorer may balance this out for potential buyers.

4.2 Crash Test Ratings

Next is to compare both vehicles' crash test ratings. A crash test rating is something that can't be tested personally and is only proven in an accident, but this is something crucial to know before considering to purchase a vehicle because this is a matter of the passengers' safety. The Ford Explorer has an overall 5-star crash test rating after being tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 5-star rating was also given to the Ford Explorer under the calculated probability of injury in a frontal and side crash test. Meanwhile, the Kia Telluride crash test rating is stated to have a total of 4-star rating after also being tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Under the calculated probability of injury in a frontal crash test, the Telluride was rated 4 stars, but in the side crash test, it was rated a total of 5 stars. Based on this, the calculated probability of injury in the Telluride side crash test is less compared to the frontal crash test, so it is safe to say that the Telluride is also a safe vehicle, but still, the overall crash test rating of the Ford Explorer is better.

Starting off with comparing the safety features of both vehicles, the safety features of the Ford Explorer and Kia Telluride are moderately the same. Each vehicle is equipped with airbags just about anywhere, starting from the front to the 3rd row of seats, ensuring safety for all passengers. Next, both vehicles provide a pre-collision system and blind spot detection with a sensor indicator. The pre-collision system in both vehicles is able to alert the driver of a possible collision, and if the driver does not respond in time, the system will brake automatically to prevent or reduce the impact of the collision. The blind spot detection system will provide an indicator light on the side mirror when there is a vehicle detected in the blind spot. Both vehicles also have a lane-keeping system with an aid to prevent unintended lane changes. Step back and think that this is not some luxury car but an SUV, so these features are already considered advanced for this type of vehicle. Keep in mind that the features mentioned are only some of the key features shared by both vehicles. The more advanced features, such as active park assist and evasive steering assist, are only available for the Ford Explorer, waiting for the release in the next Kia Telluride model. But at the same time, the Kia Telluride does have a safety exit assist feature which, till now, is not available for the Ford Explorer.

Ford Motor Company recently released the new 2023 Ford Explorer. It is predicted that this SUV car is going head to head with another same type of vehicle, the 2022 Kia Telluride. When deciding to purchase a vehicle that could create a comfortable and reliable ride for the family, we are often concerned about the car's safety. By comparing both vehicles, we can make a rough assumption for the vehicle's safety by looking at some key points such as safety features, crash test ratings, and also considering the reliability of the vehicle.

4.3 Reliability Ratings

There are a few final things to consider when comparing these SUVs. It might not be a big deal to some, but to others it could be the most important thing in deciding between these two vehicles. That would be their reliability. A vehicle is a large investment, and any owner wants it to last and not have to take it back to the shop several times. It's hard to say how reliable a vehicle is when it's brand new. The Ford Explorer has been around for quite some time and has had its issues. The 2023 Telluride is the very first model, so it cannot be correctly judged at this time. The KIA brand has improved over the years, so this should not be an issue. Ford's history of the Explorer has given it some poor reliability ratings. Consumer Reports has given it 2/5 and JD Power has given it 74/100. The KIA brand has an above average reliability rating, and KIA offers a 5/5 year limited basic warranty and a 10/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty. Ford does not offer the powertrain warranty and is less in both categories for the basic warranties. This might have more potential buyers leaning towards the Telluride.


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