Kia has made leaps and bounds over what used to be a pretty mediocre brand in the distant past. Today, the South Korean-based automaker offers a full range of quality offerings from the overseas Ceed compact to the sporty Stinger sedan and the luxurious K900.
So where to now for Hyundai’s sister brand? Remember the muscular Telluride concept from the 2016 Detroit Motor Show? Well, it’s coming to production and recent spy-shots suggest it’ll closely follow the concept’s appearance. So let’s delve further.
A muscular, squared exterior
Inevitably, when most cars reach production, very seldom do the translate well from their original concept car. The Telluride (name yet to be confirmed) is no exception, although some subtle design cues have made the cut.
The concept’s squared, muscular front has been retained, albeit with a widened grille and headlamps pushed far into the corners. Side-on, the look is rather generic, although the subtle footing of chrome on the b-pillars is a unique element.
Out back, the Telluride features a clamshell-style, upright tailgate, vertical LED tail lamps and polished dual exhaust tips.
Classy and practical accommodation in three rows
Positioned above its Sorento sibling, the three-row Telluride will have ample room for up to 8 passengers in base trims, while a seven seat layout with more comfortable second-row captain’s chairs is likely to be offered on higher-end versions. All models will offer flexible seating configurations, abundant storage holders for items, plenty of cup holders and USB ports. In other words, everything you’d expect from a vehicle that wants to be as practical as a minivan but with a much more adventurous design.
However, the biggest talking point will be its luxurious cabin presentation; think German meets Korean in terms of design and materials. We hope the concept’s massive panoramic roof carries over, as does the large, Mercedes-style instrument and infotainment screens.
Speaking of the latter, Kia’s UVO system will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi connectivity, navigation, remote start and ambient lighting control. Expect a suite of driver assistance features such as AEB (autonomous emergency breaking), forward collision alert, 360-degree camera, lane keeping aid, pedestrian detection and blind spot monitoring.
Under The Hood
The concept that appeared at Detroit used a 400 HP hybrid powertrain, combining a 270 HP 3.5-litre V6 with a 130 HP electric motor. We may see this later down the track, but not at launch.
There are conflicting reports on whether the Telluride will be based on a stretched Sorento platform, or the luxurious K900’s underpinnings. If it’s the latter, it’ll give the large SUV access to Kia’s potent 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 that’s pumping out 365 HP and 376 lb-ft of torque. Another possibility is an updated version of the Sorento’s naturally aspirated 3.3-liter V6 producing more than the current motor’s 290 HP and 252 lb-ft. Power will be sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission and offer torque vectoring.
Markets, rivals and release date
North America will be the Telluride’s primary market, however Kia Europe’s chief designer, Gregory Guillaume, hasn’t ruled out it being sold in other countries including Russia.
We expect the production version of the Telluride to debut before the end of the year, with sales starting in early 2019.
Would Kia’s large SUV be on your family shopping list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.