Kia confirmed its global range of SUVs will soon include a Hummer-like off-roader developed primarily for military use. While the model will report for combat in South Korea, it might end up rock crawling in Moab.
Engineers are currently developing the truck, which is described as an open-top all-terrain vehicle (ATV), but they're not starting from scratch. Kia explained the model will be built on a frame borrowed from the Mohave, a civilian SUV that received comprehensive updates in 2019. It probably doesn't ring a bell because it's not sold in the United States, where the biggest member of the company's range is the Telluride. And yet, it's not entirely foreign. It's an evolution of the V8-powered Borrego introduced in America in 2009 and canceled for 2010.
Kia released a rendering that illustrates what the model could look like, and it depicts an off-roader which shares absolutely no styling cues with any member of the firm's current line-up. Don't look for friendly hamsters here. Boxy and tall, it's strongly reminiscent of the AM General Humvee, GM Infantry Squad Vehicle and the Toyota BXD10, which is hardly a surprise and almost inevitable. All of these vehicles were created by following the same basic guidelines.
What soldiers in South Korea will receive is admittedly of little interest to most American enthusiasts, but you might not need to travel across the Pacific to slip behind the wheel. Kia pointed out the lessons it learns from developing the ATV will help it improve the durability of its civilian models. Better yet, the yet-unnamed truck will spawn variants for different industries, including the industrial and leisure sectors. While nothing is official yet, the lucrative leisure segment's gravitational pull is what transformed the Humvee into the Hummer, and what turned the BXD10 into the BXD20, which was also called Mega Cruiser and sold in tiny numbers during the 1990s.
Kia expects the first ATV prototypes will be ready in 2021. Production will start by the middle of the 2020s.
What else is Kia sending to battle?
Simultaneously, the company is developing 2.5- and 5-ton trucks for the South Korean military. Unlike the ATV, they won't be related to series-produced cars built for commuters. Both will be built on a standardized platform to keep development and manufacturing costs in check, and they'll be powered by a 7.0-liter turbodiesel engine bolted to an automatic transmission. Bullet-proof variants of the 5-ton model will be part of the portfolio, too.
Looking ahead, Kia is examining ways its defense division can use new technologies, like hydrogen fuel cells, electric powertrains, and self-driving systems. Fuel cells could notably power emergency generators.
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