Kia wants to play in the big leagues around the world
SUV would offer more towing, more capability off-road
Kia is reportedly continuing to expand its lineup around the world, taking on segments where you would never have expected the Korean brand to compete even five years ago. The latest is said to take on one of the world’s biggest icons of SUVs, the Toyota Land Cruiser and the slightly smaller Land Cruiser Prado.
The Kia Telluride offers some seriously rugged SUV looks, but while it can tow 5,000 lbs and handle moderate off-pavement driving, much of the world wants more. It’s also not available in right-hand drive. The higher towing capacity and go-anywhere capability that Toyota’s biggest off-roaders offer. Now Motoring Australia says that Kia is planning to offer a model that can do that job.
Expected to be based on the platform that will underpin Kia’s upcoming compact pickup, the brand is likely to be going directly after the Land Cruiser (also sold here as the Lexus LX) and the Prado (which is better known as the Lexus GX in Canada). That means a low-range gearbox for crawling, as well as locking differentials, loads of ground clearance, and everything else needed to make a vehicle a serious Land Cruiser competitor.
The report expects it to be sold in markets like Australia and the Middle East, where the Land Cruisers outsell the Highlander crossover (badged Kluger in Australia) with hopes of it eclipsing the Kia Sorento in the same fashion.
“The Australian market, the way they look at upper large SUVs are looking into LandCruiser or Prado territory and a ladder-frame SUV has specific capabilities, in off-road ability and towing capacity, that your monocoques just aren’t designed to deliver,” said Kia Australia planning boss Roland Rivero.
“If you did want to penetrate that particular segment, you’d have to have an offering closer to a ladder frame vehicle. Or if not, if it was alongside a large SUV, in that it was say built off a ute platform, they could achieve a similar result. So it’d be a nice to have, if we had a ladder-frame SUV,” he said.
What would power such a vehicle? A likely candidate is the new inline-six diesel that arrived in the Genesis GV80 and is expected to become available in other Hyundai Group models.