2021 Ford Explorer vs Kia Telluride
With so much to love about the 2021 Ford Explorer and Kia Telluride, choosing between these midsize crossover SUVs can be complicated. Luckily, our comparison guide is here with all the information you need to make an educated choice.
Sporty Capabilities: 2021 Ford Explorer
With its unique combination of a crossover-style, car-like chassis and standard rear-wheel-drive performance, the Explorer easily balances around-town agility with sporty capabilities. Add Ford’s Intelligent 4WD system for four-wheel-drive performance on your favorite trail. The system includes Terrain Management technology, which lets you choose from seven drive modes to optimize performance in a variety of environments.
The Kia Telluride is a typical midsize crossover, pairing a crossover-style chassis with front-wheel drive. On the road, it feels smooth and composed, if not as sporty as the rear-wheel-drive Explorer. For a little extra traction, Telluride shoppers can add all-wheel drive, performance gear that helps this heavy crossover maintain its footing on icy pavement or sandy trails. Although it’s not quite as rugged as traditional four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive will help you explore light trails.
Towing Performance: 2021 Ford Explorer
When it comes to towing your family’s favorite toys, the Explorer earns another solid win. Properly equipped, Ford’s sporty crossover SUV can tow up to 5,600 pounds’ worth of boat or camper. The Kia Telluride can manage some —but not all — of your adventure vehicles. Depending on configuration, it’s rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Plush, Family-Friendly Comfort: 2021 Kia Telluride
The Telluride, with its high-end cabin materials and plush, roomy seating, comes out on top here. The sleek modern design makes you feel like you've spent big bucks on a luxury crossover. Roomy, supportive seats are bolstered by the Telluride’s smooth, composed performance. And Kia’s midsize crossover also does an excellent job of quelling outside noise, making your daily drive all the more luxurious.
Of course, the 2021 Ford Explorer isn’t exactly a slouch in the comfort department. It, too, offers three roomy rows of seating. And you can upgrade your Explorer with a long list of high-end options, from leather upholstery to ventilated front seats. However, compared to the Telluride, the Explorer doesn’t do quite as good a job of keeping wind and road noise from infiltrating the cabin.
Modern Technology: It’s a Tie!
Both midsize crossover SUVs are jam-packed with infotainment gear and safety aids. And, since their tech lineups are user-friendly and fully integrate with your smartphone, both earn top marks.
You’ll love the Explorer’s Sync 3 infotainment system, which uses Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to display smartphone apps on its 8-inch touch screen. Kia’s standard infotainment system includes the same features. Both models even let you use your phone’s voice controls!
So What’s the Verdict?
The 2021 Kia Telluride has a bit of an edge in the comfort arena, but it’s the 2021 Ford Explorer that ultimately wins the day. Ford’s midsize crossover SUV has the rugged performance you crave, along with a wealth of modern tech features. And it, too, offers its own version of luxurious comfort.