Kia Reveals Telluride Fullsize SUV Concept in Detroit
World Debut of Luxury SUV Previews Brand’s Future
Today, Kia pulled the sheets off the fullsize SUV it teased last week, giving visitors to the 2016 North American International Auto Show a look at the Telluride. Intended to preview a premium large sport-ute, the Telluride concept represents a departure from Kia’s typical design language, previewing the direction the brand may head in the future. The luxurious SUV still sports Kia’s signature tiger-nose grille frame, however.
On the outside, the Telluride is an imposing, attractive vehicle, an impression aided by the attractive Dark Pyrite paint. Two simple, quad-LED headlamps flank a large, protruding grille, and the bulging front fenders call to mind Dodge’s revolutionary second-generation Ram’s mini-Kenworth styling. There are a number of design elements that bear a slightly uncomfortable resemblance to the new Volvo XC90, including the Telluride’s thin, vertical tail lights, slightly upkicked beltline trim, and strong shoulder line running from the front to the rear fenders. But the graceful profile, bold Kia-trademark grille, and upright greenhouse give the Telluride an identity that’s unique and attractive enough.
Inside, the Telluride is pure show-car fantasy, with four comfy-looking buckets embedded with several “Smart Sensors” that gather a passenger’s vital health information. Those stats are displayed on little screens mounted on each door, which then synchronizes with “Light Emitted Rejuvenation,” a system of LEDs mounted on the headliner. According to Kia, the therapeutic light can help treat jetlag and improve passengers’ energy levels. Gee whiz! Up front, the driver and passenger are treated to a clean, airy-feeling dashboard fit with modern, 3D-printed trim pieces, and the center console has a wireless recharging pad in a special compartment.
Although it takes its underpinnings from the Sorento, the Telluride’s wheelbase is stretched nearly a foot to 121.3 inches, with an overall length of 197 inches. Massive five-spoke wheels measuring 22 inches fill out the wheel wells nicely, and providing those wheels with motive force is a 3.5L V-6 mated to an electric motor. Total system output is pegged at 400 horsepower, with 270 ponies coming from the V-6 and a staggering 130 donated by the electric motor. With that much lag-free electric power on tap, we can only imagine how immediate the Telluride’s low-end throttle response must be.
Kia admits that there are no plans to bring the Telluride to production, and if it ever does reach dealer showrooms, don’t count on the coach doors, massive wheels, or Bond-villain light therapy to show up on the options list. That’s probably just as well, since finding buyers for an expensive luxury SUV with a Kia badge might be somewhat difficult. Then again, given the automaker’s metamorphosis from downmarket Hyundai twin to purveyor of sporty, high-quality passenger cars, the next logical step could be into the market populated by the Lexus RX and Infiniti QX60. If that’s the case, the Telluride’s sleek styling and hybrid powertrain should play just fine.