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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Diesel V6 officially out for Kia Tasman as ‘sibling’ faces the axe

Reported end of the Mohave SUV confirms previous reports that the Tasman will be an four-cylinder diesel affair only.

Kia’s only body-on-frame SUV, rumoured to provide the underpinnings for the upcoming Tasman bakkie, is reportedly set for discontinuing within the next two months over its age and tumbling sales.

End of an era

Once sold in North America, but marketed in its current second generation guise since 2019 solely in South Korea, the diesel engine Mohave won’t only be phased-out in nameplate and bodystyle, but also mechanically in light of apparent more stringent emissions regulations.

Used in no other Kia model, the Mohave has derived motivation, since its debut, from a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine pumping out 191kW/560Nm.

ALSO READ: Almost South Africa certain Kia Tasman shows itself in first teasers

Hooked to a six-speed automatic gearbox, the unit has been long rumoured for Tasman given the supposed platform sharing as opposed to Kia’s opting for a unibody architecture that underpins sister brand Hyundai’s Santa Cruz in the United States.

Citing a report from South Korea’s etnews.com, drive.com.au reports that production of Mohave will cease in July as a means of freeing up production at the Hwaseong Plant for assembly of the Tasman next year.

Axe set to come down on Kia Mohave and V6 diesel engine
Mohave came with seating for five, six or seven. Image: Kia South Korea

Reportedly, Mohave sales have remained low with only 257 units sold last month, despite it having been the personal project of former Kia President and now Hyundai CEO, Chung Eui-sun, ever since the first generation that lasted from 2008 to 2019 under the Mohave name and as the Borrego in North America.

According to drive.com, total Mohave sales in 2023 amounted to 5 023 units, a drop from the alleged 20 000 moved in 2020 after the second generation’s debut.

Axe set to come down on Kia Mohave and V6 diesel engine
Interior would most likely have had little impact on the Tasman. Image: Kia South Korea

With the Mohave’s departure, the door closes on the chances of the Tasman receiving a six-cylinder engine fellow outlet, The Korean Car Blog, reported in March had been decided against in favour of the venerable R-series 2.2-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder used in the Sorento and Carnival.

A report that now seems to have pre-dated the Mohave’s ending, the etnews.com claims doesn’t specify whether the Mohave’s axing would have any bearing on the Tasman’s platform, nor does it state whether an entirely new architecture had to be constructed without any reliance or parts sharing.

Coming to rival Hilux, Ranger and D-Max

Although only due to enter production in early 2025 as indicated, the Tasman is still set to make its formal unveiling by year-end, with sales planned for South Korea, and then the key market of Australia where most of the development work had occurred.

Named after the Tasman Sea that separates Australia and New Zealand, the EV9-inspired Tasman has been confirmed for South Africa, but only from next year with exact details to be revealed once a global launch date emerges.

Kia releases official Tasman teaser images
Tasman has all but received approval for South Africa. Image: Kia Global

“Where we position the Tasman will be very important. We need to show respect to the bakkie market in South Africa in determining where it will fit in,” Kia South Africa CEO, Gary Scott, told The Citizen on the sidelines of the facelift Picanto launch in Cape Town last month.

“The fact that the Kia brand has taken so long for this product to come to fruition shows that we have big aspirations. Yes, the Tasman name obviously makes it relevant to Australia, but I think it is just as relevant in South Africa”.

Kia releases official Tasman teaser images
Tailgate image confirming the Tasman name. Image: Kia Global

Asked about the Tasman days before at the reveal of the facelift Seltos in the Mother City, Kia South Africa General Manager for Marketing, Christo Valentyn, said, “There have been multiple entrants in [the bakkie segment] and you can see from their success or lack thereof, that it is a tough segment to enter.

“[However], we remain cautiously optimistic that the product, from an engineering and mechanical perspective, will be more than suitable for the country, however, it is still way too early to make a call [regarding specification]”.

More details soon

Teased for the first time last year, expectations are that more images, and information, will become apparent within the coming months until an official date of unveiling is approved.

NOW READ: REPORT: Kia Tasman will debut initially only with four-cylinders