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Kia pickup 2025: all we know so far about Kia’s Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux ute rival


Chasing Cars has some fresh intel into what to expect from the new Kia pickup when it launches around 2025  

The Kia pickup, rumoured to be called the Kia Tasman, looks set to be a big deal when it launches locally around 2025.

Kia Australia has confirmed that the all-new ute will arrive sometime in the next “24 to 36 months.”  

But what do we know so far about Kia’s first ute, and how will it compete with major rivals such as the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger?

Kia ute 2023 front 3/4 development car
Images of the Kia pickup were leaked earlier in the year

Let’s find out. 

Significant market share expected with Kia ute 

Kia has high hopes for its new pickup and aims to have significant market share in the Australian pickup industry.

Kia Australia’s chief executive officer, Damien Meredith, said that the brand predicts that the Kia pickup is capable of capturing a major share of the lucrative local ute segment.  

2023 Toyota Hilux GR Sport front 3/4 suspension flex
Kia is expecting to sell its ute in pretty big numbers, but can it topple Hilux?

“We believe we can still do 10 percent (of the ute market share in Australia)”. 

That means that Kia is aiming to sell around 20,000 utes per year – certainly a big task ahead. 

Australia will have plenty of input into development 

Like some of the major ute players in the market, Kia Australia has confirmed to local media that its pickup will have significant input from the local design team. 

2023 Kia Telluride front grille and Kia badging
Kia Australia will help develop the pickup for Australian conditions

When asked about how much input Australia will have, Meredith replied, “As much as possible. Lots of development to suit our market. Australia’s role is being seen as a very important one”. 

Kia Australia’s general manager of product planning, Roland Rivero, explained that Kia’s pickup has and continues to be developed in part locally. 

A team headed by company’s chief engineer of ride and handling, Graeme Gambold, has been hard at work developing the chassis in a variety of tough Australian conditions.   

Kia ute 2023 covered up on road
The Kia pickup spotted on the road overseas

This is very likely due to the fact that Australia will be one of, if not the biggest markets for the Kia ute when it launches. Other core markets will include countries such as South Africa, South America and Thailand, but Australia could be number one. 

Ranger and Amarok key benchmarks for Kia pickup 

Kia Australia has openly said that other utes such as the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok were the key “benchmark” for developing the Kia pickup. 

Ford Ranger Sport V6 2023 driving front 3
The Ford Ranger was a key benchmark for the Kia pickup

“It was critical that [Kia’s development team] understood what the key benchmarks were,” Meredith said. 

At the press conference with Australian media, Kia told Chasing Cars that it had been planning a pickup project for quite some time. And that in terms of key market benchmarks, the target has been a moving one.

“In the last couple of years when we started the conversation (about developing the pickup), there wasn’t an all-new Ranger”. 

Toyota Hilux Rogue 2022 front 3/4 low
The Toyota Hilux will be hard to beat in such a competitive part of our market

Both the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger nameplates remain the primary benchmarks in large part due to sheer popularity – they’ve long been the top two best-selling utility vehicles on Australian soil. 

However, Kia Australia has also namechecked Volkswagen Amarok, now technically twinned with Ranger in its recently released second generation, as something of a quality and integrity benchmark.  

If Kia is planning to sell around 20,000 pickups a year in Australia, that would put it in line with the likes of the Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Triton, which both sold around 20,000 4×4 variant units during 2022. 

Mitsubishi Triton front 3/4 static mountain background
Kia could sell its ute in greater numbers than the Mitsubishi Triton

Pickup will ride on own platform, SUV version a possibility 

Unlike the Thai origins of many of today’s popular pickup and ute ranges, Kia’s new pickup will be built in Korea.

It has also been confirmed by Kia Australia that the new pickup will not ride on an existing platform, meaning that Kia would have needed to build its own ladder chassis platform for the pickup. 

2023 Kia Telluride concept image green
Kia could one day build an SUV based off its ute platform

This means that the Kia pickup will not be SUV-based, like Hyundai’s North American Santa Cruz ute, for example, which utilises a unibody chassis and is based on the Tucson

Although unconfirmed, an SUV version of the Kia pickup could happen – much like how the Ford Everest exists alongside the Ranger – however Kia Australia did not confirm this at such an early stage. 

Kia won’t just offer 4×4 dual cabs, entire range expected 

It seems that Kia will work to bring a full lineup of pickup utes to market in Australia, and not just high-spec 4×4 dual-cabs. 

2023 Isuzu D-Max LS-U towing trailer
Expect a full model range for the Kia pickup, from 4×2 right through to flagship 4x4s

“We were very adamant that we needed to put the entirety of the segment, the entirety of the category, and strategically target all the major parts of it,” Meredith said at the event. 

This means that the future Kia lineup could include tradie-spec 4×2 work utes right up to flagship 4×4 dual-cab utes for work and play. 

Pricing hasn’t been confirmed just yet, but it wouldn’t be wrong to estimate that Kia’s pricing is competitive against the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. 

It’s feasible that Kia might also offer a high-end performance-oriented variant to take on the likes of Ranger Raptor.

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