The Kia Tasman pickup tested in the United States

The Kia Tasman pickup tested in the United States

Although Kia said the Tasman would be its first global truck, it did not confirm the model would be sold in the United States. Officially, at least for now, this only concerns South Korea, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. Interestingly, a new spy video shows the mid-size pickup being tested on American soil. Wearing Michigan plates, a heavily camouflaged prototype was captured in California.

It is not uncommon for an automaker to test a future vehicle in a country where it does not intend to sell the product. But what if the Tasman came to the United States after all? If not built in the Georgia factory, we estimate a high asking price after factoring in the chicken tax. This is a 25 percent tariff on light trucks imported into the United States. This measure dates back to the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, initially imposed in 1964.

The separate video attached and posted on Tic Tac shows another Tasman prototype in Australia. This one is also covered in camouflage, but someone apparently had the key and was able to unlock the truck and climb inside. The interior probably belongs to a high-end version judging by the generous amount of equipment: memory seats, sunroof, dual screen, ambient lighting and wireless charger.

You’ll also notice the gear selector on the steering column and the left-hand drive layout, even though Australia is a right-hand drive market. The interior appears to be inspired by that of the EV9, but seems to be a little more robust with those big door handles. The black honeycomb mesh of the dashboard conceals the air vents which can be controlled via large buttons. Although it is a double cab, other body styles will be available, including a single cab and chassis cab.

The Ford Ranger rival truck has reportedly been spotted in the Sydney metropolitan area, likely to be shown behind closed doors to dealers ahead of its launch next year. Kia intends to sell this workhorse in 4×4 and 4×2 configurations with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rumor has it that a GT derivative with a V-6 is also under consideration. An all-electric Tasman is reportedly planned for launch in late 2026.

Meanwhile, the world premiere is expected to take place before the end of 2024. It is worth noting that the Tasman will be a larger ladder-chassis truck than the unibody Hyundai Santa Cruz. It will take on not only the Ranger but also the Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Amarok.



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