An all-new Kia bakkie will be on the road by 2025
Kia will very soon unleash a one-ton bakkie and double cab range to take on the likes of Hilux and Ranger, et al. An increasing number of Kia bakkie test mules have been snapped around Korean suburbia, as if they want people to photograph and share them.
Expect this all-new Kia bakkie by 2025
The scantily disguised prototypes clearly show their Kia logos. Images further reveal that the bodywork from the B pillars forward comes straight off the home market Kia Mojave SUV. A sensible bet, considering that the Fortuner and Everest rival Mojave has a body on frame chassis necessary to take on the Hilux, Ranger and the rest.
That means the bakkie will look just like the sport ute, which is what we have based , our exclusive Auto renderings on. All this also ties into messages Kia is sending its dealers about a bakkie they will soon be able to fight the best with. Kia sources suggest that the bakkie will already be on sale by late next year, or early 2025, depending on the market.
The spy photos show a long wheelbase . a very long load bay and extreme rear overhang. Knowing the constraints that would have on parking dimensions in obvious target markets, never mind 4×4 departure angles and handling on tow, we’d say that’s just extra disguise to add to the allure. So, we’d bet on something closer to our sketches.
Kia bakkie will benefit an imposing stance
The prototypes’ wheelbase appears way longer than the Mojave SUV. That in order to match or better the new stretched Ranger’s 3270 mm. A bit of a limit on the break-over angles, but good for a roomy cabin and a Euro Palette gobbling load bay. Both those aspects are necessities for modern ‘midrange trucks.’ So, expect a broad and imposing stance.
Technical spec will remain secret so until launch. That said, however, the Kia bakkie is expected the offer the choice of three or four powertrains. Starting with the 148 kW 440 Nm 2.2-litre Genesis Smartstream turbodiesel four-cylinder likely to be massaged to deliver closer to 170 kW and 600 Nm to fight Hilux at the top end, and a bit less in base bakkies.
Two more probabilities include a 205 kW 590 Nm 3-litre straight six turbodiesel, and a 206 kW 2.5-litre turbo petrol . Most models will turning an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with a 6-speed manual likely in workhorses and more basic models.
Expect petrol, diesel, hybrid and even an EV
Talk of a 410 kW 800 Nm dual-motor EV variant with a competitive 3400 kg braked towing is gaining pace. It will allegedly be fed by a 123 kWh battery pack with a range of up to 450 km. 800V architecture should enable DC fast charging at up to 250kW.
That eight-speed automatic transmission is a likely choice in both RWD and 4×4 formats. Expect the SUV’s double wishbone front suspension to carry over, with a live axle to replace the multilink rear end. Dealer chatter promises class-leading loadability. Which means at least a one-tonne payload and 3.5-tonne braked towing for combustion models too.
“A Kia pick-up truck would be a perfect fit for the brand,” Kia design boss Karim Habib promises. “I would welcome it with open arms. “In fact, I’d love to design a pick-up.”
“A Kia bakkie will be a rude shock”
“I’d love to sell utes and a Kia ute would be a rude shock for Hilux and Ranger,” Outspoken Kia Australia boss Damien Meredith added . “Let me tell you, and this from someone who has had his arse kicked a few times for lots of things, I know it will kick arse!” All of which applies to equally South Africa.
Kia is of course already successful in the local workhorse market. It has a loyal client base through its hugely popular forward control K2700 in South Africa. A conventional ladder frame bakkie and double cab range would simply slip in above its existing product and handled by Kia’s established and experienced pickup truck infrastructure.
A Kia bakkie, never mind a possible Hyundai equivalent, would be huge news in South Africa, where double cabs are the staple diet. Would a Kia bakkie be up to talking on King Hilux and its existing pretenders Ranger, D-Max, Triton, Navara and the rest? Watch this space! – Michele Lupini
Sketches: Michele Lupini