Kia's Upcoming Ute: What Australians Can Expect
The anticipation is building as Kia prepares to launch its first-ever dual-cab ute, codenamed TK, in Australia around 2025. While there are still a few years to go before it hits our shores, Kia Australia has already made its intentions clear by injecting some "non-negotiable" features into the program. Let's dive into what Australian buyers can expect from Kia's forthcoming ute.
A Collaborative Effort
In a recent interview with CarExpert, Roland Rivero, the general manager for product planning at Kia Australia, revealed that the development of the Kia ute is already well underway. He emphasized the significance of Australia's role in the development process, highlighting that it's one of the first times the country has been involved so early in a product's development.
"Australia is a major market, an important market that they need to talk to and listen to with respect to the development of this product," Mr. Rivero stated.
Kia Australia made its priorities clear when working with Kia's global product development team. Three key features were deemed "non-negotiable" for the Australian market:
- 3500kg Braked Towing Capacity: Australians have a strong appetite for towing, whether it's for leisure activities like camping or for work-related purposes. Kia's ute will offer a robust towing capacity to meet these demands.
- Over 1000kg Payload: Payload capacity is essential for businesses and tradies who rely on their utes to carry heavy loads. Kia's commitment to providing over 1000kg of payload ensures the ute's suitability for various applications.
- Five-Star ANCAP Rating: Safety is paramount, and Kia Australia has made it clear that the upcoming ute must achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating. This commitment reflects Kia's dedication to the well-being of its customers.
Diesel-Only for Australia
While other markets may receive a petrol version of the ute, Kia Australia has chosen to focus on the diesel variant, aligning with the preferences of Australian buyers. To remain competitive in the dual-cab ute segment, the diesel engine will need to deliver at least 470Nm of torque. This places it in the same league as popular competitors like the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux.
Exploring V6 Options
Kia's ambition to excel in the ute market has led to considerations beyond the traditional four-cylinder diesel powertrain. A V6 diesel engine, currently offered by only a select few brands in the segment, is on the table. This move could cater to customers seeking enhanced performance and power in their ute.
Within the Hyundai Motor Group, there are existing V6 diesel engines, such as the 3.0-litre V6 used in the Kia Mohave, which boasts 189kW and 560Nm. Additionally, the Genesis GV80 features a 3.0-litre inline-six with 204kW and 588Nm. Such options could set Kia apart in a competitive market.
Targeting the Fleet Market
Kia's strategic focus for this ute extends to the fleet market, where large organizations often have specific requirements. Features like a seven-year warranty and a five-star ANCAP safety rating are expected to appeal to fleet buyers with stringent criteria.
Furthermore, Kia is actively working on an all-electric dual-cab ute, aligning with the growing demand for eco-friendly work vehicles. This electric variant aims to provide fleet customers with a sustainable option while meeting their operational needs.
As Kia Australia collaborates closely with the global development team, Australians can look forward to a dual-cab ute that prioritizes towing capacity, payload, and safety. With the potential for V6 power and an electric variant, Kia is positioning itself to make a strong entrance into the Australian ute market. Keep an eye out for more updates as the launch date approaches, and Kia's ute becomes a reality Down Under.