Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Kia ute 2024: what to expect from Kia’s first pick-up


New photos have surfaced of Kia’s long awaited pickup, but else what do we know so far?

More pictures of what could be Kia’s long-awaiting ute project have emerged online giving us a better look at this highly-anticipated workhorse that could soon be a common sight on Australian roads.

The images, initially piblished by South Korean publication Autospy, show the ute proportions of the prototype in clear view, though camouflage still covers some of the finer details.

Kia ute 2023 front 3/4 development car
More images of what could be Kia’s prototype ute have emerged online

We can see underneath the front coverings that this ute looks a lot like the overseas-market Mohave SUV– the ute shares the same front end LED light and grille design – though this may just be a dressed-up exterior, as is often the case with prototypes.

As we saw when pictures of a similar ute prototype were shared previously, a large Kia badge can be seen on the front giving a strong indication to its potential origins. 

Kia ute 2023 front end close up
A thorough investigation has led us to believe this ute prototype may be from Kia

If released, the Kia ute will enter a highly-competitive dual-cab market here in Australia, led by the likes of the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton

The new Kia ute is expected to be announced this year before a 2024 release. Kia Australia has expressed great interest in the ute locally and stated that if the project come to fruition, it would be well-suited to local needs and tastes.

“The good thing is that if it (the ute) does occur, I think that we’ll have a lot of ownership of it because obviously we are a big market,” Damien Meredith, Kia Australia’s chief operating officer, told Chasing Cars in October of 2021. 

What’s underneath the Kia ute?

The Kia ute, although still not officially confirmed, may look like a Mohave SUV at the front, but underneath the new pickup might be a new ladder-frame platform – one that could suit both ICE and electric powertrains. 

2024 Kia EV ute front fascia
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a Kia badge on a ute prototype

The former is the most likely to make an appearance at launch as previous images of the prototype ute have shown off a large set of exhaust pipes and rear differential, though an electric option could also make an appearance to suit a growing demand for zero-tailpipe emissions utes.

Eagle-eyed readers will also note the size difference of Kia’s ute compared to the cars around it, hinting that it might have a footprint larger than a midsize ute like an Isuzu D-Max and could be closer to the dimensions of a fullsize American pickup like the Ford F-150.

In terms of available powertrains, Chasing Cars has previously reported that there are several available applications through the Hyundai Motor Group.  

Kia ute 2023 covered up on road
The ute does appear to be quite large in size

Albert Biermann, one of the founding executives of Hyundai N, said in 2020 that the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel straight-six engine found in the Genesis GV80 large SUV could be a suitable option for commercial vehicles in the future, such as the Kia ute.

In its current form the engine makes 204kW/588Nm, positioning itself as a key powertrain rival for the Ford Ranger’s V6 engine.

Kia could also offer an updated version of the Mojave’s engine, a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 engine that makes 184kW and 539Nm.

Other possible choices of powertrains include the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine found in the Hyundai Santa Fe and Palisade or the 3.8-litre naturally-aspirated petrol V6 engine used in the current Kia Telluride. 

Hyundai Santa Cruz 2022 side
Hyundai already makes the Tucson-based Santa Cruz but it’s not sold here

Hyundai Motor Group already makes a ute, but it’s not sold here 

Hyundai Motor Group does in fact have a ute on sale currently, however it is only available for the North American market. 

Called the Santa Cruz, this ute is based on the unibody Tucson SUV, rather than a ladder-frame chassis setup used by the majority of utes sold in Australia. 

This ute uses either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine in either a turbocharged or naturally aspirated forms. 

As most utes in Australia are based off a ladder-frame chassis, the Tucson-based Santa Cruz would likely not be as well suited if sold here in Australia. 

Chasing more Kia?

Related articles