Kia Australia has said fleet purchasing requirements are a key reason why it expects its upcoming TK/Tasman ute to receive a five-star safety rating.

    “That was one of the non-negotiables for us,” said Kia Australia product planning manager Roland Rivero.

    “We had to get to a five-star ANCAP [safety rating] because there’s a heavy fleet component for selling utes.”

    Mr Rivero noted many corporations, governments and not-for-profits require vehicles for their fleets to have five-star ANCAP ratings.

    Five-star ratings are also par for the course in the ute segment.

    The Ford Ranger, GWM Ute, Isuzu D-Max, LDV T60, Mazda BT-50, Toyota HiLux and Volkswagen Amarok all offer one, though vehicles like the Mahindra Pik-Up and Nissan Navara are now listed as unrated by ANCAP as their ratings have expired.

    While a five-star rating was a pre-requisite for the new ute, Kia Australia has said the lack of a five-star rating doesn’t preclude it from selling certain vehicles here.

    For example, Mr Rivero said the Picanto and Stonic aren’t going anywhere despite the former having an expired four-star rating and the latter’s five-star rating set to expire at the end of this year.

    A five-star ANCAP rating was one of several requirements for Kia’s new ute.

    Kia has said it has benchmarked the Tasman against the likes of the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux, and it’s set to match the top-selling ute with a braked towing capacity of 3500kg.

    It’s also expected to have a payload of around 1000kg depending on the variant, and feature body-on-frame construction like the majority of utes.

    It’s set to be offered exclusively with turbo-diesel four-cylinder power, at least at first, with no V6, hybrid or plug-in hybrid options confirmed.

    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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