The next-generation Forte is Kia's big debut at the ongoing NAIAS in Detroit, but the company's president and chief designer, Peter Schreyer, was eager to share some interesting news about an entirely different model. First shown a couple of years ago at the same show, the Telluride fullsize SUV has been given the proverbial green light and that means the large-and-in-charge concept will morph into a road-going model. When will it happen? It's too soon to say.
When asked about the prospects of a production-ready version, Schreyer said "Yeah, we are working on that car, actually." The important announcement was made in a discussion with the Australian media gathered in Detroit during which the company specified the model in question won't be sold all over the world. Kia Motors Europe chief designer Gregory Guillaume mentioned the Telluride "doesn't make much sense" in Europe where the company argues the Sorento is enough to satisfy the demand for big SUVs.
United States will be the SUV's main market, but other markets are expected to follow. For example, Guillaume mentioned the Mohave and its success in Russia as well as in other countries. In other words, the Telluride will likely be sold outside North America, though it's unclear at this point whether it will be engineered for right-hand-drive markets such as Australia where the local boss, Damien Meredith, has already revealed they would consider selling the Telluride.
As a reminder, the showcar from 2016 was actually based on the Sorento, but 4.4 inches (11.1 centimeters) taller, 4.7 inches (12 cm) wider, and 9.5 inches (24.1 cm) longer. Power came from a plug-in hybrid system encompassing a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and an electric motor for a combined output of 400 hp channeled to an all-wheel-drive system.
While the concept had four captain's seats and a third-row bench, expect the production variant to feature a more conventional layout to make the most of what will be a wheelbase longer than the Sorento's. Needless to say, the suicide doors are unlikely to make it to production.