Who: The rising South Korean brand
What: An all-new dual-cab ute
When: Revealed late 2024, on sale 2025
Why: Because Australians love utes
This is the new model that should have the likes of Mazda, Ford and Mitsubishi worried. It’s the highly anticipated all-new dual-cab ute from Kia and it’s been caught in a South Korean car park.
While much has been rumoured about this long-awaited new addition to Kia’s line-up, this is the first time a close-to-production prototype has been caught close up. South Korean YouTube channel, Woopa TV, spied the Tasman (as it’s expected to be known) and filmed an extensive video.
Even though the Tasman is covered in heavily, black camouflage, there is still a lot to be learnt from this prototype. The most obvious styling element is the big, boxy appearance of the new ute, which suggests Kia is following the ‘Big Truck’ style of the popular Ford Ranger and the new Mitsubishi Triton.
While it will be angular, through the camouflage it appears as though the Tasman will also follow the current styling language of the Kia SUV line-up when it comes to the lights. Expect a similar visual treatment to the latest models, such as the EV9 and updated Sorento.
But for the Kia Tasman to really take it to the Ranger and Toyota HiLux it’s not on the surface that counts, but what’s underneath. Thankfully for Kia, the new ute sits on a ladder-frame chassis, which means this is a proper, one-tonne dual-cab and not an SUV-based pseudo-workhorse.
Under the bonnet it’s likely to be powered by Kia’s existing 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, which makes a respectable – but not class-leading – 148kW of power and 440Nm of torque. The bigger question is what, if any, petrol engine Kia may offer in the Tasman. The key to its future would be US sales, where the market prefers petrol over diesel, which would make the 200kW/332Nm 3.5-litre V6 an obvious choice.
However, there’s a twist in the tale, because Kia isn’t planning just one ute, but two. The company has previously confirmed that it will offer 14 all-electric vehicles before the end of 2027 and has indicated a ute will be one of them.
Given the recently launched EV9 large SUV sits on the modular ‘e-GMP’ platform, this makes the obvious choice for Kia as the basis of the electric ute. It would likely have a similar powertrain too, with the EV9 making 283kW/700Nm with its dual-motor set-up.
The Kia Tasman is expected to be revealed before the end of 2024 and go on sale in the first half of 2025. Australia will likely be one of the key markets for the new ute, given the strength of both dual-cabs and Kia in the current sales race.