Kia developing body-on-frame pickup

The company said it doesn't want to make a "lifestyle vehicle."

As Hyundai prepares to take on the Honda Ridgeline with a unibody, crossover-based pickup, sister company Kia is in the early stages of developing a tougher, body-on-frame truck aimed at the Ford Ranger, among others.

"Work has begun. We're talking about a dual-cab, a single-cab; what we've requested is the full gambit for the ute, and that includes a dual-cab with diesel and petrol options," said Damien Meredith, the chief operating officer of Kia's Australian division, in an interview with Australian website CarsGuide.

Meredith added the truck will not be a "lifestyle vehicle." It sounds like it's being designed as a genuine off-roader. It will ride on a brand-new platform, but additional details remain under wraps. Sales are scheduled to begin in 2022 or 2023, so we'll learn more about the model over the coming months. We're looking forward to seeing how Kia will apply its ever-evolving design language to a pickup.

There's one big question mark hovering above Kia's yet-unnamed truck: will it be sold in the United States? It sounds to us like Kia is developing as a global model aimed at the aforementioned Ranger, the Tacoma-sized Toyota Hilux, the Volkswagen Amarok, the Mitsubishi L200, and the different variants of the Nissan Navara. Do any of these nameplates ring a bell? If not, it's probably because a majority of them aren't sold in the United States.

Kia expects its truck will be a hit in Australia, where pickups -- or utes, as they're called locally -- rule the sales charts, but time will tell whether it will be available in the United States to compete in the newly rejuvenated midsize truck segment. If it makes it here, don't expect to see it before the 2023 model year at the earliest.

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