In March 2022, Kia announced plans to introduce not one but two electric pickups by 2027. One will be a "dedicated" model while the other is a "strategic" truck for emerging markets. Reading between the lines, the former could ride on a bespoke EV platform while the other might utilize ICE bones. On top of that, there's a ladder-frame pickup coming sooner than you might think. It's temporarily known as the "Tasman" and will debut in 2024.
Speaking with Australia's Drive magazine, Kia's division Down Under confirmed the world premiere is scheduled to take place at some point next year. Production is programmed to commence at home in South Korea in the first half of 2025, with dealers getting the first trucks in the middle of that year. Meanwhile, there's still testing that needs to be done with work-in-progress prototypes.
The Tasman definitely won't be the "dedicated" ute we mentioned earlier since it'll be available with a diesel engine. It could be the "strategic" pickup by offering both ICE and EV powertrains depending on the market. In diesel guise, it’s said to take the shape of a body-on-frame double cab with a payload capacity of nearly 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) and a tow rating of 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs).
The design remains a mystery as only a handful of test mules have been spotted thus far and all of them appeared to have a modified Mohave body. Previously sold in the United States as the Borrego, the body-on-frame Mohave is still available in select markets where it switched to the second generation (essentially a heavy facelift) in 2019. It remains to be seen whether the Tasman will be a pickup variant of the SUV or an entirely different vehicle.
Drive has learned the automaker’s Australian branch is "heavily involved" in the development phase as the local market will represent one of the key regions for Kia. However, the workhorse – codenamed TK – hasn't been tested in Australia yet but plans to conduct final validation testing next year.