The Kia Telluride will be a participant vehicle for one of the teams in the Rebelle Rally. According to the manufacturer’s press release today, the Telluride will be entered into the competition as a “Bone Stock” category vehicle. As such, it is sure to disappoint. Kia is blowing an opportunity to show off the off-road chops the SUV can have and is instead showing up with a boring, run-of-the-mill pavement queen.
In my own words
Back in July I wrote the following words,
“I plead with you, Kia, do not let a focus group decide the fate of an off-roader. Build a handful of dedicated Telluride off-roaders. Take them to off-road events. See what the reaction is from real off-road people out on the trails. People already love the vehicle. The sales show it. Why not throw an off-road brute package into the mix and find out what people really say then?”
Here is the long and short of it. The Rebelle Rally is an opportunity for manufacturers to show off concept vehicles or packages that can enhance the capability of a stock platform. Lexus is showing up with a concept off-road SUV built upon the LX 570. Their concept is a supercharged, lifted, dune conquering machine called the J201. Kia, on the other hand, is choosing not to put a special project together for the event.
The Kia Telluride may be capable enough in stock form
To be fair, many stock vehicles are capable of finishing the grueling, long-distance navigation challenge that the rally is. Kia probably wants to show off that it has a very capable performer with the current stock Telluride. Okay, that could be true. But, the platform still suffers from the lack of an off-road variant. Toyota has a TRD trim line for vehicles to be dressed up with off-road enhancements. Chevrolet has the Z71 packaged vehicles. Jeep has Trailhawk packaged vehicles. Where is Kia’s alternative?
Off-Road Kia Tellurides were teased in 2018
Way back in 2018, Kia showed up at SEMA with several Tellurides that had been fixed up for off-roading. It seems, however, that was only a tease. Since then, the manufacturer has only added appearance packages to their lineup. There was hope, though, that the company would show up at an off-roading event with something crazy. In fact, the Rebelle Rally would have been another perfect opportunity to reveal an off-road package. Sadly, Kia will disappoint again by not showing up a gussied up SUV.
The Rebelle Rally
The Rebelle Rally is a multi-day challenge that spans across Nevada and California. The teams will not be able to use cell phones or any GPS devices. It is a true, map and compass, type of competition with checkpoints spread over 1,200 miles. Dirt roads, barren lands, sand dunes, and other challenging surfaces will stretch the team’s and their vehicle’s abilities. The challenge begins October 8th and the progress of the individual teams can be tracked at this link, www.rebellerally.com/live.
Kia has been smart in its growth. It has found ways to grow and improve quality along the way. So, the company probably already has something brewing behind closed doors or in its testing facilities. But, a tease would be helpful to whet the appetite of off-road enthusiasts. Look at what Ram did. They built excitement with teasers for years prior to bringing the Ram 1500 TRX to market. Now they have a sales hit before many of those trucks have even hit dealer lots. Kia, where are you, and why must you insist on disappointing off-roading hearts?