The all-new 2020 Kia Telluride SUV has been winning awards and making headlines in automotive journalism since its release. Earlier this month, the Kia got some street cred in Texas during theTAWA Auto Roundup with the Kia Telluride. Just last week, the Kia Telluride won awards during the2019 Northwest Automotive Press Association annual Mudfest. It would seem May is the month for the Telluride because the new SUV has received its third best-in-show award from the Texas Motor Press Association, during the first-ever Texas Off-Road Invitational. It won’t take long for people to forget what makes the 2020 Kia Telluride such a winner.
“Jurors were impressed by the Telluride’s off-road prowess, which rivaled that of traditionally rough-and-ready SUVs in muddy, steep, rocky, and sandy terrain…It also took on the challenge of driving through hub-high water with ease. For Texans, it is important to be able to easily transition from urban to suburban to ranch lifestyles, including off-roading scenarios. It’s also important that a vehicle is priced right for its abilities and build quality. The Telluride proved to Texas Motor Press Association jurors that it is the best combination of those qualities of all the vehicles tested during two days of competition.” – Eileen Falkenberg-Hull, vice president, Texas Motor Press Association.
So, what exactly IS the EX Designer Collection Package Kia Motors has been touting with its newmarketing campaign, “The new Species of Soul”? When the 2020 Kia Soul was first revealed, we got a little look at the future Kia GT Line and X-Line, but not a whole lot has been said about this new EX-Designer line. From what we can tell, Kia is starting to make a shift that allows consumers to get a little more bang for their buck, as well as entering a new lineup where personalization and customization are King.
EX Designer Collection
In the commercial seen above, “The New Species of Soul” shows off the 2020 Kia Soul GT, Soul X, and Soul EX Designer. The 2020 Kia Soul GT has a sportier exterior, black side mirrors, red accents, narrow headlights, and a grille that has a more angular design. Adding a more rugged look, the Soul X has fog lights, a rounded grille, unique wheels, and a roof rail for going off-road. The EX Designer…well it feels a little out-of-place.
In early May, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Kia Motors America, Michael Cole, spoke with MotorTrend in an interview and hinted at the automaker getting a pickup truck of their own. Who knew pickup trucks would make such a comeback with SUVs and crossovers over-saturating the market? Although Cole refused to confirm or deny the possibility of a pickup truck with a Kia nameplate, enthusiasts began to talk, and an artist by the name of St00k on KiaTellurideForums put together a rendering of aKia Telluride Lifestyle truck. Now that the render has been circulating, there are a couple of key points Kia should keep in mind if they do enter the truck market.
This is the big one. This is what makes all the other points on this list mute. With the way the truck market is shaping up, and with the current resurrection of the midsize pickup truck, entering the market is like walking into a minefield. An automaker will sink or swim, it’s a gamble, and variety may be the only saving grace. Although one should be wary of spreading their resources too thin, putting all their eggs in one basket isn’t a failsafe either. If Kia entered the truck market, the midsize truck segment is the obvious choice with competition starting to bud, but full-size and heavy-duty trucks have their own potential.
The 2020 Kia Telluride was a vehicle long in waiting, popping up all over the place likeNew York Fashion Week 2018 and atSEMA 2018 with five Telluride concepts. When Kia Motors finally released the large SUV in March 2019, the Kia Telluride spearheaded their sales, with a report of 55,814 vehicles sold – a tenth of which came from the new Telluride SUV, with 5080 units sold. If that wasn’t enough of a celebration, the Kia Telluride was quick to get some street cred in Texas from the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) during theTAWA Auto Roundup. Most recently, another organization made up of automotive and media journalists concluded, the Annual Northwest Automotive Press Association “Mudfest”.
A mudfest? What could an SUV possibly have to do with that? Wouldn’t that sort of thing belong to off-road vehicles? Well, yes, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) did show up at the mudfest, and performed fairly well. However, the Northwest Automotive Press Association, also known as NWAPA, is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. With members from a variety of sources, representing more than 700 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups, and the internet, NWAPA also has a primarily focus on testing and reporting on SUVs and crossovers. The 2020 Kia Telluride was among the 22 vehicles from 14 manufacturers tested at mudfest.
TheKia Niro EV is finally coming to the U.S., and it couldn’t have a greater reception. Earlier this year, 2019, the Kia Niro EV entered the European market under the guise of “e-Niro” and quickly became named the “Car of the Year” in Britain by consumer magazine and website What Car? The electric crossover did so well over there, that even with 10,000 units delivered, they all sold out in no time. With how hot the original Kia Niro hybrid crossover became in the U.S., we can understand why the Kia Niro EV is already named “Car of the Year” by Popular Mechanics before it even hits the streets.
One of the reasons this year’s Popular Mechanics Car Of The Year (COTY) stands out is because the writer who named the Kia Niro EV is none other than Popular Mechanics’ Ezra Dyer. This is a guy that learned to drive a stick shift when going off-road when he was ten years old and was hired by Automobile Magazine after writing a story on his first car, an IROC-Z Chevrolet Camaro – the B.A. of cars at the time. If Dyer loved the IROC-Z and still picked the Niro EV, then there must be something that attracts even the power-hungry drivers out there.
The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show took place back in January, and although it’s mostly focused on consumer appliances and technology, that didn’t stop some automakers from popping up. That includesKia Motors and their autonomous technology at 2019 CES. One of the technologies they debuted was an automated valet system controlled by the user’s smartphone. Recently, the automaker took a step towards connecting electric vehicles and smartphones through a new app currently in production.
In late April 2019, the Hyundai Motor Group, consisting of Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, revealed that a new smartphone app will be coming to fully electric cars to offer consumers the potential to customize and personalize their vehicle on a level that’s not entirely possible with standard gasoline models. There are already apps available for these vehicles for checking out the battery life, charge, adjusting levels of brake regeneration, and switching between different drive modes. This app does much more, and consumers won’t have to worry about voiding a warranty for making these modifications, another blunder gasoline models tend to run into.
The Kia Telluride is really making a name for itself since its release in March 2019. Not only did this large SUV spearhead sales for Kia Motors, with a total of 5080 units sold, but also helped the automaker launch into their best quarter 1 (Q1) sales since 2016. The Telluride did mot than help Kia with sales though – it’s also quickly becoming critically acclaimed with awards. Like every success by Kia Motors, the Telluride is already getting concepts for other variations, but it’s not a hybrid or a plug-in – it’s a Telluride pickup truck.
Kia Telluride Lifestyle Truck
The image above is a digital rendering of the proposed pickup truck based off of the Kia Telluride, called a “lifestyle truck”. It’s not an official render, done by an artist that goes by the name of St00k on KiaTellurideForums. Although the image isn’t an official look at what a Kia Telluride pickup truck could look like, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Kia Motors America, Michael Cole, spoke with MotorTrend in a recent interview. During the interview, he hinted at Kia Motors getting a version of their parent company Hyundai’s upcoming production truck.
Whenever Kia Motors adds a new model to the lineup, they have a pattern of always improving upon what works. It’s one of the reasons the Kia Soul EV, Kia Optima Hybrid, Kia Optima Plug-in, and Kia Niro Plug-in ever had a shot. Their predecessors were so popular, Kia Motors was confident they couldn’t lose by also adding a more green option to the market. Now, with the continuing success of the Kia Niro hybrid crossover and its plug-in compatriot, the Kia Niro EV is joining the lineup after a successful debut overseas. Yes, that’s right. The Kia Niro EV is officially on sale in the North American auto market.
During its 2019 debut in January overseas, the Kia Niro EV, known as the “e-Niro” in the European market, delighted consumers and journalists from across the country. What Car?, a United Kingdom-based consumer magazine and website, named theKia e-Niro the “Car of the Year”, making the Kia Niro EV the first Korean car to win the prestigious award. The e-Niro had so much success, that even with a total shipment of 10,000 units delivered overseas, all 10,000 have already been sold.
It’s that time of year again. Kia Motors has produced a new marketing campaign for the third generation of the Kia Soul hatchback. With a newly expanding lineup on a global scale, Kia Motors America launched a marketing campaign that builds upon the brand’s new mantra: Give It Everything. Calling the new Kia Soul the “most adaptable version ever of the brand’s iconic urban runabout”, the new campaign is about the automaker’s ability to adapt to change. A lot of this can be clearly seen in their expanding alternative fuel lineup and their claims to become anall-electric automaker. The new campaign shows that they can still deliver to every kind of consumer while moving forward.
“We have taken the Soul to an entirely new level by giving it even more of Kia’s ‘Give It Everything’ credo. With the expanded lineup offering more style, utility, technology, comfort, and adaptability than ever before, it’s a whole new species of Soul…While nearly everything about the Soul is different, this campaign continues the fun and irreverent attitude that turned Soul into an icon over the last decade.” – Saad Chehab, vice president, marketing communications, Kia Motors America
Back when the2020 Kia Soul was first unveiled at the 2018 LA Auto Show, we heard of two distinct trims that were being added to the lineup. They went by the name of “GT” and “X”, for the respective model lines Kia Motors has been putting together, starting with theirnew Kia GT Line. The 2020 Soul GT was defined by a sportier exterior featuring black side mirrors, red accents, narrow headlights, and a grille that has a more angular design, leaning into its sports car mystique. The X-line, however, offers a more rugged look with fog lights, a rounded grille, unique wheels, and a roof rail – all hallmarks of an off-road vehicle. We saw both of these in the new marketing campaign, entitled “The New Species of Soul”, but another model line also entered – the EX Designer, part of the new EX Designer Collection Package.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the future! It’s the future of automobiles at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, having just started and running from April 19 to April 28, 2019. Many automakers have been tight-lipped before debuting any concepts this year at NAIAS, but Kia Motors was quick to start making noise a week before, and now we know why. Along with the reveal of theirKia Stinger GTS Limited Edition, Kia Motors has debuted a concept that could change the auto industry forever. Of course, like other autonomous vehicle concepts, that could be a long ways away.
The Kia HabaNiro
Although “Niro” is a part of the name as a play on words, Kia Motors isn’t bringing us another rendition of the Kia Niro like they did with themany concepts of the Kia Telluride prior to its release. The Kia Niro EV, also known as the e-Niro in Europe, has already been a success. No, the HabaNiro is its own bread-and-butter design set to be an all-electric Everything Car or ECEV. Use it to commute, as a crossover, get rough like it’s an SUV, go on an adventure, or have a state-of-the-art technology workroom. Yes, that last one hinges on an autonomous vehicle, and the HabaNro concept comes with level-five autonomy.
“We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventure…We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything. Then, when we saw the finished product, we were blown away by the imagination of the HabaNiro’s creators and its laboratory of technology and we want it in our driveways.” -Tom Kearns, vice president of design for Kia Design Center America (KDCA).
Although the HabaNiro may fall into the compact crossover segment, the design of the vehicle blurs the lines of them all. A four-seat wonder car with butterfly wing doors make for a spectacle, and its protective metallic grey cladding contrasted by bright “Lava Red” aero panel and roof create a sense of vibrant energy. We swear, we think there’s a spy in the auto industry or automotive designs are starting to mesh together because the below image looks a lot like the Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept.