Kia Telluride Might Be Underpinned By The New K900’s RWD Platform

It’s not a secret anymore that Kia’s working on a range-topping SUV to slot above the Sorento. Scooped in prototype form at the end of February, it was previewed by the Telluride Concept.

According to the company’s product planner for the US market, Orth Hedrick, quoted by MotorAuthority, it will have quite a few things in common with the all-new K900.

“The components are there. We don’t have anything in the plans yet, but we certainly could. All the rolling stock is there”, Hedrick said, likely referring to the RWD-biased platform, adding that a K900-based SUV is “a natural thing”.

In all likelihood, the Kia official was referring to the Telluride (name unconfirmed), and not another SUV. On a side note, Genesis is also working on an SUV, but unlike this one, Kia’s flagship high-riding vehicle will be simpler. “There’s the Lincoln Aviator and then there will be the Ford Explorer”, he added.

Also read: Full-Size Kia SUV Coming With Telluride Concept Looks

Hedrick was also asked why the automaker chose to launch a new K900 after its predecessor wasn’t exactly successful in the United States, and answered by saying that Kia is “not a one and done kind of company”. “And it has a platform we can build off of.”

The production version of the Telluride study is expected debut later this year or in 2019. It has a boxy-looking exterior and probably a minimalistic cabin, and it might not be limited to the North American market, with Russia seen as a potential candidate.

However, don’t expect it in Europe, because it “doesn’t make much sense”, according to the automaker’s chief designer for Europe, Gregory Guillaume.

Note: Kia Telluride Concept pictured

more photos...
  • Six_Tymes

    distinctive design work. basically they took a lot of Volvo, and then exaggerated some of their design lines, but it works well. the name fits too, nice job! now produce it to be exactly like this, then ill really be impressed.

    • Bash

      It will not look exactly like this, you know that! I can see a lot of design elements that wont make it to the production vehicle, those rear lights, front bumper and on the interior a lot of nice stuff will definitely go. But what is bothering me right now is why the article mentioned and compared the Genesis upcoming SUV with the Aviator, then after that mentioning the explorer (referring top the KIA version??!!), the big KIA flagship SUV cant be at the explorer level. I don’t get that paragraph.

      • Rocket

        It was poorly worded, but I read it as: Ford is doing both mainstream and luxury on the same RWD platform, and Kia/Genesis could offer direct competitors to both. Which is precisely the argument I made yesterday.

      • Six_Tymes

        yes, yes i know they wont. BUT, it could happen, although the chances of that are “slim to none”. which is why I ended my post with (produce it to be exactly like this, then ill really be impressed.)

        hopeful thinking, get it.

        • Rocket

          I dunno … the Stinger didn’t deviate far from the Concept. The rearend will have to change, and the mirrors, wheels and door handles will be more practical, but it looks largely production-ready.

      • Rick Alexander

        I believe they are trying to compare the upcoming Genesis SUV (which will share the same platform) to the Aviator, as the Kia offering will be to the Explorer. In other words, the Genesis will be a more premium offering in comparison to the upcoming KIA.

        • Bash

          That’s what I understood too, but this telluride concept abviously promises or hinting for something more upscale and definitely more premium than an explorer!

        • bd0007

          In all likelihood, if Kia goes ahead with this, would still be a “luxury” CUV; maybe not as nice as the Genesis equivalent, but going to be nicer than an Explorer (the SX-L trim of the Sorento is already near-luxury).

          • Rick Alexander


      • Galaxium

        Actually, from looking at the spyshots, the taillights and greenhouse shape look very similar to the concept.

        Also I agree – I’m fairly certain the Telluride will be competing with things as big as the Honda Pilot and bigger.

    • bd0007

      Doesn’t look much at all like the XC-90 (which has more of a wagon-shape).

  • Harry Nimmergut

    Gotta give Kia credit for relentlessly trying. My fear is that, like the Borrego, which Kia introduced right before the economy tanked in ’08-’09, it just might be a case of bad timing again.
    And there’s still that Kia badge stigma. Can they really make $ on vehicles that sell under 500 copies a year? Am I missing something?
    Since the Sorento now tops out at around $46K (ahem), this would start about there.

    • Rick Alexander

      At the moment, KIA shares a large amount of its components with Hyundai. This definitely helps in regards to cost. KIA like Hyundai, started out as a “Cheap-Car” company”. By that, I mean a company known primarily for selling affordable transportation. As a result, they are having a hard time shaking that stigma. If people can see pass the badge, they’ll realize that KIA (like Hyundai) are making some very good products of late. The Stinger is a perfect example of this. Restyling there corporate logo, and maybe even creating a premium division like parent company Hyundai, might not be a bad idea either.

      • diesel_vdub

        Agreed… the badge is what turns a lot of people off. I had a VW before and loved the ergonomics and quality of the interior. My Soul isn’t quite at the same level but the amount of equipment is superior. Honestly I’m considering an Optima Hybrid over an Audi or BMW for my next vehicle. I know that they are not apples to apples comparison, but value for money is significantly higher with Kia and Hyundai.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    It better be…

  • pjl35

    Same is true for the upcoming Hyundai 8-seater, no?

    • Alter Ego

      I doubt it. Kia has it’s own Buick like sub-group within itself (K900, Stinger, this eventually) The 8-seater probably isn’t on that level, especially since Hyundai has Genesis.

      • pjl35

        I’m talking about sharing a platform…Hyundai isn’t going to have a completely separate platform for a vehicle of the same size. That would make zero sense.

        • Alter Ego

          I know but they’re in different classes and also not the same size. The concept has a 121in wheelbase and the 8 seater probably has a Honda Pilot like 190ish wheelbase. Also it’s not uncommon for luxury vehicles with similar sized economy counterparts to have different platforms. The Avalon/Accord don’t share a platform with the GS/TLX.

          • pjl35

            You’re joking right? The Accord and TLX absolutely do share a platform, along with the RLX. And the Avalon and ES share a platform. They are indeed the same size. You don’t know the measurements of the Hyundai 8-seater to definitively say it is a different size than the production Telluride. Concept dimensions DO NOT equal production dimensions for the Telluride.

  • Jerry Hightower

    Me like! Me want!

  • Blanka Li

    The styling of the front end seems a step backward for Kia. Looks like a Nissan. That said, I look forward to Kia building it. I have a 2016 Sorento and love it.

    • Alter Ego

      lol in what world does that look like a nissan? The pathfinder wishes it looked like a Telluride.

  • Maykel

    K900 is never meant to be a volume seller, it’s a platform car.

    • Alter Ego

      Platform car? I’ve never heard of this and a quick google search gave me nothing but it sounds cool. Does that mean it’s a car meant to exemplify the platform? Or does it exist just because the platform does?

  • mick

    “Hedrick was also asked why the automaker chose to launch a new K900
    after its predecessor wasn’t exactly successful in the United States,
    and answered by saying that Kia is “not a one and done kind of company.””

    Hah, tell that to the poor Borrego. In other news, this absolutely the right use of the platform. RWD-based SUVs in the US have an actual chance to make some serious $ for the brand. That K900 isn’t going to do diddly here.

  • Hot Twink

    I doubt that. The Kia Telluride is late in development. The pre-production prototypes have already been spied testing.

    The minimal area between the front door and front wheel-well in addition to a longer front overhang are telltale signs of a transverse front-wheel drive powertrain.

    Perhaps they are referring to a “next” generation, if it does well in sales.

    • PhilMcGraw

      Actually, they benchmarked that vehicle against the Volvo XC90 which also happens to be FWD/AWD. Spy photos caught both that and the XC90 traveling together.

      Considering the K900 comes standard with AWD, it’s possible that this SUV would also be standard with AWD.

      • Hot Twink

        The XC90 was the only vehicle the Telluride was spied with. It was compared with other crossovers besides the Volvo.

        The all-wheel drive system would not be the same as the one in the K900 anyway. That platform uses longitudinal powertrain and a transfer case with traditional front and rear axles.

        The Telluride has a transverse powertrain, so can’t use a transfer case. Instead it will have a PTO and RADM. It’s a front-wheel drive based system.

  • bd0007

    Hendrick wouldn’t be hinting at something that may happen (a CUV based on the K900 platform) when the prototypes of the Telluride are doing late-stage testing and bear all the hallmarks of having a FWD/transverse layout like the upcoming 3-row/8-seater Hyundai crossover.

    Hendrick was likely referring to a possible new RWD CUV – which was a likely development either using the platform underpinning the Stinger or K900, or possibly both.

    As for the new K900, like its predecessor, mostly meant for the Korean market where large,luxury sedans still regin supreme among the elite.

  • Mynameis Taylor

    too badly that it didn’t turnout like this 🙁

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