An anonymous Kia employee spills the beans.
Earlier in the week, we reported on rumors that Korean automaker Kia might be working on a more rugged trim level of its smash-hit Telluride mid-size crossover, furnished with unique skid plates, tires and other goodies.
Now, new evidence lends a bit of credence to the rumors. Motor1 was contacted recently by an anonymous Kia employee who claimed that the automaker is weighing whether to offer a $1,695 "X-Line" appearance package with - you guessed it - unique skid plates. The employee proffered evidence of an internal survey being conducted at Kia to assess what the take rate might be at each trim level.
Granted, the "X-Line" package does differ markedly from the off-road package originally rumored to be in the works. Where reports from earlier in the week hinted at a Telluride with a brush guard and knobby tires, pointing to some serious overlanding capability, the actual package being considered is significantly more everyday-user-focused.
Per Motor1, the Kia Telluride's optional X-Line appearance package could incorporate high-gloss black skid plates front and rear; a satin black grille; body-color door handles; and a high-gloss black finish for the roof rails, window trim, lower door trim, front bumper side air duct trim, and body emblems. Additionally, the X-Line could ride on a unique set of 20-inch black alloy wheels.
In short, it seems that the new Kia Telluride option reportedly being weighed would do nothing for off-road performance, and it wouldn't add a new trim level to the existing model range. Instead, it would be a purely cosmetic package offered across one or more trim levels.
Despite its relatively short time on the market, the Kia Telluride has already proven to be popular with the automotive press, accumulating numerous accolades including a North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award, while its mechanically similar cousin, the Hyundai Palisade, nabbed CarBuzz's own Best Family Fun Car of 2019 award.