Kia Telluride May Be Headed for Production

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

You’ll recall the Kia Borrego, a body-on-frame SUV introduced by the Korean manufacturer at the colossally wrong moment. Fuel prices skyrocketed, the economy tanked, and the Borrego was shuffled off to the glue factory after a single model year. Hardly the machine’s fault, then.

In 2016, Kia showed off the Telluride concept, a full-sized SUV with a lantern jaw. With American buying habits consistently trending in that direction, it may be an opportune moment for Kia to re-enter the segment. According to Aussie site, that time may be now.

The Telluride concept first showed up at the 2016 Detroit show as a 3.5-liter V6 plug-in hybrid making 400 horsepower. Electrified vehicles are definitely in vogue right now, big SUVs even more so.

This is a big bus, measuring 196.9 inches in length and 70.9 inches tall. That’s more than half-a-foot longer than a Grand Cherokee and an inch taller. It’s even a couple of inches longer than a modern Land Cruiser, although it is three inches shorter in terms of height.

At Detroit this week, Hyundai-Kia chief design officer Peter Schreyer is reported as having confirmed the Telluride was being turned into a production model.

“For sure, we are working on that car,” Schreyer acknowledged to a roundtable of Australia media.

There’s little doubt that the suicide doors and gonzo taillights won’t get past the bean counters, and certain design elements of the interior won’t see the light of production day either, but the overall shape is quite appealing. Sunken headlights that bookend a Kia corporate grille remind this author of sealed beam headlamps on older Detroit machinery. Do not misconstrue this as damning with faint praise; I think it gives the Telluride a rough-n-ready appearance.

Off-road chops are as yet untested of course, and Kia has made no effort to reveal what else is under the skin beyond a vague promise of ‘advanced all-wheel drive’. Its hybrid engine is right on the money given current consumer tastes, and most buyers probably won’t expose the thing to anything rougher than that patch of gravel at the mall.

Kia’s own site bills the Telluride as having seven seats in three rows, a familiar configuration found in vehicles parked on suburban driveways across America. The magical 30-mpg figure is mentioned on multiple occasions.

Kia has been making a name for itself in recent years, constantly revamping its lineup and going out on a limb with cars like the Stinger. While a machine like the Telluride might have been a bit outside the company’s wheelhouse a few years ago, it definitely has the chops and chutzpah to pull it off today.

[Images: Kia]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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