It seems that Kia and Hyundai are planning on having a crack at the booming ute market. Both brands have in recent years, stepped away from their Four-Wheel Drive SUVs, namely the Hyundai Terracan and the Kia Sportage. They are now focusing more on ‘Soft-Roaders’ with All-Wheel Drive capability. That may be a thing of the past, as the Australian ute market continues to grow month after month, with Kia Motors Corp having a crack at the ute market.
Now things are still very early days, with very little in concrete. However, from a source at Kia, we’ve been told that development has commenced on a ute that is set to go up against the big players in the market; namely the Ford Ranger, and Toyota HiLux.
We’re not sure on the style or setup for the Korean ute yet, however, the expectation is that it will have a unibody style frame, as opposed to the body on chassis that most of the big players utilise. That said, KMC could go in the other direction and build a body on chassis style ute. This setup then gives them the option to have very different styled utes between brands and also offers access to SUV models utilising the ute chassis. Most of the big players have gone this way; think the Isuzu D-MAX vs. MU-X or the Ford Ranger vs. Everest.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time Kia has toyed with the idea of a ute/pick-up style vehicle; those with rather long memories would recall the KCV4 Mojave. This gorgeous (read: horrendous) piece of engineering was their last attempt at a concept vehicle for the US market, way back in 2004. Thankfully, Kia has employed a bunch of new designers and engineers since those days. They’re actually releasing some rather impressive looking cars – think the Kia Stinger.
The million-dollar question, is can they translate the better-looking cars they’re creating into utes and SUV’s? Or will this be another abomination like the KCV4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!