Kia Telluride: What to Expect from Kia’s Future Three-Row Crossover


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Crossovers make up a small part of Kia’s vehicle lineup, but the automaker has most segments covered. It does, however, lack a big three-row. In 2009, Kia had the Borrego, but it disappeared with no word on a return. That’s about to change, as Kia is introducing a crossover that will slot above the Sorento, and this time it’s looking to go a little more upscale. Previewed two years ago as a concept, the production version of the Kia Telluride will be the largest crossover in Kia’s lineup and will likely be the first to feature the brand’s new design language for its utility vehicles.


An Upscale Cabin

When the Telluride Concept first made its debut at the 2016 Detroit auto show, it previewed a luxurious cabin, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the production model arrives with an interior that looks, feels, and actually is expensive. Although there will likely be some lower-end trims, expect the higher-end trims of the Telluride to feature interior materials similar to if not better than in the SX Limited trims of the Sorento and Cadenza. That means Nappa leather upholstery and plenty of padded surfaces to ensure that everything you touch feels expensive. Expect plenty of sound deadening and possibly wood trim to make the Telluride’s cabin quieter and look upscale.


No-Nonsense Multimedia Tech

Hyundai and Kia’s infotainment systems are well known for their user-friendliness, so expect the same on the Telluride. You won’t have to fiddle with unresponsive center stack controls; everything is so simple that even people who aren’t tech-savvy will be able to figure things out without referring to the owner’s manual.


Concept Car Looks Go Into Production

The Kia Telluride Concept was a crowd-pleaser thanks to its muscular exterior, quad ice-cube-shaped LED headlights, and futuristic yet minimalistic interior. Expect most of the concept car’s looks to remain intact when the Telluride goes into production. Based on some spy shots of a prototype caught testing recently, the car’s exterior remains close to the concept car.

The production version of the Kia Telluride will mark the first appearance of the automaker’s new design language for its crossovers. Expect future iterations of the Sorento, Soul, and Sportage to take cues from the Telluride. Because it will be Kia’s flagship utility vehicle, the Telluride will likely feature unique exterior design cues, similar to the jewellike effect on the K900’s grille.


Family First

If you really can’t be seen driving a minivan, then the Telluride should be right up your alley. Expect lots of cupholders, multiple USB ports, flexible seating configurations, and storage cubbies for small items and mobile devices. Lower-grade models could come with cloth upholstery or leather that’s not perforated. Eight seats should be standard on the Telluride. A seven-seat layout will likely be available on higher-end models with second-row captain’s chairs, which offer more adjustments and comfort.


Yes, the Value Proposition Stays

Kia has long been known for giving consumers plenty of value, which shouldn’t change for the Telluride. As with other Kia models, expect a long list of standard features and touches you typically don’t find on mainstream crossovers, such as heated second-row seats, a power-folding third row, mood lighting, and a 360-degree camera system.


No, It Likely Won’t Be Rear-Drive-Based

Sadly, the Kia Telluride is most likely not riding on the rear-drive platform that underpins a number of Genesis sedans, the Kia Stinger, and the upcoming Genesis GV80. Instead, the production Telluride will ride on a front-drive-based platform with a transverse engine layout just like the concept. Hyundai and Kia’s new HTRAC all-wheel-drive system for front-drive-based vehicles, which recently made its debut in the 2019 Santa Fe, could also possibly come standard.


V-6 Power Likely Standard

It’s expected to slot above the Sorento in terms of size, so there’s little to no chance that the Kia Telluride will come with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Instead, the 3.3-liter V-6 could be the only engine offered on Kia’s largest crossover. But don’t be surprised if it gets an update before seeing duty in the Telluride. In the Sorento, it makes 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, which should be plenty in the Telluride; however, Kia could possibly squeeze out more power and torque to handle the larger vehicle’s additional weight. Kia’s eight-speed automatic transmission should be the only gearbox available on the Telluride.


Yes, It Has Backup

When the Kia Telluride arrives, it won’t come alone. Another three-row crossover will be unveiled at around the same time from sister brand, Hyundai. We recently spied this vehicle, and it’s looking like the 2019 Santa Fe but in a larger, more imposing form, especially with the brand’s new crossover design language. Like with the Telluride, expect the unnamed Hyundai sister vehicle to feature a family-friendly cabin, V-6 power, all the usual driver-assistance nannies and user-friendly multimedia tech.