It is large. It is bold. Designed at KIA’s design studio in Californa and assembled in Georgia, the midsize Kia Telluride SUV is all about big skies, desert roads, mountain passes, shady forests, smooth highways and long coastal drives. But the maker claims this particular SUV is made for adventure? How true is that? TILDA FRANCES finds out..
Said to seat up to eight, a powerful 217 kW 3.8-litre V6, active on-demand all-wheel drive and an inspiring view of the world, Telluride, according to Kia Motor Corporations, offers potential for exploration and adventure every time it’s on the road.
From the first pencil stroke it was meant to convey the kind of presence associated with the original legendary SUVs – big, bold and boxy – and the go-anywhere, do-anything attitude their square, burly-shouldered shapes suggested. The Telluride’s sophisticated exterior accents also hint at its interior luxury.
Main design cues include a long, broad bonnet and wide grille, bold stacked headlamps that convey power and stability, an upright windshield and clean side profile that conveys muscular tension, inverted L-shaped tail lamps with LED stripes, elongated nameplates on the leading edge of the hood and on the liftgate to provide a distinctive identity for KIA’s new flagship SUV, and a sculpted rear skid plate with integrated twin exhaust tips that reference the vehicle’s off-road ability and power.
The Telluride interior is designed to continue the impression of upscale exploration and feature, among other things, grab handles integrated into the centre console that suggest journeys off the beaten path, a wide console with emphasis on the horizontal through artistic use of premium trim features to convey spaciousness, and a spacious cabin for generous hip, shoulder, leg and head room, even in the third row,
As claimed by its manufacturer, the Telluride is engineered to be capable in a variety of driving conditions and provide a driving experience that is enjoyable and confidence-inspiring. Among the many factors that contribute to the Telluride’s composed ride and performance is its strong, stiff and torsionally rigid body structure, thanks to the monocoque body shell that is composed of 59.4% advanced high-strength steel.
Another highlight is the Telluride’s engine: an Atkinson Cycle LAMBDA II 3.8-litre V6 GDI engine producing 217 kW at 6,000 r/min and 355 Nm torque at 5,200 r/min, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It also features four-wheel independent suspension and a self-leveling rear suspension. Ride height is automatically calibrated depending on vehicle load to optimize control and stability.
Telluride offers a choice of four drive modes (Smart, Eco, Sport and Comfort), each using different settings for powertrain, drivetrain, and steering effort mapping to provide the desired driving experience. In addition to the four regular drive modes, drivers can select from two different settings, Snow and AWD Lock, for specific driving conditions. Active on-demand all-wheel drive helps provide enhanced driving performance by actively distributing torque between front and rear wheels depending on road conditions and driver input. The system utilizes electro-hydraulic AWD coupling to precisely activate the multi-plate clutch plate, constantly redistributing the amount of power transferred to the front and rear wheels.
During normal driving, power is distributed according to the drive mode selected. “Eco” and “Smart” modes deliver 100% power to the front wheels. “Comfort” and “Snow” modes deliver 80% power to the front wheels and 20% to rear. Sport mode splits the power 65:35 between front and back. “Lock” mode delivers power evenly to all four wheels.
Planning the Telluride interior, KIA designers set out to create an upscale cabin with an abundance of premium materials, attention to detail, and an array of convenient features including double-stitched, quilted and extra-padded Nappa leather upholstery, simulated brushed metal and matte-finished wood trim, interior hooks to keep packages and bags off the floor and away from feet, heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats, ceiling-mounted second-row climate control, reclining third-row seats, a leather-wrapped, and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with heating.
The KIA Telluride is packed with high-tech, advanced automotive technology, including the “KIA Drive Wise” suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment. These include, amongst others, a 10,25-inch colour touchscreen with rear view monitor and parking guidance, a 630-watt, 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system with Quantum Logic Surround Sound and Clari-Fi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, a total of six USB charging ports, multi-Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and seven airbags (dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, driver’s side knee air bag).
Vehicle safety systems include ABS brakes, Vehicle Stability Management, Downhill Brake Control, Electronic Stability Control, Hill-start Assist Control and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. Part of the Telluride’s Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) under the KIA DriveWise umbrella, it features Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian detection (FCA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Surround View Monitor (SVM), Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist Rear (BCA-R), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Safe Exit Assist (SEA), Highway Driving Assist (HDA) and Head-up Display (HUD) – to name but a few.
Telluride is also equipped with the UVO telematics system featuring an embedded modem that allows Telluride drivers to monitor and control a number of vehicle operations, including remote start and door lock, pre-conditioning the vehicle cabin temperature prior to use, “Send-to-Car” points of interest (POI) and waypoints, and Rear Occupant Alert. This system uses sensors designed to detect a passenger in the rear cabin.
If a rear passenger is detected and the driver leaves the vehicle, the vehicle will follow a series of steps to notify the driver, initially through a vehicle cluster message, and then through vehicle alarm initiation and subsequent SMS/Push message to the owner’s smart phone if they are enrolled through the UVO app.
For a start, Telluride will be assembled at KIA’s manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia alongside certain derivatives of the KIA Sorento and KIA Optima. When it goes on sale (in the USA) later this year, Telluride will be available in four trims (LX, EX, S and SX) with a choice of front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive.
Although Kia Nigeria is yet to inform Motoring World as to when this SUV would arrive Nigeria, all available information about it so far points to a machine that could be described as Luxury Adventure on wheel.