Kia wants to get into the luxury game.
Its sister company, Hyundai, dabbled in luxury for a few years with the Genesis and Equus sedans before finally announcing that it would launch a separate luxury brand to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. That new brand, called Genesis, will launch in Hyundai dealerships this year and offer up to six models by 2020.
This post, though, isn’t about Hyundai.
Kia also produces a luxury liner, the well-appointed K900, but it’s struggling to find a place in the world.
A recently completed long-term review of the car said,
Musings that the K900 would make a great modern Lincoln Town Car or a cut-price Lexus LS sedan were outnumbered by questions of how the sedan fits with Kia’s broader contemporary image and marketing. The automaker’s current lineup benefits from well-sorted ride and handling and a subtly sporting image. The K900 offers neither of those things. And then there’s the issue that our test model cost $66,400, nearly twice as much as the base price of the next-most-expensive Kia sedan, the $35,725 Cadenza.
The K900 doesn’t fit Kia’s current brand because no other car even comes close to it. But what if one did?
As a seven-seater, the Telluride is a hulky machine—its length of 196.9 inches slots between a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Cadillac Escalade. It’s clearly aimed at competing with the latter as an urban cruiser, evident by the 22-inch wheels and the gaping maw of a grill that gives it a surprisingly stately presence. Power comes from a 130-horsepower electric motor and a 270 horsepower V6 for a total of 400 horsepower going to all four wheels.
The concept version has some pie-in-the-sky features, such as suicide doors and LED ceiling lighting that’s supposed to reduce fatigue and jet lag. A production version would almost certainly be more traditional. Even so, the sight of the Telluride on the roads will instantly change the perception of Kia in the minds of anyone who encounters one.
A successful luxury SUV would pave the way for a refreshed K900, which could lead to a grand future of Kia luxury.
Should Kia build its Telluride concept?