Two years after its concept debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the upsized Kia Telluride SUV has been confirmed for production.
In an interview with Australian media Kia’s chief design officer and president, Peter Schreyer, confirmed that work was underway on a production version of the SUV, delivering a larger three-row vehicle that would sit above the current Sorento.
When asked if there was a production future for the Telluride, Schreyer wasted no time in confirming “yeah, we are working on that car.”
The 2016 Telluride concept utilised a stretched version of the Sorento’s underpinnings, but at 5000mm in length and 2010mm wide the Telluride extends by 200mm and 120mm respectively, making it even larger than a Toyota LandCruiser 200 though still slightly smaller than a Nissan Patrol.
While the new large SUV has been given the go ahead to transition to production, its large dimensions mean the new model will be limited in its global appeal with Kia’s European design chief, Gregory Guillaume, downplaying the new model’s changes of entering Europe.
“I think in Europe it doesn’t make that much sense, it’s a more difficult segment for us, we’re pretty good with Sorento as our top of the SUV line in Europe,” Guillaume said.
The Telluride wouldn’t be Kia’s first attempt at a plus-sized SUV, with the V8 powered Mohave (below) having previously enjoyed limited success in the US (as the Borrego) and greater success in parts of Eastern Europe where the model has been sold continuously since 2008.
“I could imagine that there are other markets that would be interested apart from America. For example the one we used to have [Mohave] was also pretty popular in Russia and those countries.” Guillaume added.
The popularity of large SUVs in Australia mean Kia’s local operations are also monitoring the development of the new model with Kia Australia Managing Director, Damien Meredith, telling members of the press, “If it’s developed in right hand drive we’d look at it very seriously.”
However, Australia’s chances of getting the new flagship SUV could be hampered by the market specific focus of the new model, with a primarily North American audience not only narrowing the chances of right-hand drive but also potentially a diesel engine option, which would greatly enhance the production Telluride’s chance at sales success locally.
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