Another off-roader is never a bad thing.
After proving itself as a purveyor of quality, unibody crossovers with the introduction of the Telluride, Kia apparently now has its eyes on the more rugged interpretation of “SUV” that is the body-on-frame truck.
Kia Australia product planner Roland Rivero specifically namechecked the Toyota Land Cruiser and Prado (essentially a rebadged, less swanky Lexus GX) when he spoke to Carsales about what a flagship SUV designed for Australia would be like. “Our desire, if we were to bring in an upper-large SUV, would be a ladder-frame execution. The Australian market, the way they look at upper large SUVs are looking into [Toyota] Land Cruiser or Prado territory and a ladder-frame SUV has specific capabilities, in off-road ability and towing capacity, that your monocoques just aren’t designed to deliver.”
“If you did want to penetrate that particular segment, you’d have to have an offering closer to a ladder frame vehicle,” Rivero continued. “Or if not, if it was alongside a large SUV, in that it was, say, built off a ute platform, they could achieve a similar result. So it’d be a nice to have if we had a ladder-frame SUV.”
Kia’s biggest current SUVs, the Sedona and Telluride, do not use ladder-frames and, more interestingly, neither does sister-brand Hyundai’s upcoming unibody Santa Cruz pickup. Nevertheless, Carsales says the Korean automaker’s Land Cruiser rival will reach production around 2023. The publication also goes on to report that development has already been going on for “several years” and that the company has been using the Nissan Armada (or Patrol, as its known in other markets) as a benchmark.
Of course, nothing at this point is officially confirmed but if/when a “proper” Kia truck does indeed happen, expect all of the typical “proper” truck equipment such as two-speed transfer cases, locking differentials, 4×4 capability and a general sense of ruggedness not apparent in Kia’s lesser crossovers.
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