What appears to be a rugged body-on-frame Kia ute development vehicle has been spied again during testing in South Korea.
Like in photos taken last year, the front of the Kia ute seems be taken directly from the Mohave SUV.
In these pictures, first published by Autospy, we can see the distinctive headlights and grille of the rugged SUV under the protective disguise, as well as its prominent rounded fenders, although this prototype misses out on the Mohave’s plastic wheel arch protectors.
The wing mirrors are also shared with the Mohave, while the front doors look similar, albeit without the glossy black plastic window frames.
At Kia’s 2022 investor day in May last year, the brand confirmed it was working on two pickup trucks. One will be based on the E-GMP EV architecture, while the second will use an internal combustion engine (ICE) platform and will be targeted primarily at emerging markets.
The Mohave, also known as the Borrego, made its debut way back in 2008, and like the first-generation Sorento, it had an off-road-friendly ladder frame setup.
The 4.9m-long SUV was available with V6 and V8 petrol engines, but nowadays is sold exclusively with a 189kW 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel.
In 2019 the Mohave, now primarily sold in South Korea, gained a dramatic facelift with a redesign of the front and rear, as well as an all-new interior.
It’s unclear if this ute will use an upgraded version of the Mohave’s 15-year old ladder frame underpinnings, or whether it will be something new. Given the ute’s focus on emerging markets, it seems the former may be likely, in order to keep costs down.
On a speculative level, it’s possible this ute may be offered with one of Hyundai-Kia’s four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines in order to make it price competitive.
The Mohave in its current iteration is 4930mm long, 1920mm wide, 1790mm tall, and rides on a 2895mm wheelbase. Judging from the photos we’ve seen far, it’s probably safe to say this ute will be significantly longer head to tail, and employ a stretched wheelbase.
With the Mohave pitched as Kia’s flagship SUV in South Korea, the brand may also position its new ute as competitor for the more luxurious variants of Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton, and others.
In Korea, Mohave pricing ranges from ₩50,500,000 ($59,000) to ₩63,100,000 ($73,700). By comparison, the slightly smaller Sorento range stretches from ₩30,580,000 ($35,700) to ₩51,930,000 ($60,600).
We don’t know much about this ute from an Australian perspective, other than to say Kia’s local division would no doubt be keen to bring it here when the production model eventually emerges.