Kia Telluride SUV Concept Hints at Bold Look for Near Future
By Philly Murtha, January 12, 2016
Kia unveiled the Telluride hybrid crossover SUV concept in a rich, dark green at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Rugged, muscular, and good-looking with a prominent jewel-grille, the full-size, 3-row, 7-passenger SUV emphasizes style and technology. The automaker says it foreshadows a future large SUV in its lineup.
Telluride, which is named after the ski resort in Colorado, is built on the same platform as the Sorento midsize SUV, although it is 9.5 inches longer, 4.7 inches wider, and 4.4 inches taller than the Sorento. Flared fenders stretch around big, 22-in. 5-spoke wheels. Kia’s keynote “tiger nose” grille is a bold front accent with recessed quad-LED headlamps and a polished skid plate below the bumper. Thin, rear vertical taillights match up with styling cues for the front and rear door handles, hood scoops, and dual exhaust tips.
Kia officials acknowledge that a major focus of the concept is on technology and something the company calls in-cabin health-and-wellness systems, with special attention to the comfort of second-row passengers, according to Tom Kearns, chief designer for Kia’s U.S. design studio in California. Telluride’s “suicide” front and back doors swing open a full 90 degrees in opposing directions, which creates easier egress, Kia says. Four black leather covered captain’s chairs and a third-row bench seat that folds down create a room on wheels. Middle seats recline nearly flat and feature large fold-away footrests.
Interior technology focuses on passenger well-being and ease. Smart sensors are embedded in the seats to track passenger health information and display them on screens in the door panel to connect with an LED system under the large sunroof that is designed to provide the right amount of therapeutic light to help passengers adjust from jetlag, for instance. Another future feature called Swipe Command allows rear-seat passengers to quickly scroll and select media choices with the swipe of their hand. Premium Harman Kardon audio equipment is featured in the Telluride concept along with wireless cell phone charging. Kia’s new larger SUV concept could see a production version in the near future as full-featured, elegant SUVs are more attractive to consumers, especially while gasoline prices remain reasonable.