After leaked images of the Telluride surfaced online earlier this week, Kia decided that it’s time to make the SUV’s public debut officially official. And it’s not just any usual car launch; the eight-seater is the star of Brandon Maxwell’s runway at New York Fashion Week. If you think a fashion show isn’t a place for a badass car launch, then you’re wrong. With a vehicle this size, an equally huge debut is needed, and we think Kia is on the right track.
The Telluride, in its bespoke guise, drew inspiration from Maxwell's Texas-themed Spring Summer 2019 collection, with the Lone Star State being the designer’s hometown. With that, the Telluride is customized like it’s made for the Wild West.
Natural wood trims, saddle-inspired double-stitched leather – those were just among the many things that exude a Texas feel inside Kia’s biggest model. The leather details found on the dashboard, door panels, and grab handles are reflected on the rear-view mirrors and door handles, which continues up to the cargo area.
While rustic appeal populates the cabin, the exterior of this one-off Telluride is as functional as it is aesthetically ranch-ready. Aside from the custom bumpers and skid plates, it also has a hidden winch, a snorkel for deep-river fording, and a set of Burly 265/50R-20 off-road tires. A customized aluminum and wood roof rack with leather strap aptly serves as its finishing touch. The rear-mounted spare tire is a bit unsettling, though, but that's fine since this is just a show car.
Underneath its Wild West getup, the Telluride comes in a deep green color that somehow reflects the concept that debuted two years ago. What changed though, as also confirmed by the leaked photos and spy shots, is its front clip, which features a more massive grille and a vertically-oriented headlamp configuration. The taillights are also different, as they are thicker and shorter in the almost-production version of the full-size SUV.
The 2020 Telluride will be assembled in the marque’s Georgia plant and scheduled to arrive in dealerships in the earlier parts of 2019. Kia didn’t include details about the SUV’s engine during the Fashion Week, but the company mentioned that the production model will indeed have a V6 inside the bonnet.
Gallery: 2016 Kia Telluride concept
ALL-NEW KIA TELLURIDE MAKES TEXAS-SIZED STATEMENT ON BRANDON MAXWELL’S RUNWAY AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
Kia’s Largest and Most Refined SUV Confirmed for U.S. with Production in West Point, GA
- Influenced by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell’s latest Texas-inspired runway collection, a ranch-ready Telluride with saddle-like leather accents debuted at New York Fashion Week
- Penned at Kia’s U.S. design studio, the Telluride production model is scheduled to arrive in showrooms in early 2019
- Together with Maxwell, Kia is donating substantial funding to the public school system of Marfa, Texas, where Maxwell designed his SS’19 collection
IRVINE, Calif., September 8, 2018 – Breaking new ground, a bespoke version of Kia Motors America’s largest and most refined SUV – the all-new 2020 Telluride – made its first public appearance today at fashion designer Brandon Maxwell’s New York Fashion Week show. Created by Kia’s U.S. design studio in Irvine, California, the customized Telluride that appeared on the runway drew influence from Maxwell’s inspiration for the Spring Summer 2019 collection: Texas.
“Telluride summits Kia’s SUV lineup and forged a surprising new path with its runway debut at New York Fashion Week,” said Saad Chehab, vice president of marketing communications, Kia Motors America. “Only a brand as forward-thinking as Kia could collaborate with Brandon Maxwell to launch the Telluride ahead of its official debut at the North American International Auto Show in January.”
The eight passenger Telluride production model – which will be assembled at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – will provide a new, V6-powered option that is several inches longer and wider than Kia’s award-winning, seven passenger Sorento midsize SUV.
For Brandon Maxwell, the combination of childhood nostalgia and an exclusive preview of Kia’s largest and most refined SUV provided an opportunity to give back to the Marfa, Texas, community.
“My Mom drove me to school in East Texas in a Kia Sedona, and my adoration for the brand runs deep,” said Maxwell. “When I left Marfa, Texas, where I designed my SS’19 collection, I started talking with Kia. I wanted a partner who could help fill a need in Marfa’s public school system and Kia was looking to create a unique integration for their new Telluride. It was a natural fit as Kia has a long history of philanthropic initiatives that support education. Kia is not just funding necessary technological purchases and educational programming to give the children of Marfa the quality education they deserve, but also providing a vehicle for local teachers’ use. I am honored to collaborate with Kia Motors.”
The one-of-a-kind Telluride featured in the show provides a thought-provoking glimpse into the creative process that takes place when designers in separate industries collaborate. This specially tailored Telluride includes several nods to Maxwell’s Texas roots, including natural wood interior trim and saddle-inspired double-stitched leather adornments on the dash, door panels and grab handles. Similar leather details cover the outside rearview mirrors and door handles. Outside, the Telluride’s deep green paint reflects the color of the concept vehicle that debuted in Detroit two years ago. Custom front and rear bumpers, skidplates and sidestep sills exude a ranch-ready look that’s backed up with a hidden winch and a snorkel for deep-river fording. Burly 265/50R-20 off-road tires wrap around flat-black alloy wheels and the spare tire has been custom mounted to the rear hatch, which opens to a metal- and leather-trimmed cargo area. A custom wood and aluminum roof rack with a beautiful custom leather tow strap tongue provide the perfect finishing touches.
About Kia Motors America
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America continues to top quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand. Kia serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and SUVs proudly built in West Point, Georgia.*