Imagined by Kleber Silva with the face and taillights of the Telluride and the body shell of the half-ton GMC Sierra, you can’t help but wonder how much Kia will copy from American brands. After all, they’re the most proficient at designing pickups and they also happen to sell the most trucks by a long margin.
Don’t, however, brace yourself for U.S. availability because neither Kia nor Hyundai want to lose to the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Ram. This gets us to Australia, which is the land of the mid-size pickup, and the mystery truck’s capability. The golden standard for towing in this segment is 3,500 kilograms (make that 7,716 pounds) while payload should exceed 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds), figures that should give the Toyota Hilux a run for its money.
Speaking of which, Kia is poised to offer a more affordable alternative to the best-selling Hilux and the Ford Ranger, the two most popular mid-sizers in the Land Down Under. The Toyota starts at 22,325 dollars in Australia for the Workmate trim level with rear-wheel drive while the Blue Oval is charging 28,340 for the XL Low Rider with the 2.2-liter turbo diesel and a six-speed automatic box.
Both Kia and bigger brother Hyundai are likely cutting their teeth at pickups in Australia before they’ll try the U.S. market for the second generation of these trucks, but only time will tell if the South Korean companies will make a business case for selling trucks in North America. After all, it’s the hardest market to break because the Big Three in Detroit have so much more experience in this segment.
On a related note, have you heard that Hyundai prepares to roll out the Santa Cruz “crosstruck” next year in the U.S. of all places? The unibody pickup will be manufactured in Alabama, and chances are the newcomer will go on sale as a 2022 model if everything goes according to plan.
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