Kia has confirmed one of motoring’s worst kept secrets, with the help of some Australian sporting icons.

    Yes, its new dual-cab ute rival to the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux is coming to Australia. The ute will be revealed late in 2024, with the first Australian deliveries taking place in 2025.

    “Kia Australia has always been very candid about our desire to bring a Light Commercial Vehicle to the local market, so it is with great excitement that we are taking an important step towards it becoming a reality,” Kia Australia CEO Damien Meredith said in a statement.

    “We are now officially taking Expressions of Interest (EOI) on the Kia Australia website, for both private and fleet customers, and we invite all ute-loving Australians to sign up and join us on the journey.”

    “As an incentive, the EOI group will be kept up to date of the latest news and developments from now, right up until its Australian launch in 2025.”

    “This includes an extensive local ride and handling program, covering tens of thousands of unrelenting Aussie kilometres, to ensure it meets the hard-working requirements of the Aussie public.”

    And based on the cryptic ad, rumours suggesting it’ll be called the Tasman are bang on the money.

    How do we know? Check out the dart at 56 seconds landing square on the Tasman Sea, and the carefully cropped hotel name at the end of the commercial.

    That’s bad news for the cast of sporting heroes vying for a gig instead, which range from Australian Open winner Ash Barty to AFL legend Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin.

    Here’s what else we know about the Tasman:

    • The ute is known internally as “TK”
    • Kia engineers have used Australia as a test bed for the ute
    • It’s been benchmarked against the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux
    • Power will come from a diesel engine

    The ute is one of two utes coming from Kia. The other will be a dedicated electric model.

    We’re expecting a braked towing capacity of 3500kg, and a payload around the 1000kg mark depending on the variant. It’ll be a ladder frame vehicle, rather than a softer SUV-derived model like the Hyundai Santa Cruz offered in the USA.

    According to leaked dealer information, engineers from Kia head office have been flown to Australia “on multiple occasions” to experience competitors and local conditions, so you can expect the ute to be well-tailored to our roads.

    Would you buy a Kia ute instead of a Toyota, Ford, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, or Mazda?

    MORE: Dealer leak gives us our best idea yet about the new Kia ute

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers