SUVs

Kia Telluride off-road concepts show off the new SUV at SEMA

Kia's upcoming three-row, eight-passenger SUV gets the concept treatment.

Kia

The Kia Telluride was last shown amidst the glitz and glamor of New York Fashion Week, but the automaker clearly wants to emphasize the upcoming model's ruggedness, too. Kia said in a press release today it will bring four modified Telluride concepts to SEMA and let attendees ride in them on a "Torque Track" off-road course set up outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Kia Telluride SEMA concepts

The production Kia Telluride, due to debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, won't look quite so rugged as this concept.

Kia

If you're all excited about doing extreme off-roading in your own Telluride, Kia's vice president of marketing communications, Saad Chehab, is here to temper your expectations: "Of course a production Telluride won't be able to fly over extreme jumps like these modified versions, but we want the SEMA attendees to get to know Kia as the youthful brand we are." Ah well.

Still, each of the Kia Tellurides on display at SEMA have been extensively modified for duties away from paved roads. California's LGE-CTS Motorsports widened the SUVs' track by 3 inches front and rear, designed new control arms, and installed KW Motorsports coilovers. Suspension travel increased by 2 inches in front and 1.5 inches in back, while reinforced front strut towers help keep the SUVs from twisting too much.

Each of the four concepts has a different look and personality. The Telluride Horizon Roamer, for instance, is painted bright orange and wears new wheels with 32-inch off-road tires, a snorkel to aid with water fording, a roof-mounted cargo rack, a brush guard, a skid plate and a "straight-pipe" exhaust, which will surely make its V6 engine all the louder. Kia says this concept is meant to highlight the type of vehicle that could tackle the Rubicon Trail.

The Kia Telluride Cadet Leader, meanwhile, is optimized for different types of off-roading. It, too, has 32-inch tires and a louder exhaust, along with a roof rack, a tubular-style rear bumper and military-style matte-black-and-green paint. The Telluride Desert Drifter concept is equipped very similarly, albeit with black-and-tan paint and a new LED light bar. Finally, the Telluride Baja Glider features the 32-inch tires, tubular front and rear bumpers, skid plates and two extra LED light bars.

Technically, of course, both the Telluride shown at New York Fashion Week and the one seen back in January at the Detroit Auto Show were concepts. However, Kia promises we'll see the final, finished-production version of the SUV at the upcoming Detroit show in January 2019, with the new model set to go on sale in the first half of next year.