Kia Asks You to Please Disregard Sightings of Its First Pickup Truck

Reports of the Kia Tasman’s U.S. debut are greatly exaggerated, the brand says.

byNico DeMattia|


Kia is currently working on its first-ever pickup truck, something to compete with the midsize Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux in many markets around the world. It's called the Tasman, but it's not due to be sold in the United States—which makes it all the more curious why recent spy photos and videos have depicted it cruising around the Mojave Desert. What is it doing here?

"At this time, Kia America does not have any official announcements related to the Tasman, despite reports of a prototype undergoing testing in the U.S.," a representative of the automaker told Carscoops. "It’s important to note that Kia’s California Proving Grounds is located in the Mojave Desert, serving as a vital hub for R&D and evaluating Kia vehicles, including those meant for global markets. The Tasman testing at this facility does not imply plans for its sale in the U.S. market."

In other words, Kia wants to stress that there's nothing to see here, and you won't soon be cross-shopping a Tasman against a Hyundai Santa Cruz or Honda Ridgeline in the not-too-distant future—at least, not this side of the Pacific.

In a recent spy video, the Kia Tasman was wearing heavy camouflage and fake body cladding to disguise its design, obscuring much of it. However, Kia has also released official camouflaged photos of its own, showing off more of the Tasman's boxy design, albeit behind an artsy wrap. This wrap was created by New Zealand-based artist Richard Boyd-Dunlop, who went for an art car-style, Australian-themed design, since the truck is named after Tasmania, the island state of Australia.

@eftm Inside the KIA TASMAN ute! First video as some lads post the first video of inside the first big Korean Ute for Australia #leak #exclusive #sneak #mule #test #kia #tasman #eftm ♬ original sound -

From what we can see in those official photos, the Tasman looks like a combination of the Kia EV9 and the Rivian R1T. In terms of size, it seems to compare favorably to the Toyota Tacoma, which would make it perfect for the global market, where full-size pickups are less common. Powertrains haven't been revealed yet, but the Tasman is likely to receive Hyundai/Kia's typical familial engines, like the 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Santa Cruz and the 3.8-liter V6 from the Kia Telluride.

A TikTok video shows off the interior of the Tasman up close, and it's surprisingly unique from anything else in Kia's stable. It has a chunky steering wheel befitting a pickup truck, a mesh-like dashboard trim, unique door panels, loads of center console storage, and a similar infotainment touchscreen as the EV9.

Kia is telling us to disregard the Tasman's U.S. cameo, because that doesn't mean it's coming here. However, the company didn't strictly say it wasn't coming here, either. And if the Ram Rampage is still due to make the trip north across the border, anything's possible.

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