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Tell midsize trucks to scoot over. They need to make room for the new Kia truck that could be more affordable and efficient than the Toyota Tacoma. The Kia truck will be a rugged force to be reckoned with and you need to take it seriously. 

Is Kia building a truck? 

Yes, Kia is working on two pickup trucks. One Kia truck will be built on a unibody platform and offered as a single cab with a chassis cab option for commercial entities. 

While the Kia ute has our attention, it’s not the model to get overly excited about. This option will be built in Korea and is intended for the global market. It won’t be available in America. 

But the Kia Telluride truck is coming as teasers show one lean and mean truck. The Kia pickup in America could be called the Kia Tasman and is believed to have the ‘TK’ project code name. 

It will have a body-on-frame build and a ladder and frame platform like the Kia Mojave. The Mojave is the Kia Telluride’s twin in global markets, only it’s more capable of off-roading. 

A rendering of the new Kia Tasman truck
Kia Tasman rendering | SRK Design

Kia could be aiming to compete against the Toyota Tacoma and Jeep Gladiator with an affordable option. It will be built in America to get around the expensive 25% chicken tax. 

Going with a mid-size truck is a pretty smart decision to avoid competing with the smaller Hyundai Santa Cruz. Kia can also use the Santa Cruz to build a larger option that’s more popular. 

The Santa Cruz is successfully improving its sales, but it’s not the same slam dunk as the cheaper and more efficient Ford Maverick. 

If Kia delivers a mid-size truck that’s affordable and more efficient than the Toyota Tacoma then it could steal plenty of drivers away from rivals. Rumors suggest that it will start at $30,000 while the 2024 Tacoma starts at $31,500. 

The ute is expected to tow up to 3,500 lbs. The American model will need a bit more muscle to compete. At the bare minimum, it will need to tow up to 6,000 lbs to at least beat the Honda Ridgeline. 

Will the Kia truck be electric? 

The Kia truck may be electric. But the question is which Kia pickup truck will be electrified? The unibody one for global markets or the larger American truck? 

Rumors suggest that the American model will have an internal combustion engine (ICE). But that will probably be only one of the engine options. 

The Kia Telluride Hybrid is expected to debut soon, so the Kia pickup truck could have the same powertrain. Also, a plug-in hybrid model is possible. The new truck could be the first PHEV pickup in the United States. 

While some critics speculate that the truck will share components with the Kia EV9 SUV, that’s a little farfetched. The EV9 uses a different platform while a new platform is expected to carry the Tasman. 

But an eclectic version could arrive by the end of the decade to battle the Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck. 

Also, the global Kia ute could have diesel and electric options. It’s expected to at least start with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel option. It could borrow the 3.8-liter V6 diesel engine with 274 hp and 362 lb-ft of torque. 

It’s expected to be available with a manual and an automatic transmission. The larger truck will probably only have an automatic transmission. 

If the Tasman shares options with the Telluride then it could start with the standard 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. 

The most powerful Tacoma engine is the 2.4-liter hybrid powertrain with 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. 

When will the Kia pickup truck come out? 

The first Kia truck is right around the corner. It could emerge by the end of 2024 and enter production in 2025. However, this timeline is expected for the Kia ute. 

The Kia Tasman or the American model should follow closely behind. It might come out a few months after the Kia Telluride Hybrid debuts. 

To give the Telluride Hybrid some breathing room, the Tasman might not arrive until 2026. Also, Kia plans to release two trucks by 2027 and I hope it doesn’t take that long. 

However, things could be coming at a faster rate. A mid-size truck was spotted in an underground parking garage in South Korea. 

Despite being hidden under camouflage, you could tell that it was a larger Kia truck with a front end that matched the Kia Telluride. If that model is already being tested then it could enter production sooner than expected.