By on January 17, 2018

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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41 Comments on “Kia Telluride May Be Headed for Production...”

  • avatar

    Bentley called, they want their headlights and front end styling back.

    • 0 avatar

      So did Volvo…they want the whole XC90 back.

      • 0 avatar

        You mean just like the untold # of CUVs/SUVs which have the same basic greenhouse (with the slight uptake at the rear window-panel), including the departed Borrego (which is still sold in certain markets overseas as the Mohave)?

        As for the Bentley comparison, also pretty weak.

        Only thing even remotely similar is the size of the grille, which isn’t uncommon on large CUVs and SUVs.

        Which, btw, can also be found on Jaguars, Lincolns and the 300 (if anything, the front of the Telluride looks most like an older 300).

        That being said, the front needs a redo as it isn’t appealing at all and the taillights need work as well.

        • 0 avatar

          This is definitely a rip-off of the XC90 from front to sides to back. The whole “tall” stance is very Volvo.

          • 0 avatar

            This concept is 2 years old. And boxiness doesn’t automatically equal Volvo.

          • 0 avatar

            Something like the XC90 is hardly “tall.”

            This is taller and more reminiscent of something like the Nisaan Armada/Patrol which, in turn, don’t have as tall of stance as SUVs like the LR Defender, most Jeeps, the (old) Toyota Land Cruiser or Hyundai Terracan.

            The XC90’s greenhouse is narrower and the overall shape isn’t nearly as boxy which is why the XC90 has always looked more like a lifted wagon than one of the “old school” BoF SUVs,

        • 0 avatar

          I think it’s a joke. Bentley has gotten its panties in a bunch over a few concept cars and has been quick to fire off quips like “would you like us to send you the complete tooling for the car??!!” The Bentley boys can be drama queens from time to time.

  • avatar

    (Surely somebody is gonna sell a retrofit
    Jeep-ish front grille for it)

  • avatar

    I just hope it is BOF like the Borrego (and Tahoe, Expedition, etc). But I seriously doubt it will be.

    A VW Atlas from Kia. Yay. At least it isn’t hideous in this concept form.

  • avatar

    Ford called, they said you can keep the Excursion as long as you keep the Kia grille on it. They don’t want it to say Ford.

  • avatar

    I will tell you what killed the Borrego. The name. Sounds like an animal call or one of those old timey police sirens. Bo-REEEEEE-go! Bo-REEEEE-go!

  • avatar

    Electric vehicles ‘in vogue’? HA! The only 2 that are selling are the Prius (for the conspicuous tree huggers) and Tesla (status symbols for rich techies)…only one of those is actually generating a profit and that’s highly suspect. Every other electric or hybrid is panned by people who actually have to pony up the dough. Whenever you go ‘green’ you give something up, and you pay FAR out the ass for the privilege.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s an AWD Sedona with hinged doors. I like it.

  • avatar

    I like this – it’s good looking and not too fussy. I hope Kia keeps the taillights.

  • avatar

    It kinda looks like one of those Isuzus that the guys at Consumer Reports flipped during testing back in the early ‘90s, just not quite as high.

  • avatar

    The Forum Police called, they are arresting everyone here for saying so-and-so called because they find slight resemblances to other models in an age where cars are increasingly looking similar due to safety regulations and aerodynamics requirements

  • avatar

    based on the name, its chances are better than 50/50.

    Chrysler Aspen – Fail
    Toyota Tacoma – success
    Dodge Ram Laramie – success
    Dodge Durango – mixed
    Chevy Tahoe – success

  • avatar

    This is a done deal. Genesis is obviously getting several more crossovers, one of which would have to be full size, so this platform is already developed and ready to go for Kia.

  • avatar

    I’ll be danged if that isn’t the Toyota Highlander that was stolen by the Chinese.

  • avatar

    I hope they build it. This is the best looking SUV/CUV concept vehicle I have seen in a long time. I like the boxy look and the low beltlines, which will also give excellent visibility, in contrast to most of the new CUVs coming out today.

    This vehicle is not excessively large; it is about the same size as a Ford Explorer or a Honda Pilot.

    Kia is not a brand that comes to mind when I think of luxury. I think that, rather than producing it as a luxury vehicle with a hybrid powertrain or twin turbos, Kia would be better off to produce it as a non-luxury competitor to vehicles like the Explorer or the Pilot. Just give it a naturally-aspirated V-6.

    Or Kia could produce it as BOF and build a modestly-sized pickup off the platform as well. Kia/Hyundai lacks an entry in the pickup market.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Wow, I hope Kia makes this thing.

    Also, the frontend styling would look okay on a midsize pickup if Kia could make one, especially with a turbo 3.5.

    A couple inches of lift offer a single, king and dual cab configuration along with the 2.2R diesel.

  • avatar

    Kinda looks similiar to the 2006 Nissan Terranaut SUV Concept, on paper, designed by Nissan’s European Design Center. Nissan’s concept completed physical form is slightly subdued, no surprise given the era; however, the drawn concept is eerily similar. Perhaps the designer left Nissan for Kia?

  • avatar

    Really don’t see much resemblance aside from having a taller greenhouse (but diff. design) and squarer shape (which had already mentioned as sharing similar traits with the Nissan Patrol/Armada.

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