Kia debuts three-row, seven-passenger Telluride concept in Detroit

Kia Telluride concept

Kia is primarily known for its affordable, increasingly desirable economy vehicles, but if you were to fast forward five years, you might see a very different lineup indeed. The brand is currently mulling the idea of introducing a sports car by decade’s end, and at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, the company showcased another of its ambitious ideas.

The Telluride concept is a large, three-row SUV that brings Kia into uncharted territory. While still a pure concept at this time, the Telluride shows that the automaker is at the very least interested in offering a premium, technology-packed SUV above the current Sorento. Consider the waters tested.

“The Kia Telluride makes an aesthetic statement for the Kia brand as a bold, all-new luxury SUV with an abundance of advanced technology, focusing particular attention on the experience and comfort of second-row occupants,” said Tom Kearns, Chief Designer at Kia. “Longer, wider and taller than the recently redesigned Sorento CUV, Telluride allows us to envision what a full-size, seven-passenger SUV from Kia could look like.”

The Telluride is pronounced, boxy, and muscular, with an upright stance and a commanding “tiger-nose” grill highlighting the front end. While it isn’t shown in the photos, the SUV also features suicide-style doors that open 90 degrees in opposite directions, which presents a welcoming “portal” into the vehicle’s panoramic interior space.

Kia Telluride concept

Inside, the Telluride is adorned with black leather captain’s chairs for the first two rows and a folding bench to accommodate the passengers in the rear. The best seats in the house are undoubtedly up front, though, as each captain’s chair equips a “Smart Sensor” that reads the occupant’s vitals and displays them on the interior door panel screen. Once this is done, a roof-mounted Light Emitted Rejuvenation (LER) system uses LEDs to sooth the people inside and supposedly increase their energy levels.

Second-row travelers have yet another toy to play with, a multimedia control system called Swipe Command. Like a smartphone or tablet, users simply swipe across a thin, touch-sensitive band mounted on the console to scroll through media. Speaking of media, the Telluride also equips a seven-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo, which comes with wireless headphones that automatically charge when stowed.

Providing power to all four wheels is a hybrid powertrain that includes a 3.5-liter, 270-horsepower V6 and a 130-horsepower electric motor, resulting in a stout 400hp overall. On the highway, Kia says the Telluride returns more than 30 mpg.