Kia’s long-awaited ute is set to debut with a single, familiar powertrain, according to an overseas report.

    The Korean Car Blog reports the Kia Tasman will launch with the 2.2-litre CRDi turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, which also sees duty in models like the Sorento.

    It says this will produce 148kW of power.

    In the Sorento, this engine produces 148kW of power and 440Nm of torque – the latter of which is down on the likes of the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine in the Toyota HiLux or the 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel in the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok, which produce 500Nm.

    A hybrid option will reportedly follow, and Kia confirmed in 2022 it was working on two electric utes: “a dedicated electric pickup truck and a strategic model for emerging markets”.

    However, The Korean Car Blog doesn’t make note of any six-cylinder option to match the Ranger and Amarok. That’s despite Kia currently offering a Euro 6-compliant 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 in the body-on-frame Mohave SUV, examples of which were used to produce mules for the new ute.

    Elsewhere in the Hyundai Motor Group lineup, Genesis has a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel inline six which was just discontinued from its only application, the GV80 SUV.

    The outlet reports Kia plans to build 120,000 to 130,000 Tasmans annually, which will reportedly be sold in markets such as North America and Europe in addition to Australia.

    The mention of North America is unusual. The US imposes 25 per cent tariffs on imported light commercial vehicles, and brands like Mazda, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen don’t sell their utes there, while Nissan and Toyota produce their utes locally.

    In Australia, Kia is targeting 10 per cent of the light commercial vehicle market – around where the Isuzu D-Max currently sits – with the Tasman set to launch in 2025.

    Spied prototypes show the Tasman will have a live rear axle and what appears to be coil spring suspension, as well as rear disc brakes and a four-wheel drive system with selectable low-range gearing and an automatic 4WD mode suitable for on-pavement driving.

    Kia has said it has benchmarked the Tasman against the likes of the Ranger, and it’s set to match the top-selling ute with a braked towing capacity of 3500kg. It’ll also match its Blue Oval rival with a rear bumper featuring integrated side steps.

    Whether Kia will follow the Ranger in offering a high-performance, baja-ready ute like the Raptor is unclear.

    “You dissect [the ute] category there’s new sections of it that I think every OEM would desire to have a crack at. We’re no different,” said Roland Rivero, Kia Australia’s product planning manager, last year.

    Mr Rivero said last year “lots of visitors have made the trip” to Australia to experience competitors and local conditions.

    A “substantial” amount of work on the ute has been done in Australia, he said, “though a lot of work is ready to go”.

    MORE: Everything Kia

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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