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Kia Australia wants Mohave-style ladder-frame SUV

By Alex Rae, 15 Aug 2019 News

Kia Australia wants Mohave-style ladder-frame SUV

Local arm says it’s pining for a ladder-frame SUV to join its new dual-cab ute

Kia has already told us it has a new ladder-frame dual-cab ute coming to Australia, but it has also lodged interest in a sibling wagon to tackle rivals such as the Isuzu MUX, Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner.

The rugged SUV would be based on the same body-on-frame platform that the South Korean manufacturer is apparently developing for a ute, due to land here around 2022, with a wagon offshoot still in the business-case stages.

Speaking to Wheels last month, Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith said it wanted a robust SUV in its line-up.

“That’s been on our wishlist but something that hasn't been really discussed with KMC,” he said, adding that it could not be the Telluride, as it is also not tough enough for our market.

“The Telluride out of the Georgia [USA] factory is left-hand drive only and cannot be developed for right hand drive. It essentially is the Sorrento platform and is a monocoque and at this stage no [it can’t be developed].

“There are many plans for the future ladder-frame platform and it’s under study at the moment on what essentially could be the platform for the group for the future pickup if it is developed,” he added.

That does not leave many possibilities for a suitable vehicle for Australia at this stage, which could only be the Kia Mohave unveiled by the company overnight or a new model yet to be seen in any form.

While the facelifted model pictured is yet to be detailed, the previous Mohave is underpinned by a ladder-frame chassis and four-wheel-drive system, equipped with a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel that was claimed to produce up to 255kW and 560Nm through a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission. It’d be quite the compelling contender against four-cylinder rival SUVs, and if equipped to the new ute, it would go up against the most powerful V6 turbo diesels from Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz.

Kia’s new Mohave will go on sale in South Korea next month with more details to come.