Detroit Motor Show - Kia is aiming straight for the jugular of the North American SUV market with its first-ever Telluride.

Designed in Kia’s California design studio and built at the Korean carmaker’s production facility in Georgia, it is unashamedly “big, bold and boxy”, in Kia’s very own words. Seating up to eight occupants, it’s aimed primarily at the US market, but probably won't ever find its way to South Africa.

With its stacked headlights, huge grille and boxy shape, the large sport utility looks as American as apple pie. Slotting in above the Sorento in size terms, it certainly qualifies as large in our opinion, although Kia actually refers to it as “mid-sized”.

Kia resisted the temptation to source a V8 motor from its Genesis sister brand however, but the Telluride does at least have a normally aspirated 3.8-litre direct injection V6, which qualifies as semi-American in the greater scheme of things, and it’s plenty powerful too with max outputs of 217kW and 355Nm.

The SUV will be sold in front-wheel-drive and permanent all-wheel-drive configurations (with Snow and AWD Lock modes in addition to four regular driver-selectable modes). Power in both cases is delivered by an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and self-levelling rear suspension is also part of the deal.

The cabin offers some high-end trimmings and features, including quilted Nappa leather upholstery, faux brushed metal and matte-finished wood trim, a 630-watt 10 speaker Harman/Kardon audio system and wireless phone charging, while safety kit includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist  with pedestrian detection and much more. A built-in modem also allows many vehicle functions to be controlled remotely.

Furthermore, the front and middle seat rows are available with heating and ventilation while a roof-mounted climate control system regulates temperatures for the second and third rows.

IOL Motoring