Ever since the Hyundai Santa Cruz concept pickup debuted, we’ve wondered whether Kia will also enter the segment. With development of the Hyundai well underway, it was only a matter of time until the Korean automaker spilled the beans. Now, it finally has. Kia Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith has confirmed to CarsGuide that Kia will have its own pickup. Additionally, Meredith revealed that work is already underway and the truck could arrive between 2022-2023, around the same time frame as the production Hyundai Santa Cruz.
“Work has begun,” Meredith told CarsGuide. “We’re talking about a dual cab, a single cab-what we’ve requested is the full gambit for the ute, and that (includes) a dual cab with diesel and petrol (options).” Kia’s Australian executives are confident that the truck would do well in their market. Meredith thinks Kia can take 8-10 percent market share there.
Although he didn’t reveal much else, we’re suspecting that should Kia’s pickup come to the U.S. market, it’ll likely offer only gas engines. These powertrains will be shared with the Hyundai Santa Cruz; however when it comes to engine, transmission, and chassis calibration, the Kia will likely differ just to distinguish itself from its Hyundai cousin. Hyundai-Kia’s new family of Smartstream powertrains could find its way into both pickups.
Since it will share underpinnings with the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Kia pickup will be closer to a compact in size. Although CarsGuide states it will be competing with midsize trucks, we think Kia’s pickup will be a segment smaller considering the unibody Santa Cruz will share its underpinnings with the next generation Tucson, a compact crossover. Think more Subaru Baja and first generation Ford Ranger instead of Honda Ridgeline and Chevrolet Colorado.