By on January 24, 2018

Last week we brought you a story about the Kia Telluride and comments made by company execs about its production chances. Hyundai-Kia chief design officer Peter Schreyer reportedly said, “For sure, we are working on that car” to a group of Aussie journos.

Now, WardsAuto is furthering the narrative, reporting that Orth Hedrick, Kia America’s product planning veep, told them the brand will “have some announcements soon” on a production version of the seven-passenger Telluride.

The seven-passenger CUV/SUV segment is a playground in which most manufacturers want to play. Now in its third iteration, Kia’s own Sorento offers three rows of seating but, in addition to its milquetoast styling, some buyers perceive it as not having enough cargo space. From the WardsAuto interview:

“We see a growing need in our portfolio with buyers who are maybe in the second or third generation of Sorento and they need maybe a little more space,” he says, noting an older Sorento buyer may have teenage kids who are “adult-size persons…and they usually have two or three friends and they have a lot of gear. Those buyers (with teenagers) don’t necessarily want a minivan.”

Look, I get it. Minivans inherently have and always will have an image problems, despite being immensely practical and the most logical transportation solution for most families. Our crew just spent a week in a Pacifica Hybrid that sipped fuel and was sodden with thoughtful storage solutions, abundant electrical outlets, and a duo of screens on which we watched Jurassic Park and played Super Mario on a Nintendo Classic system. The kiddo loved it. I wore a bag on my head every time we left the driveway.

Kia’s minivan, the Sedona, plumbed the depths of the sales charts in 2017, falling 46.2 percent to just 23,815 annual sales. Combined, the Grand Caravan and Pacifica (yes, they are very distinct models but they are both FCA products) counted the sale of 243,470 units on their balance sheet.

A stern-looking seven-passenger machine might be just the ticket for stemming some of the downturn being experienced in Kia showrooms right now. With light trucks counting for well over half the market, both Sportage and Sorento sales were down in 2017. The smaller Sportage was off about 10,000 units to 72,824 machines sold, while the Sorento found 99,684 buyers compared to 114,733 the year prior. Scant inventory was blamed for the Sportage’s performance, or lack thereof, and the trucklet’s growing popularity in foreign markets won’t help the situation this year.

Is all this a prelude to Kia dropping a close-to-production Telluride at one of America’s auto shows this spring? We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Chicago and New York shows just to be sure.

[Image: Kia Motors]

 

Discuss this story on our Kia Telluride Forum

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36 Comments on “Go Big: Kia Telluride Getting Closer to Reality...”


  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    Better hurry before there’s another spike in oil prices! We don’t want a Borrego Part Deux, do we?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I have to say this looks attractive, why can’t this be the 4Runner?

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    This vehicle is really ugly thanks to the standard KIA grille. The overall Kia line really needs a front end redesign and they should start with the “interrupted rectangle” grille shape. It makes Kia vehicles look cheap and dated. The Telluride looks 10 years old even though it has not started production.

    • 0 avatar
      gespo04

      In an automotive landscape where crossovers are all swoopy, over-styled blobs – with rakish windows and fake front air vents – A simple, square design is seen as daring and elegant. This is exactly the same philosophy Rolls-Royce will use on their Cullinan SUV.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “I wore a bag on my head every time we left the driveway.”

    By saying that, you only reinforce the stereotype.

    Personally, I prefer a minivan to an SUV because the minivan actually has more utility than a sport utility vehicle.

  • avatar
    gtem

    The current Sedona already attempted to work in some “CUV-ness” with the tall hood and center console. Kind of like GM’s 2nd gen U-body that they tried to butch up. They drive perfectly well, but I personally hate that they sacrificed interior room and utility with that center console that inhibits a pass-through to the back rows. Utility and interior room is the ONE thing minivans totally ace, to take away from that is just plain stupid.

    • 0 avatar

      The current Kia…

      *looks it up*

      Sorento – is very vanny looking and I don’t like it. I want it to lose the Sedona cues.

      https://car-pictures.cars.com/images/?IMG=USC60KIS022F021003.jpg&HEIGHT=600

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        You’re right, the Sedona picked up CUV cues, the Sorento fattened/rounded to the point of looking a bit like a van.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The current Sorento is no more “van-like” than its predecessor (actually has a significantly larger grille) and it was the Sedona that aped the Sorento (to give it a more CUV/SUV look up front).

          If anything, the Sorento looks less “wagony” than something like the Highlander or MDX.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Every van that has tried to ape CUVs has failed. That includes the longnose U-Bodies, it includes the tweener Flex (from a sales perspective), and it now includes the current Sedona. It is the ugliest recent minivan, narrowly beating out the recently departed 4G Odyssey for that title.

      The best vans are those that embrace their van-ness and try to get details right. I think the current Pacifica is the most attractive minivan ever, but the 2G Chryslers and the 3G Odyssey are in the hunt too.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        I think the Sedona is great looking by minivan standards, and that the Pacifica is cheap and chintzy looking, but to each their own. I think the original odyssey and the first full size Renault-ized Quest are the best looking minivans of all time.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I do think the Pacifica has to be in full-boat Limited form, preferably with the 20s, to look right. (And the advanced safety package is needed for styling reasons on the inside — otherwise you get very prominent blank buttons on the steering wheel even in Limited form.) The cost-cutting details on the lower trims are poorly chosen and very obvious.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Agreed – the front end of the Pacifica looks particularly cheap, but by all accounts (aside from maybe reliability) is a very fine minivan.

  • avatar
    deanst

    “Combined, the Grand Caravan and Pacifica (yes, they are very distinct models but they are both FCA products) counted the sale of 243,470 units on their balance sheet.”

    I realize not everyone is a cpa, but is it really a secret that sales revenue is counted on an income statement?

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Kinda handsome, but the dual-quad Wagon Queen Family Truckster headlights might be a bit much…

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Does anyone else notice the similarity to the GAC we were all talking about last week?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      YES. This is the shape you get when the director calls central casting as says: “Send me a handsome rugged slightly generic SUV… I don’t want him stealing the star’s thunder.”

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      I thought they posted the wrong picture, they look identical at first glance. I don’t know where that headlight trend came from.

      This has more obvious Bentley cues, though.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    This is one of their first coherent designs. I wouldn’t touch one because of quality issues, but I sorta enjoy looking at the front profile.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Big crossovers are selling like cocaine. They move ’em through Miami, they sell ’em in LA, they hide ’em up in Telluride, I mean it’s here to stay.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Looks good. Too bad it’s a Kia, or more specifically, too bad it will be sold at Kia dealers.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Is this BoF? I had read somewhere that it was.

    If this is BoF and Kia/Hyundai have made the investment, it narrows the field of potential FCA buyers to…well basically no one (except Jeep, everyone wants Jeep)

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      There is a precedent in that Kia currently still sells the 1st gen Mojave (short lived Borrego on our shores) overseas. They’re not the gnarliest offroaders, but they are fairly competent SUVs, on par with the likes of an R51 pathfinder or 3rd gen Explorer. All three have BOF/IRS setups with real t-cases with low range.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      No.

      But Hyundai supposedly is laying the groundwork for a true pick-up (diff. from the Santa Cruz), which could in turn, be the basis for a BoF SUV down the line.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Do the new driving aids, can they “see” small fiberglass cars? I know their drivers can’t and nothing scares me more than driving my Elan on the freeways of America.

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