It’s already been a pretty wild year for Kia with the release of the Kia Seltos and Kia Telluride. However, it may not be wild enough because Kia is reportedly open to creating body-on-frame SUVs aimed at the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition.
Kia SUVs might get bigger
Lorenz Glaab, the head of Hyundai global product management, shared that creating a larger SUV for Hyundai and Kia is thinkable from a brand perspective. But what makes sense in what region and with which particular concept model remains to be seen.
Hyundai and Kia are cousins that sell the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. They are two very similar three-row SUVs that compete against larger, more rugged options such as the Chevy Tahoe, Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Expedition, and more.
Only there’s one major problem. These SUVs have a body-on-frame design. Meaning they can’t go off-roading like their rivals can. The 2020 Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade need to be 4×4 capable to leave the pavement behind.
This leads to the second problem. Kia and Hyundai don’t have suitable underpinnings to build a new body-on-frame SUV on. The Chevy Tahoe and Ford Explorer both have truck frames to build on.
Is a Kia or Hyundai truck coming?
According to Autoblog, Kia requested a bigger and more rugged SUV earlier in 2020. They also reported that Damien Meredith, the chief operating officer for the Kia Australian division, said he wanted one or two larger SUVs and confirmed a new Kia pickup truck that could rival the Ford Ranger. That platform could be used to underpin an SUV.
We already know that the Hyundai Santa Cruz is in the works, but it’s a much smaller truck. It could also have a unibody frame, which would defeat the purpose of a larger, more capable Hyundai SUV.
Powertrain specifications for two new SUVs are unknown. It’s safe to expect that the vehicles will come standard with rear-wheel drive with the option to pay more for four-wheel drive. But to keep up with rivals, the new Kia SUV will need more torque for towing power.
We could see the 3.0-liter turbodiesel straight-six turbo engine appear along with a two-speed transfer case for off-roading. This engine was developed for the Genesis GV80. To keep up with the modern times and rivals, Kia and Hyundai will need to consider a hybrid powertrain option as well.
But the Kia Borrego and Hyundai Galloper failed
This isn’t the first time that the Kia and Hyundai cousins have tried crafting a larger, more rugged SUV. Do you remember the Kia Borrego? The Borrego made its American debut in 2009 and was gone by 2010.
This could be because gas prices were very high at the time, and the Kia Borrego only got 15 mpg. The Kia Borrego is still being sold in other countries as the Kia Mohave.
The Hyundai Galloper was released in 1991 as an alternative option to the Mitsubishi Pajero. It had a two-door and four-door variant. This was a seven-passenger SUV that lasted until 2003. The Galloper II is still available in international markets as a Jeep Wrangler alternative.