Telluride Concept, previously known as KCD12, shows a new, big and square Kia

When we released its teaser, a few days ago, the Kia KCD12 already promised to be a Kia Mohave/Borrego replacement. Now that it has been fully presented, at the 2016 NAIAS, we can also say it predicts a square language of design, in line with what other brands, such as Volvo, Rolls-Royce and Land Rover, have been successfully following.

Telluride is a game of words, mixing telluric, or everything that is related to Earth, and ride, a word that requires no explanations in our environment. It is also the name of a city in Colorado, but the pun is more interesting. The Earth part of the name is not only related to the ability to ride paths with no tarmac, but also in a environment-friendly way, since the concept is a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Equipped with a transversely mounted 3.5 GDI V6 engine with Atkinson cycle, which produces 201 kW, and with an electric engine able to generate 97 kW, the SUV achieves a fuel economy of 7.8 l/100 km. Impressive for a vehicle that seems to be a moving wall. It is strange that Kia says the total power of Telluride is 298 kW, since the integration of the two engines normally presents some losses.

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The SUV is 5 m long, 2.01 m wide, 1.80 m tall and has a wheelbase of 3.08 m. It has been built over a stretched Sorento platform and uses 22-inch five spoke wheels with 275/45 R22 Hankook Ventus ST tires.

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With such a long wheelbase, the car can offer 3 rows of seats, for carrying 7 passengers. Since it has only two seats at the second row, you can imagine a production version could easily offer seating for 8 people.

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Conceived at the Kia Design Center America (KDCA), it also features some interesting solutions, such as the rear-hinged rear doors, which we prefer to call as suicide doors. They are able to swing open 90º and have no B column, what allows for a very easy access to the interior.

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When seated, the occupants of the first and second row of seats, including the driver, are diagnosed with the aid of Smart Sensors placed in the back of the seats. The vital information appears on screens placed at the respective door panel. One of the most important conditions analysed by the sensors is desynchronosis, popularly known as jetlag. The car can treat it through the Light Emitted Rejuvenation (LER) system. It uses LED lights installed beneath the sunroof to display a pattern of therapeutic lights that is said to improve the level of energy of its passengers. In other words, the Telluride would be the best car to go from an airport to your hotel. Preferably one that is very far. The second row seats can even make it more comfortable by folding almost flat and allowing you to take a nap. Naps with regular seat belts are not a wise idea, anyway.

Besides that, the Telluride provides Swipe Command, a touch-sensitive band placed on the second row center console that allows passengers to choose what to play on the Harman Kardon 7-speaker sound system. Have no doubts about the concept: it will reach mass production. Just take all the concept ideas away from it, such as the suicide doors and the individual seats on the second row and the new SUV will be ready to go.

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.