Kia double-cab tougher than Hilux

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The Korean bakkie to conquer all.

Hyundai’s new Santa Cruz bakkie is being keenly anticipated, but the most interesting Korean double-cab might be from Kia.

Although auto shows might never return to their former prominence or attendance, the world of defence has remained committed to doing business in person. At the recent IDEX conference, hosted in the UAE, Kia showed the latest iteration of its modular bakkie platform.

It is called the ‘light tactical cargo truck’ but all you need to know is that this is a Kia double-cab cab that could easily follow, or lead, a Land Cruiser 79 Namib in testing off-road terrain.

The Kia double-cab’s specification takes the best of rugged off-road vehicle design and combines it with some modern upgrades. This is essentially what every Land Cruiser bakkie owner dreams of: a steel ladder frame chassis, with independent suspension at all four wheels.

Powering the Kia ‘light tactical cargo truck’ is a diesel engine of unspecified configuration. Kia has disclosed its power output, at 167 kW, but not the peak torque value. Any diesel engine good for 167 kW should also make more than 500 Nm, by associated calculation.

Ensuring this rugged Kia double-cab has excellent all-terrain traction, is a limited-slip differential. Kia does not confirm whether this is rear axle mounted. We could assume this is a limited-slip centre differential. Driving convenience is provided by an eight-speed automatic transmission.

You obviously can’t buy one of these Kia bakkies (unless you are a government), but it does illustrate that the Koreans could build a very good African-spec double-cab adventure vehicle if they wished. Something more rugged, than a Hilux.

Kia has its roots in military vehicles having first produced them back in the 1970s and still producing vehicles today for the Korean military. The platform underpinning this new double-cab is said to be modular and adaptable, just like many modern vehicle platforms that are used to make passenger cars of varying sizes. With both Kia and Hyundai planning to enter the leisure double-cab market in the next few years, something like this modular architecture could be well-suited to the task.

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