When Kia Motors released the 2018 Kia Niro, it was like nothing consumers had seen before. A crossover hybrid? The auto market may be becoming saturated with SUVs and crossovers, but large vehicles with alternative fuel made the Kia Niro one of the first of its kind. Following the success of the Kia Niro, Kia decided to keep designing fuel efficient utility vehicles, and they recently introduced the Kia Telluride concept, a full-size SUV that’s a PHEV. The Kia Telluride concept made its initial debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show and it's a plug-in hybrid SUV that’s futuristic and functional.
The specs of the Kia Telluride concept are still being fleshed out, but the concept page on the Kia Motors website does have enough to make the mouth start watering. The Kia Telluride is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), so the powertrain is made up of an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor powered by a battery. The internal combustion engine is a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. There is as of yet no word on the size of the battery that powers the electric motor, but Kia has revealed that the electric motor produces 130 horsepower, so that puts its combined horsepower at 400 horses, the range of power most consumers want in a full-size SUV. Kia has also said that the Telluride has an average fuel economy of 30 mpg on the highway.
A common theme with alternative fuel vehicles for the drivetrain is all-wheel drive, and the Telluride concept is no different. Although its center of gravity will be low thanks to the battery pack, putting all-wheel drive on a SUV is always a nice touch in case driving conditions are a little sketchy. The transmission has yet to be named as well, but it will most likely be automatic.
Can we just take a second to admire the beauty of the Kia Telluride concept? Just look at those front and rear-hinged doors; they open in opposite directions to completely open up the side of the vehicle. We can’t say we’re a fan of sacrificing safety by deleting the B-pillar (the pillar between the front and rear doors), but it sure does look cool and makes it a whole lot easier for the driver and passengers to slide into the cabin. Plus, with a seven passenger seating capacity and four black-leather captain’s chairs that make up the front seats and second row, the Kia Telluride concept is as comfortable as it is stylish.
Keeping the look of Kia Motors vehicles, the front fascia of the Kia Telluride concept has the largest tiger-nose grille to date. Featured are recessed quad-LED headlamps, horizontal LED indicator lights, thin and vertical taillights, a polished-metal skid plate, hood scoops, and dual exhaust tips. It rides on 22-inch five-spoke wheels, most likely aluminum to keep things light. With a hatchback trunk, consumers can expect plenty of cargo room with various seating arrangements.
Designed with three rows, the third-row bench seat can be folded down to open up more storage space. Adding to the comfortable leather chairs, the second row seats have foldaway footrests so passengers can put their feet up. It’s a great concept that helps to keep blood circulation flowing, and that’s not the only feature integrated into the Telluride for health.
The roof of the Kia Telluride concept is mostly one large sunroof. We don’t know if it’s retractable, but it definitely lets in sunlight. When night falls, passengers can still get plenty of light and vitamin D via the Light-Emitted Rejuvenation (LER) therapeutic system. Okay, now let’s talk about the tech.
Embedded into the roof of the Kia Telluride is a wing-shaped, ceiling mounted LED panel. Integrated into this is the LER mentioned above. These days, lots of people suffer from seasonal depression, and increased light exposure, especially from bright lights with 10,000 units of luminosity or more, have been shown to increase one’s mood and energy levels. Given that knowledge, the LER is a second system integrated into the Telluride for improved health.
The third system for health would be Smart Sensors embedded into the front four seats that will monitor the health information of the first and second-row passengers. The data is displayed on the interior door-panel view screens shown to the right. Heart rate and stress levels are shown, but such diagnostics may be configurable like vehicle cluster displays today.
Some of the convenient and safety features that may show up in the production of the Kia Telluride concept are a fingerprint-activated push-button start, a Swipe Command touch-sensitive second-row media-control band, and wireless charging. The last one is becoming common in vehicles today, but the fingerprint feature is great for safety. Just like smartphones, if included, the Kia Telluride will require a fingerprint to be activated. Would-be auto theft criminals and kids looking for a joy ride won’t be able to get the vehicle started unless they cut your thumb off first. The Swipe Command media-control band is also a nifty feature that will give the second-row passengers access to multimedia and a touchscreen of their own - much like the Uconnect Theatre package in the Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.
The last bits of technology lies in the sound system and several vehicle components. Like other Kia Motors vehicles, a seven-speaker Harman Kardon® audio system is available for crisp sound and with wireless headphones. This makes it possible for passenger to listen to their own music via the media-control band without disrupting the driver. Secondly, the dashboard, door panels, and steering wheel are 3D-printed components. Weird? Maybe. Neat? You bet.
We really hate when an automaker comes out with a cool concept like this, because like most concepts, they may never see the light of day. It’s a shame really, but the Kia Niro started out as a concept at some point, and look at it now. Quit holding out on us, Kia.
What do you think of the Kia Telluride concept? Does a full-size SUV PHEV sound interesting to you? Let us know on the Miami Lakes Automall Facebook page.
Photo Source/Copyright: Kia.com