SEMA is more than just an event for the aftermarket to showcase its latest wares — it’s also the perfect opportunity for OEMs to trot out their latest and greatest, which is what Kia did with its Telluride crossover SUV.
In between the South and Central halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Kia was letting showgoers get a test ride in the Telluride. We took the opportunity and after a short wait and a helmet fitting, we were inside the new vehicle and going around a fun little obstacle course to check out the crossover’s abilities. It was a short but sweet romp, and here are our thoughts on it.
From the outside, the Telluride appeared to have the dimensions of a late-model Ford Explorer or Chevy Traverse. Kia had these SEMA-specific models outfitted with a body lift, larger off-road tires, grille guard, and roof rack (one of them even had a snorkel intake).
During the ride, we went over several obstacles – a washboard section, sand and dirt, an incline and decline ramp, a sharp banking turn, and even a jump ramp! The drivers were professionals and knew what they were doing, and never lost their nerve even as other passengers whooped and hollered; we were just having a good ol’ time watching from the front passenger seat!
Unfortunately, after the ride, Kia staff were not forthcoming with much information about the Telluride, but the drivers let us know what they knew. From this, we learned the following:
- V6 engine (once we got back to our laptops, we learned it supposedly makes about 270 horsepower)
- Independent front and rear suspension
- Crossover platform
- Launching in 2020
So what are our thoughts on it? Well, a Wrangler (or even a 4Runner) competitor, it is not. However, in the short time we had in it, the Telluride behaved well and didn’t balk at being flogged going up, down, and around.
All we’ll say is this: if Kia decides to make an off-road-y version of the Telluride like they had here at SEMA, we’ll be sure to get some more seat time in it when it becomes available, and see if it really is as capable and comfortable as it looks.