New Kia Telluride SUV is chunky adventure-goer

Published: 14 January 2019

► New Kia Telluride SUV
► V6 grunt and chunky looks
► US-market 4x4 at NAIAS 2019

This is very different from Kia, isn’t it? It’s the new Telluride SUV, the brand’s biggest-ever car, revealed at the 2019 Detroit motor show.

It might look a little familiar, as Kia actually teased the Telluride as a concept named KCD12 in 2016 at the very same show. That concept shared many of the production Telluride’s design cues, as it was designed as a way to assess public opinion on a full-size SUV from Kia.

So, the production Telluride hasn’t changed all that much in the design stakes. It still looks chunky, boxy and comes with a hefty dollop of glitzy details. A bluff front end with squircle orange daytime running lights and rear light clusters reminiscent of the Maserati 3200 GT feature here. There’s also scope for personalisation, too, with heavy-duty accessories and lurid paint schemes.

Kia Telluride rear

Inside, there’s touches of new-generation Mercedes GLE with chunky grabhandles, wide wooden panelling on the dashboard and a band of central air vents. Other touches are classic Kia, like the steering wheel (optionally heated) and infotainment system.

It’s a three-row SUV with two seats in the second row and three in the third, much like the also-US-market-only Subaru Ascent. Plush luxuries like double-stitched Nappa leather are available, and the Telluride has some handy practicality details like ceiling-mounted air-con controls and hooks for bags, plus ‘Quiet Mode’ in the infotainment that switches off the audio in the second and third row if you have sleeping little ones.

Kia Telluride interior

Under the skin is a 3.8-litre V6 with 291bhp and 262lb ft mated to an eight-speed automatic ‘box and all-wheel drive. Performance specs aren’t available yet, but there’s self-levelling rear suspension and four drive modes – Smart, Eco, Sport and Comfort – that help manage the driving experience.

Kia says the Telluride is the first car it’s made that’s designed specifically for the US at the brand’s design centre in Irvine, CA, so that should put any thoughts to bed about the idea of it coming over to Europe or Asia.

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By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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