The red-hot “right-size” pickup segment is set to burst in the next few years and Kia wants in.
We didn’t think it would take this long but now it seems that Kia will have its own small-midsize pickup in the ring come 2022. The Hyundai Santa Cruz concept hit the auto show floor some four years ago already and it too is headed for production.
In the latest round of new stories pertaining to the Korean pickups, one thing seems clear-ish: The Santa Cruz will not look like the concept but more like a pickup version of the latest Santa Fe and Palisade. As for the Kia, pictures on the web suggest it might borrow heavily from the new Kia Tellluride.
In a conversation with Carsguide, Damien Meredith, Kia Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, reported that work and development on the Kia pickup was already well underway. There are scarcely any more details surrounding the Hyundai and Kia ‘utes other than they will arrive roughly at the same time, sometime between 2022 and 2023.
What we don’t know for certain is if they will be offered in North America. Hyundai has hinted that the Santa Cruz will come but this might not be the case for the Kia equivalent. The US and Canada are strong markets for trucks but the Honda Ridgeline, the pickup that could be most closely compared to the Koreans for its capabilities and overall design, could never be considered a runaway success. This may explain why only one of the two might hit our shores.
One way or the other, given that both will share heavily in components and design, should the segment experience a massive boom, sending the Kia alternative our way won’t be a huge stretch.