Kia’s new range-topping SUV?
Show floor update: The Telluride looks even larger and more chrometastic in person than in photos. Kia fancies the SUV “transport[ing] its occupants from urban neighborhoods to upscale ski resorts.” But the automaker also maintains the concept is anything but far-fetched. “It is a near future look at what the relationship between vehicle and occupants can look like,” Kia says. The brand also hinted that a vehicle of this kind even has a chance to make it to production. Kia concluded its press conference saying, “Kia has a history of bringing concept cars to life. You can bet we will be closely monitoring the response to this vehicle.” Kelly Pleskot
Alongside the 2017 Forte, Kia debuted a new large SUV at the Detroit auto show. Although the automaker has no plans to bring the model to production, the Telluride concept hints at a potential new range-topping SUV for the Kia lineup.
“Purely conceptual, the Kia Telluride is based on an existing platform and reveals the brand’s interest in potentially offering a premium SUV positioned above the current hot-selling Sorento,” Kia said in a statement.
Like the Sorento, the Telluride offers three rows to accommodate seven passengers. To create the Telluride, Kia took the Sorento’s existing chassis and stretched the wheelbase by 11.9 inches. The Telluride also measures 9.5 inches longer, 4.4 inches taller, 4.7 inches wider than the Sorento. The Sorento is a bit short on passenger space for its class, meaning a future production version of the Telluride could fill a gap in Kia’s product lineup.
A hybrid powertrain sits under the sheetmetal of the Telluride. The model combines a 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and a 130-hp electric motor for a combined total of 400 hp. Power is routed to all four wheels. Kia says the model should achieve more than 30 mpg (7.8 L/100km) on the highway.
Inside the cabin, the Telluride features four captain’s chairs for the first two rows, and when the third row bench is folded, middle row passengers can recline nearly flat for added comfort. As any flagship utility should, the Telluride features a host of advanced (and bizarre) technologies. Diamond-cut openings on the seatbacks have sensors that can capture a passenger’s “vital health information.” This information then shows up on the interior door panel screens and synchronizes with LED lights beneath the sunroof. What Kia calls its Light Emitted Rejuvenation system displays a pattern of therapeutic lights to treat jetlag and enhance energy levels. The model also features a Swipe Command system, a band on the second row center console that allows second-row passengers to select media through gesture control. Other technologies include a seven speaker Harman Kardon audio system, wireless cell phone charging, and 3D-printed components on the steering wheel, dashboard, and door panels.
If Kia does add a larger SUV to its lineup, we expect it to look a lot tamer than the concept. With 22-inch wheels, a Dark Pyrite green paint job, rear-hinged back doors, and an exaggerated version of the Kia tiger nose grille, the model would likely feature a more practical design should it hit production.
As for the name, the Telluride carries on the Hyundai/Kia tradition of sharing names with U.S. cities (Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sedona). The Telluride shares its name with a ski resort in Colorado, which could point to rugged capabilities on a future production SUV of the same kind.