One of the Best SUVs of 2020 Might Be About to Get a Cool Off-Road Version

Instead of moving up market, Kia may be moving into the adventure realm.

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When it comes to crazy automotive sales successes of 2020, few vehicles can come close to Kia’s Telluride SUV. It was one of our favorite new vehicles of 2019. It just took home the 2020 World Car of the Year award. In fact, Kia dealers sell Tellurides off so quickly, that its internal nickname is the “Selluride.”

Now, in news that will likely cause buyers’ ears to perk up even more, there may be a more rugged-looking off-road version coming soon.

Recently, CarBuzz talked to Kia’s director of corporate communications James Bell, who confirmed that a new update to the Telluride is coming. He did not give details, but did say that we can expect it to be “more of an image play than up-marketing it” — i.e. pushing into the luxury realm, along the lines of the just-announced, not-for-America Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy. Based on that statement and others past CarBuzz expects it to be an “X-line” off-roading trim. Picture more of an off-road appearance package like the VW Atlas Basecamp, rather than an actual expansion of al-terrain capability that would let it go after Jeep or Toyota.

Going the adventure route with the Telluride would make sense. Off-road-slash-overlanding is one of the hottest trends in the automotive world; heck, Kia was basically already aiming for that market by naming the Telluride after a Colorado ski town. Vehicles at the launch were fitted with roof racks, bull bars and snorkels to suggest their capabilities; it was only later when it became apparent that Kia was in fact offering a great-driving, de facto luxury SUV at a mass-market price point.

If the rest of Telluride sales are anything to go by, Kia’s only issue with the Telluride X-Line may be producing them quickly enough.

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