Having nailed the crossover segment, Kia is considering something much more rugged.
Kia has been on a roll with its SUVs this year, with strong salesof models like the Sorento, Sportage, and Telluride in the US. It's no surprise considering how capable these vehicles are; for instance, the Kia Telluride ranks at #1 on our current lists of the Best 8-seater SUVs and the Best V6 SUVs.
However, what all these models have in common is their unibody construction. Kia doesn't offer an SUV with ladder-frame construction, but it appears that a vehicle like this - potentially sized to compete with the mighty Toyota Land Cruiser - could now be in the cards. It's not the first time that Kia has hinted at producing more off-road-focused vehicles.
As carsales reports, Kia Australia's product planning chief Roland Rivero spoke about the brand's desire to develop such a vehicle without explicitly confirming anything. Pointing to the Land Cruiser and Prado sold in other markets, which are popular in Australia, Rivero said that monocoques simply aren't designed to deliver the improved off-road prowess and increased towing abilities of these vehicles.
"Our desire, if we were to bring in an upper-large SUV, would be a ladder-frame execution," he said. Rivero also suggested that an SUV like this could be built off a truck platform. A potential debut in 2023 was mentioned, too. Other SUVs with body-on-frame construction that the Kia could compete with include the Ford Expedition and GMC Yukon.
It would be an interesting move for Kia, which has a solid reputation for comfortable crossovers that excel on-road but doesn't have anything to take on the Land Cruisers and Land Rovers of the world. The move towards more rugged vehicles like the large SUV follows the news that Kia is also developing a pickup truck to take on the Ford Ranger.
Hyundai is doing the same and its Santa Cruz pickup has already been spied testing. Although both the truck and rugged, large SUV segments would be uncharted territory for the Koreans, we'd be looking over our shoulder if we were Toyota or Ford.