The 2022 Kia Telluride brings amazing value and ability to the family-friendly SUV space, while the 2022 Ford Explorer offers a choice between sportier gasoline-powered variants or more fuel-efficient hybrid options. Both offer 3-row seating and year-round practicality, but read on to find out which is best for you.
2022 Kia Telluride
Above Average: Plenty of room; well-equipped; loads of standard safety features; excellent warranty.
Below Average: No Wi-Fi hotspot; small glovebox.
Consensus: Spacious, affordable, well-equipped, and well-mannered, the 2022 Kia Telluride has plenty to offer.
2022 Ford Explorer
Above Average: Sporty, off-road, and hybrid variants; three rows of seats; standard rear-wheel drive (RWD); optional all-wheel drive (AWD).
Below Average: The third row’s a bit tight; expensive for top trims; plain looks.
Consensus: A 3-row midsize SUV, the 2022 Ford Explorer offers lots of options, from a powerful engine to the luxurious Platinum trim and even a more aggressive off-road version. The third row’s best for smaller passengers, however, and its looks are a bit plain.
Telluride vs. Explorer: Everyone Wins
With room for up to eight passengers (and seven in higher trims), the 2022 Kia Telluride has plenty of passenger and cargo space. It offers a wide range of trims, from classy mainstream to value-packed near-luxury. The Telluride has been so good that it’s won both our 2022 Best Buy and Best 3-Row Midsize SUV awards over the past year. For 2022 it gets a larger standard infotainment screen at 10.25 inches and standard navigation. As before, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard fare.
The ride quality is comfortable and agile for the large SUV, and the standard-issue adaptive cruise control with Highway Driving Assist makes long drives easy to manage. The system reads road signs and adjusts the speed as necessary. If you need to do a little off-roading, the Telluride can handle it thanks to its 8 inches of ground clearance and the available AWD system.
Inside is ample space for adults (even in the third row). Seats are easy to access whether you have the captain’s chairs layout or the standard bench seat in the second row, and the seats are stacked stadium style so that everyone in the back can see the road ahead. This year, Driver Talk comes standard, which means you don’t have to scream to be heard in the back rows. A Quiet Mode also turns off the rear speakers when kids are sleeping.
Additionally, the Telluride boasts an impressive suite of standard safety systems. These include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with stop and go. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, driver-attention warning, rear-occupant alert, and safe exit assist are also included.
If there’s one thing the 2022 Ford Explorer offers, it’s variety. Three powertrain choices include a capable turbocharged 4-cylinder, a 400-hp twin-turbo V6, and a hybrid V6. Trim choices are equally comprehensive, with options for captain’s chairs in the second row (reducing seating capacity to six), an off-road-ready Timberline version, and the luxurious and expensive Platinum trim.
Whereas the Telluride can seat up to eight passengers, the Explorer has max seating for seven. As is common with midsize SUVs, the third row is best for smaller children due to its relatively tight legroom. The cabin is comfortable and quiet, although neither the exterior nor the interior design is terribly exciting. Upper trims add such details as red stitching, simulated suede, and, of course, full leather in the top King Ranch and Platinum trims.
Even the base turbocharged 4-cylinder is good with its 300 horsepower offering plenty to keep the Explorer moving, but the twin-turbo V6 in the ST is the one people will be talking about. It’s quick and powerful, with a sport-tuned suspension, optional 21-inch alloys, and stronger brakes. A Timberline version boasts all-terrain tires, standard AWD, limited-slip rear differential, raised suspension, and skid plates.
Standard features include keyless ignition, tri-zone climate control, and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, as well as the Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assistance features. Infotainment is via an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB ports, satellite radio, and a 6-speaker audio system. Higher trims add more luxury touches, but prices can climb to nearly $60,000.
Optional AWD; standard driver’s assistance features; family-friendly features.
2022 Kia Telluride Benefits
Longer warranty; ample interior space; well-priced even at the top trim; seating for up to 8; standard adaptive cruise control.
2022 Ford Explorer Benefits
More powerful base engine; more engine options; slightly better base fuel economy; available hybrid.
Which One is Right for Me?
The 2022 Kia Telluride fits the bill if you’re in the market for a comfortable, affordable, well-equipped, and somewhat off-road-capable SUV that can carry up to eight passengers and their gear.
The 2022 Ford Explorer’s three rows of seating offer good space for families as long as they don’t need to seat more than seven. With many variants, including a hybrid, there’s something to please nearly everyone.
Ready to buy a Kia Telluride or Ford Explorer? Shop for one on sale now near you
2022 Kia Telluride
2022 Ford Explorer
2.3-liter turbo I4
291 hp @ 6,000 rpm
300 hp @ 5,500 rpm
262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
310 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
23 mpg (20 city/26 hwy)
24 mpg (21 city/28 hwy)
3.0-liter turbo V6; 3.3-liter V6 hybrid; AWD
5 years/60,000 miles
3 years/36,000 miles
10 years/100,000 miles
5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety
Max Seating Capacity
Headroom, 2nd row
Headroom, 3rd row
Legroom, 2nd row
Legroom, 3rd row
Shoulder Room, Front
Shoulder Room, 2nd row
Shoulder Room, 3rd Row
EPA Passenger Volume
157.1 cubic feet
152.7 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume
21.0/46.0/87.0 cubic feet
18.2/47.9/87.8 cubic feet