The upcoming Ranger rival Kia ute has been spied, clearly on purpose – and it seems certain that an Australian launch is in the works.
- Mohave SUV facial cues on Ranger size
- Solid axle refers to ICE powertrains.
- An electrified variant is expected.
The long, long awaited Kia ute It has been spied out in the open for the first time wearing heavy camouflage – and a very clear front mask made from Current Mohave SUV overseas sales.
Right off the bat, a few details are obvious: First, the seemingly smooth bolting of the Mohave face on this ute confirms what we’ve long been expecting: Kia’s ute will be Ranger-sized, making it a clear contender in Australia’s popular ute market.
While the Mohave face may logically be for prototyping purposes only, the current Mohave design is a 2019 facelift of a model launched in 2008. In fact, the current Mohave is now so old that, despite being designed for North America, it is now only sold. In Korea
Kia is clearly ready for the world to learn more about its upcoming ute, with the brand’s new badge prominently displayed on the grille of this spy prototype. Not so much ‘spying’, then, ‘easily exposed to the world’s media’. Fair Play – This is marketing at its best. Definition
Expect a large electric ute for Australia, and an ICE model.
Based on Kia president Ho-Sung-song’s comments at an investor event in March this year, we can expect the Korean brand to introduce two utes in the coming years – a niche, style-oriented and compact car from Hyundai. is bigger than the Santa Cruz pickup based on .
There will be a ‘full-size’ electric ute designed specifically for America and with the Ford F-150 Lightning in its sights; While the other will be a smaller ICE-based model developed for “emerging markets” in Asia, including Australia – not technically an “emerging” market, but sold in Asia and ‘Oceania’. There is already a well-established terrain for utes.
Given the open interest shown by Kia’s influential Australian arm for a proper dual-cab work ute – a ‘small’ offering designed to compete not only in size with the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger has been done, but also designed to advance this section by offering some degree of Electrification (presumably before Ford’s expected Ranger PHEV arrives) – looks like the second model will be a perfect fit for Australia.
What size Kia ute are we talking about?
The ute spied here, with its Mohave face, suggests a Ranger-sized offering. – while the solid axle design seen at the rear makes it clear that we can expect this to be a segment-competitive diesel or petrol offering, which will suit the preferences of the Australian market.
Of course, given that we’re currently living in 2022, an electric version of this ute should also be on the cards.
Still, for those motivated by more than conventional needs, Kia’s Australian arm is clear in its aims.
Speaking to the media in South Korea at the launch of Seltos in 2019 – because it is atleast How long has the pressure been on – Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith couldn’t hide his eagerness to join the brand’s line-up.
“The good news is that the talks are taking place, so it’s still a long way off, but we believe that the group will have a light commercial range in Australia in the near future.
“Yes, I think 2022-23 will be very close,” he said here referring to the launch date.
If only we had a crystal ball back then…
Meredith continued: “The work has begun. We are talking about pickup, dual cab, single cab. What we asked for. [for Australia] This is a complete trick of a ute: Double Cab, Double Cab, Diesel and Petrol.
The interview provided the most detailed commentary we’ve yet heard about the Kia ute that could be undermining sales leaders like the Ranger and Hilux – but Meredith also confirmed that we’d expect a Kia ute in Australia. Can expect to get local tuning.
“It’s part of our robust strategy, we put every car that comes into Australia through this process. It’s usually eight to 12 months out, so it won’t be for the next year or so.”
At this time, at the back end of 2022, It appears that Kia’s Australian team, including ride and handling consultant Graeme Gambold, is already driving the car in Korea. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it on Australian roads in the coming months.
What about… Hyundai?
The local launch of Kia’s ute could be quickly followed by Hyundai’s dual-cab version built on the same platform.
“I guess that makes sense, doesn’t it?” Hyundai Group on the topic of designing a ladder frame platform for both of its major brands, Meredith said.
In fact, despite this week’s sneaky Kia ‘spy’ photo, the Hyundai version could debut earlier as well.
“Hopefully we are the first. [to launch in Australia] But it doesn’t really matter. It will be close.”
However, luckily Hyundai’s Australian arm has volunteered a useful statement on this. We have been given the classic ‘no comment’ so far.
Meredith has never been shy about making predictions. In that 2019 interview, he suggested the company would expect to own about 8 to 10 percent of the light commercial vehicle segment, which would translate to about 20,000 ute sales.
The car-based Santa Cruz is currently Hyundai’s only ute, but don’t expect it to make much of an impact on the group’s upcoming ladder frame.
When will Kia’s ute go on sale in Australia?
There’s no need to hide Kia Australia’s interest in a ute, especially when such a model can be seen as a key contributor to its climb up the local sales ladder.
There’s no official word, but if the new ute comes out early next year, a late 2023 or early 2024 launch for Australia could follow.