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Could a Kia pickup truck be in the cards?


With every automaker rapidly expanding its lineup of trucks and SUVs, it wouldn’t come as a surprise. Kia recently just expanded its off-road-capable lineup with the launch of the Telluride, a vehicle that has inspired this artists rendering.



With Kia’s sister-company Hyundai looking to get into the compact pickup segment with the Santa Cruz, Kia wouldn’t want to compete. Instead, it would move up-market and up in size, with Telluride-based mid-size pickup. Similar in design to the Honda Ridgeline or the previewed Volkswagen Tanoak concept, the Telluride pickup would be a unibody construction and feature the same all-wheel drive system as the SUV, with power defaulting to the front axle, but with the ability for an AWD lock at speeds under 40 mph.

More Pictures And Details Here: Kia Pickup Truck Previewed
 

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That might be interesting if they made a PHEV version that got decent economy, but they don't seem to be talking about that. Also, the Ridgeline design gives a tiny bed that makes it hard to carry even an 8' 2x4. Now if they were styling it along the lines of an older extended cab Tacoma and it got great economy, that would get my full attention.
 

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I'm going to open a can of worms:
Any truck with a bed shorter than 8 ft should be a separate class of vehicle.
Pickup trucks are work trucks and should accommodate tools and material. A standard sheet of plywood, or drywall are 4x8 and should fit in the back.
Anything shorter is a toy, pretending to be a truck.
I'm not saying people shouldn't be buying them, just that they're not work trucks.
 

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I had a 2004 Tacoma with a 6' bed and while that was 2' shorter than you're suggesting, it was really versatile. If I flopped down the tailgate, it was almost 8'. I could haul boards from the lumber yard that were 16' long if I planned it right (a few 12' boards underneath, and something heavy like a bag of cement on top of the boards up behind the cab, or ropes to tie it down). It was only a 4-cylinder, so my legal towing capacity was limited to 2500 pounds, but in low range 4wd I could back a 3000 pound boat/trailer up a gravel driveway without spinning the tires. Throw a cap on it and I could pack a week's worth of beer and groceries and camping equipment for 4 voracious guys .


I do miss that truck. Where it disappointed me was on the fuel economy: I would struggle to get 20 MPG, especially since most of my trips were short. In the winter I often only got 16 MPG.


Toyota pioneered the hybrid (in the Prius) and they poured a ton of money into it, but they seem to think that their Tacoma buyers have different values and don't care so much about fuel economy. It would be great if Kia or someone could tap into that same market and demonstrate how many Tacoma fans would appreciate a more fuel efficient pickup truck.
 

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I had a 2004 Tacoma with a 6' bed and while that was 2' shorter than you're suggesting, it was really versatile. If I flopped down the tailgate, it was almost 8'. I could haul boards from the lumber yard that were 16' long if I planned it right (a few 12' boards underneath, and something heavy like a bag of cement on top of the boards up behind the cab, or ropes to tie it down). It was only a 4-cylinder, so my legal towing capacity was limited to 2500 pounds, but in low range 4wd I could back a 3000 pound boat/trailer up a gravel driveway without spinning the tires. Throw a cap on it and I could pack a week's worth of beer and groceries and camping equipment for 4 voracious guys .


I do miss that truck. Where it disappointed me was on the fuel economy: I would struggle to get 20 MPG, especially since most of my trips were short. In the winter I often only got 16 MPG.


Toyota pioneered the hybrid (in the Prius) and they poured a ton of money into it, but they seem to think that their Tacoma buyers have different values and don't care so much about fuel economy. It would be great if Kia or someone could tap into that same market and demonstrate how many Tacoma fans would appreciate a more fuel efficient pickup truck.

I agree with you. I can't figure Toyota's thought process out. After the Prius you think they would have a hybrid version of the Tacoma, they have a hybrid Rav-4. And you think they would have had a hybrid mini-van years ago like the Estima in Japan. When my kids were home I would have bought one of those in a second.
 

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I had a 2004 Tacoma with a 6' bed and while that was 2' shorter than you're suggesting, it was really versatile. If I flopped down the tailgate, it was almost 8'.
Yep, a 6' bed is definitely still a real pickup. I have a regular cab, short bed Dodge Ram 1500 that I absolutely love. I can carry 4x8 plywood just by dropping the tailgate, I can carry 2 cubic yards of mulch in it, like you I've hauled longer lumber with it as well.

The problem with a blanket statement like this:

I'm going to open a can of worms:
Any truck with a bed shorter than 8 ft should be a separate class of vehicle.
Pickup trucks are work trucks and should accommodate tools and material. A standard sheet of plywood, or drywall are 4x8 and should fit in the back.
Anything shorter is a toy, pretending to be a truck.
I'm not saying people shouldn't be buying them, just that they're not work trucks.
Is that it excludes excellent trucks like the Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger both of which are smaller but perfectly serviceable work trucks.

I do agree that vehicles like the Honda Ridgeline, Cadillac Escalade EXT and this Kia are not real trucks but basically just SUVs with the third row of seats cut out.
 

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I can get 8' boards in my Niro...that doesn't make it a truck.

If this new truck is a truck, and not a mini-van with the back cut open (hint...Honda Ridgeline), and comes in a short cab, short bed configuration, I would buy one.

Almost guarrantee that there will never again be a short cab, short bed pickup truck built. Bigger is always better, just not to me.
 

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Likely any hybrid pickup truck will have a strong drivetrain like a performance hybrid. Probably wouldn't be cost effective and very small market for such a vehicle. Pure EV pickups would have the advantage.
 

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First, I apologize for typing while exhausted last night. It didn't come across the way I thought it would.

My general reference was towards the "toy" trucks like Ridgeline, Subaru Baja, and the one KIA is introducing among others.

Yes, I know there are solid, smaller pickups out there that do the job required.

I grew up with solid heavy duty trucks in the yard, and that was the attitude I heard whenever someone from the city came by with a "toy".

I almost cringe at what my Dad would say if he saw my Niro.
 

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First, I apologize for typing while exhausted last night. It didn't come across the way I thought it would.

My general reference was towards the "toy" trucks like Ridgeline, Subaru Baja, and the one KIA is introducing among others.

Yes, I know there are solid, smaller pickups out there that do the job required.

I grew up with solid heavy duty trucks in the yard, and that was the attitude I heard whenever someone from the city came by with a "toy".

I almost cringe at what my Dad would say if he saw my Niro.

No worries man, I don't think any of us took offense at your comment. In fact I agree with you both in principle and in spirit. There is definitely a divide between trucks and "trucks". My short bed, regular cab Ram 1500 is a 1997 with ~120,000 on the clock. It's the definition of a beater. The paint is typical '90s Chrysler, faded and peeling. There's a hole in the quarter panel that I've sprayed with rust converting primer and just left for over a year. The bed is always full of some project stuff or another. I wouldn't trade it for anything. All of it's issues are cosmetic, mechanically, it's a tank. It's got a 360 cubic inch V8 (it seems somehow wrong to refer to an engine designed in the US in the 60's as a 5.9L) and gets 14mpg no matter if it's empty or hauling bags of concrete. It's literally the perfect truck for me. :D

Compare to any of the "trucks" you mention, those might, at best, have a cooler in the back. Not the same thing at all.
 

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I did look at trucks before deciding on the Niro. The deciding factor...dealer didn't want to give me enough money for my Kia Sedona so it became my work truck. I can fit 2 x 10 and close the hatch. It became my work vehicle when I have projects or need to move items. At one time I put a double rocker recliner in it and still could close the back. I'm not sure what is the point of having a truck with a short bed unless you are not really using it for work. There's alot of competition in the truck segment and I believe it would would be difficult for them to compete unless they really bring something innovative and that is cost effective to run and the price is considerably cheaper than Ford, RAM, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, or Nissan.
 

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When you really get down to it, most people that own a truck or a “truck” really don’t use the bed very often at all. The construction trades being one of a few exceptions. My wife has a 2017 crew cab short bed Ram 1500 and rarely do we use the bed. We use the Ram boxes on the side of the bed at least twice a week though.

When you don’t have a truck, you make do with what you do have. My wife used to tell me that her old Honda Civic was the best SUV she has ever owned, because she used it like it was an SUV. Be it bricks for flower garden trim or 10 bags of mulch/soil. You make do with what you have.

So in that respect, it makes sense why auto manufacturers are getting away from 8’ beds. People would rather have a truck that rides like a car, drives like an SUV, and has 29 cup holders instead of a truck that can work, and have longevity while doing so. It’s just the way our society is changing.



Give me a small, regular cab or extended cab truck with a diesel engine in it and an 8’ bed and I’d be happy.
 
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