January 8, 2016, 9:30 PM
Kia looks set to re-enter the full-sized SUV market with the introduction at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit of a traditionally-styled concept that appears pretty close to production ready.
The concept is called Telluride and there is no indication whether that will be the name of the production vehicle, or if the company will go back to the historic Borrego nameplate that faded off in 2010 with the debut of a considerably larger Sorento. Of interest is that Borrego was the first Kia penned by Peter Schreyer, who joined the company in 2006, a year after the concept Mesa full sized SUV debuted at Detroit. Mesa formed the basis for the production Borrego that came along in 2008 (called Mohave in other parts of the world).
It’s also interesting that Borrego was never officially retired; it just sort of faded away under the duress of increasing sales from Sorento, and the company just sort of stopped running it off the assembly line, without much of a formal send-off. Maybe Telluride is the reason why.
What can be garnered from the little information accompanying the teaser photos is that the silhouette of the concept is very similar to that of the last Borrego, right down to the boxy shape and signature kinked up rear three quarter window. It’s hard to tell if the tiger shark nose and tabbed grille make it into the new design. We’d assume they would but the Borrego held the last vestige of the old Kia design, with traditional grille and traditional headlight housings.
The concept also seems to have suicide doors, we assume to showcase pillar-less construction and a wide opening to the cabin. One of these days, this now ubiquitous concept design feature will make it into production again on a mainstream vehicle but for now, we’ll probably see the production Telluride with traditional doors.
Kia is really pushing the technological advancements inside the vehicle, particularly in areas of health and wellness, though the interior teaser shots stays with the more conventional interior displays of music, social networking, heating and ventilation controls, and onboard navigation.
The displays seem to follow the recent trend toward large high-definition screens, with the instrument panel showing large driving directions in a display bordered by a speedometer along the left edge and a tachometer along the right.
The interior apparently took advantage of the latest 3D printing technology, which allowed for a distinct flow and look to the instrument panel, doors and the steering wheel (which looks strangely devoid of controls, by today’s standards, and hints at touchpads for the audio controls).
Not much else has been revealed or can be inferred from the teasers, but we’ll probably get one more teaser shot before the covers are pulled off on Monday January 11.
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