It’s hard to draw a conclusion because we don’t have official intel from the South Korean automaker, but we do know that Kia is developing a body-on-frame truck for Australia. Two years ago, Aussie chief operating officer Damien Meredith let it slip that Kia will offer single- and dual-cab options along with turbo diesel and gasoline powertrains. Down Under, the main rivals of the upcoming truck would be the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.
As to what kind of underpinnings the yet-to-be-named pickup could use, the Mohave would be the most obvious choice. An evolution of the Mohave’s chassis would be more than adequate for this application, but nevertheless, there’s no guarantee this truck will be sold in the United States of America.
Given the South Korean automaker’s relationship with Hyundai, one also has to wonder if Kia intends to launch a Santa Cruz lookalike in North America. Two models are better than one, especially against the lower-priced Ford Maverick, and Kia can very well build this fellow in West Point, Georgia where the K5, Sorento, and Telluride are currently manufactured.
As a brief refresher, the Santa Cruz flaunts a 2.5-liter Smartstream four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct injection and either natural aspiration or a turbocharger. At the moment of writing, the “sport adventure vehicle” as Hyundai likes to call it starts at $23,990 whereas the Tucson is $24,950.