Kia ‘Tasman’ has been spotted testing again in South Korea ahead of its unveil – but what can we expect?
Kia is set to release a new utility 4×4 in Australia within the next two years, and it may be called the Tasman, according to a trademark application in multiple countries that would sell such a model.
The upcoming ute continues to pique curiosity and it was spotted yet again in South Korea in a heavy disguise. The cladding might well be a red herring though as the mule is early in development and we believe design is still being carried out in secret.
The most recent spy photos were shared on Instagram by the user Shorts Car (below).
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The South Korean automaker has recently submitted a trademark application for the Tasman name in various markets such as Australia, New Zealand, France, Uruguay, and Costa Rica.
The application, which was received in Australia in May of this year and is currently being reviewed. Since companies cannot trademark a name without intending to use it in the relevant category, it appears that Kia has genuine plans to use the Tasman name for an upcoming model. The trademark application covers categories such as automobiles and trucks.
In a recent dealer update, Kia Australia has revealed that it will be introducing its first-ever utility vehicle in the Australian market in 2025.
A source at Kia Australia has previously told Automotive Daily that it in fact intends to launch two utes in Australia by 2025 – one will be an electric ute and the other the diesel ute mentioned last week to dealers around the country.
The company aims to compete with popular models like the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, according to a report by Drive.com.au. Codenamed internally as the ‘TK’ model, Kia’s new ute will be designed to meet the demands of Australian consumers, with a target of 3500kg braked towing capacity, a one-tonne payload, and a four-wheel drive system with low-range transfer case and rear differential lock. Kia’s ute could further offer full-time four-wheel drive, a feature currently only available in the Ford Ranger V6 and Mitsubishi Triton.
Powering the Kia ute will likely be the 2.2-litre diesel engine used in other Kia models such as the Carnival, delivering 148kW and 440Nm of torque. However, there may be a slight increase in power output, potentially reaching around 150kW and over 450Nm. Another potential powertrain option that would make a big impact is the 3.0-litre straight-six diesel turbo engine found in the Genesis GV80, which boasts an impressive 204kW and 588Nm of torque. If chosen, this engine would make Kia’s ute the most powerful diesel option on the market, surpassing even the new Ford Ranger V6 (184kW and 600Nm).
Earlier this year, Kia Corporation announced plans to introduce two all-electric utes as part of its lineup of 17 new electric vehicles by 2030. While Kia Australia has not officially confirmed any of these utes, it is understood that at least one of these electric models will be launched in Australia by 2025.
Both Kia and Hyundai have expressed their interest in entering the dual-cab ute segment for many years to media in Australia – although it has so far only been hot air. While it is unclear whether Hyundai will have its own version of Kia’s ute, there are speculations that Hyundai may introduce a lifestyle-oriented ute, such as the Santa Fe, leaving Kia as the sole competitor in the dual-cab ute market from the larger group.