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Detroit show: Kia uncovers Telluride

Size matters: The five-metre-long Telluride concept was revealed two years ago at the 2016 Detroit motor show.

PHEV Kia Telluride concept shakes up the seven-seat SUV formula


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12 Jan 2016

KIA has unveiled its Telluride upper-large SUV concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, revealing an interior that approaches the configuration of seven seats from a new angle.

Where more conventional three-row SUV cabins stick to the customary 2/3/2 seating layout, the South Korean car-maker has pioneered an unorthodox 2/2/3 solution that boosts comfort for passengers in the second row.

With more generous proportions, the middle row “captain's seats” are upholstered in black leather, can recline to almost flat and have fold-away foot-rests for even more occupant comfort.

In addition to the experimental cabin configuration, the plug-in hybrid Telluride also has a flexible door arrangement with the rear 'suicide door' marrying up to forward opening front doors.

With all four doors open to 90 degrees, occupants can enter and alight through a larger aperture, unhindered by obstructing B-pillars. Access to the third row is also simpler with the second row seats tilted forward.

The Telluride's cabin is fitted with Smart Sensors for monitoring the passenger's “vital health information,” which is then displayed on screens mounted in each door. Once a person's state of wellbeing has been established, a large array of LEDs that Kia calls a Light Emitted Rejuvenation (LER) system projects therapeutic light on the occupant.

According to Kia, the large wing-shaped LER array mounted beneath the oversized sunroof is capable of alleviating jetlag and can improve passengers' energy levels.

While Australia typically receives large SUVs and seven-seaters warmly, Kia Motors Australia media and corporate communications general manager Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto that if a production version transpired it was unlikely to come Down Under.

“It's a left-hand-drive car and it seems to have the characteristics that are more suitable to American markets,” he said.

In the United States the Telluride is described as a “full-size” SUV putting it at the very largest end of the vehicle scale and bigger than the company's Sorento which is sold locally. The Telluride is based on a modified version of the Sorento platform and measures 1800mm tall, 2009mm wide and 5001mm long.

A 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine powers the SUV in combination with a 97kW electric motor for a combined output of 298kW, sending power to all four wheels, and can manage a freeway fuel consumption figure of 7.8 litres per 100km.

The concept rides on 22-inch five-spoke wheels with 275/45 Hankook tyres, has all-LED exterior lighting and flared wheel arches for a “menacing” and “solid” look.

Other comfort features include a keyless ignition which requires a recognised fingerprint to start, wireless phone charging, a Swipe Command touch sensitive panel for second row passengers to control media and a seven-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with wireless headphones.

The concept also introduces Kia's first 3D-printed components to be used in a vehicle, as part of the “distinct and modern” dashboard, door panels and steering wheel.

While Kia says there are no plans for the Telluride to go into production, the company points out that its concepts are not “a utopian fantasy” and that future vehicles will bear a strong resemblance.

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