Kia Motors’ all-new 2020 Telluride large crossover made its way from a Manhattan runway to an off-roading course in the Mojave Desert.
The eight-seater, which will hit dealer lots next year, will have the same 3.3-liter V6 engine and 8-speed transmission as the automaker’s Sorento midsize SUV. It will deliver 270 horsepower and come available with either front- or all-wheel-drive.
The automaker revealed a special trim of the large utility vehicle, curated by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell, at this year’s New York Fashion Week. It featured Western-inspired trim with saddle-leather accents.
Like its moniker and debut dressing suggest, the Telluride has adventure in its DNA. Kia demonstrated the crossover’s off-road chops on a course set up for the 2018 SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Kia fine-tuned four variations of the crossover to showcase its enhanced capability on rough and unpredictable terrain. The course – dubbed The Torque Track – featured steep inclines, beachlike strands of sand and short jumps.
Suspension modifications included KW Motorsports’ inverted-shaft long-travel McPherson struts and inverted WRC spec shocks, an increase in front and rear travel, wider tracks, and front and rear King hydraulic bump stocks.
A highlight of the Torque Track was a sideways dirt wall that the Telluride traversed like a downhill mountain bike rounding a corner. The section ended with a jump that required extra pressure on the accelerator. Though the ride was bumpy, the souped-up crossover performed well. It showed control coming down the dirt wall and handled the sand trap with ease.
Kia also proved its Telluride is a strong candidate for aftermarket parts and accessory customization geared toward adventure, a trend at this year’s SEMA show, where more adventure-ready trucks and SUVs were on display than ever.
The automaker covered one of its tester Tellurides in bright orange paint and added Black Rhino wheels with 32-inch Milestar Patagonia Mud Terrain tires. It also had a custom front rush guard and a roof-mounted cargo rack with an integrated LED light bar. Another sported rear-tube bumpers and skid plates, Amber Halo LED lights, modified straight pipe exhausts and a Rotopak carrier on the Telluride’s rear quarter panels.
Steve Beahm, the head of aftermarket parts manufacturer Mopar North America – which attributes over 50 percent of its sales to Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 modifications – said he expects the accessory and customization industry to rake in more than $100 billion this year.
The upgraded vehicles were conceptualized by both Kia and LGE-CTS Motorsports out of San Dimas, Calif.
Kia plans to unveil the production version of its 2020 Telluride large crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.