Compared to something like a 4Runner TRD Pro, the Kia Telluride isn’t exactly an extreme off-roader. Which, for some, may not be an issue. However, rumors are claiming Kia is working on rectifying that. But before that potential trim comes out, it’s worth remembering that Kia did show off an off-road-prepped Telluride some time ago. Can you get anything like it today?
The NY Fashion Week Kia Telluride off-road builds
Before the Kia Telluride officially started production, it was shown off at the 2019 New York Fashion Week, Motor Trend reports. In fact, it was shown there ahead of its North American International Auto Show debut.
The NY Fashion Week Kia Telluride had a few interior and exterior modifications compared to the standard model, The Drive reports. As it was the product of Texas-born designer Brandon Maxwell, inside the crossover received ‘saddle-inspired’ double-stitched leather trim on the dash, doors, and grab handles. That leather was also used on the exterior door handles and mirrors. But, like the production Telluride SX, the interior also featured open-pore wood trim.
Externally, the ‘Maxwell Edition’ Kia Telluride rode on 265/50R-20 off-road tires, mounted on black rims, Autotrader reports. The crossover also received custom front and rear bumpers, as well as a custom wood-and-aluminum roof rack and spare tire carrier.
Underneath, the Telluride had side steps and skid plates. And mounted to the side and front, respectively, were a ladder and snorkel.
Can you recreate this Kia Telluride on your own?
Unfortunately, it appears the collaboration between Maxwell and Kia was indeed a one-off. There are no plans to put the Telluride shown at NY Fashion Week into production, Autotrader reports.
However, it is possible to partially recreate it with a production Kia Telluride. Naturally, the custom roof rack and bumpers aren’t included. But Kia does offer Telluride-specific side steps and a skid plate for about $945 and $490, respectively. And you can get 265/50R-20 all-terrain tires from a place like Tire Rack for roughly $200/tire.
As for the spare tire carrier, Kia doesn’t offer that as an accessory. But, because some Telluride owners have attempted to take their crossovers off-road, an aftermarket company has stepped up to provide. Rigid Armor sells a Telluride-specific spare tire carrier for $450. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to fit your Telluride with a trailer hitch, which is a $540 accessory.
Sadly, there’s no Telluride-specific ladder or snorkel kit like the one on the NY Fashion Week crossover. However, you could get close with something like Front Runner’s $170 telescopic aluminum ladder.
Do the SEMA builds hint at the off-road trim?
Kia previously showed off several off-road Telluride builds at SEMA. And at the time, the automaker hinted at the possibility of future off-road trims and/or accessories, Motor1 reports. But further details have not been released.
There may be a good reason for Kia to consider giving the Telluride some more off-road chops, though. Although the Toyota RAV4 TRD and TRD Off-Road aren’t extreme overlanders, they do offer more capability than a purely road-going crossover.
The fact that the Telluride has AWD, but not 4WD, does limit its off-road potential somewhat. But if the goal is a ‘soft-core’ off-roader, that could be sufficient. After all, the Porsche Macan ‘only’ has AWD, but it’s still a somewhat-capable off-roader.
It’s possible, though, that Kia has reconsidered creating a more off-road-focused Telluride. Although it lacks 4WD, with 3 rows and a V6, the Telluride could conceivably be a Toyota 4Runner competitor. It’s possible that the Korean automaker initially thought of its 3-row crossover in that way, hence the off-road mods. But customer or market data could have pushed the company in a different direction.
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