Meet Kia's new premium SUV

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Meet Kias new premium SUV
The Kia Telluride

Published: Sat 18 May 2019, 12:29 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 May 2019, 11:23 AM

THE TELLURIDE, ITS makers boast, is the company's largest ever car. How 'Dubai' of them. It speaks to Kia's increasing appeal that they feel encroaching into another segment is a decent move. Okay, producing a SUV is a no-brainer given their popularity, but the Telluride definitely has a premium air about it and that is not always an attribute, which has traditionally jumped to mind when asked to envisage a Kia. The Korean brand produces decent vehicles with nice finishes, but they have tended to populate the more economical end of the automotive spectrum. So how will their new SUV fare in a land boasting Range Rovers and Cayennes as far as the eye can see? We took one out on a ride through the UAE's various driving environments to find out.
How it did in traffic
Top of the list, if you own a car in Dubai, you're going be spending more than a fair bit of your time staring at the stationary car directly in front of you. During these moments you demand comfort, a quiet cabin and a decent sound system to while away the hours. The Telluride provided all three. The luxurious feel of the materials - leather seats, brushed metal and a pleasant wooden dash in particular in our top spec model - evoked a stately experience. We were sat in an atmosphere we'd expect from a more high-end brand and it wasn't a mere imitation. It was the real deal. Three rows of seats mean potentially eight people can enjoy the spacious setting and its climate-controlled tranquillity either while on their devices charging in one of the six USB ports or staring out the panoramic sunroof. A 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system with Quantum Logic Surround Sound and Clari-Fi technology delivers the tunes.
How it did on the open highway
For a big car, it held its own. Under the bonnet sits a 3.8-litre V6 engine, producing 291hp. We could never call it blisteringly quick and the power is best delivered if you slip the shift into manual and make your own way through the eight gears, but it gets up to speed with no fuss and stays there for long journeys without producing a drop of noise. You have four driving modes at your disposal - Smart, Eco, Sport and Comfort - with the best, Comfort, delivering 80 per cent of the car's power to the front wheels and 20 per cent to the rear; a component of the vehicle's all-wheel drive technology. This cosiness is also enhanced with the standard four-wheel fully-independent suspension spruced up with the optional self-levelling rear suspension, which automatically calibrates the Telluride's ride height depending on vehicle load for control and stability.
How it did on the sand
We can't claim to have really put it through its paces on the dunes, but from what we witnessed the Telluride should be good for a day out in the desert. Inside, integrated grab handles made sure you knew it meant business. 'Sand mode', which prevents wheels digging in by distributing optimal levels of the total 355Nm of torque to each wheel, was another indication of off-road prowess. During our trial, down in second gear we managed to kick up a hefty amount of dust to be satisfied although further testing would be optimal.
Did we like it?
It's a big yes. In the tight corners, with such heft, body roll was occasionally felt, but none more so than was to be expected. Further elements we liked included the always-welcome blind spot monitoring camera, which kicks in when you pull the indicator down, and the 10.25-inch colour touchscreen with its navigation software was spot on. Overall we like the way it looks, the way it feels and the way it drives. The Telluride serves up everything you could want from a car in this division and it does so with subtlety and elegance.
Engine: 3.8-litre V6
Power: 291hp
Torque: 355NM 

By David Light

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On the sand
On the sand
Up front
Up front
Making space in the back
Making space in the back
Sun roof
Sun roof
Highway driving
Highway driving

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