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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Almost South Africa certain Kia Tasman shows itself in first teasers

A market introduction has seemingly been set for early 2025.

Having commenced teasing the Tasman just over a month ago, Kia has released the first official teaser images of its debutant bakkie due for unveiling, reportedly, in the latter stages of this year.

Ready but not yet

The Tasman name confirmed two week’s ago in reference to the Tasman Sea that separates Australia and New Zealand as part for development having largely occurred in the former nation, the images shows the production model disguised in a new psychedelic wrap supposed to represent its “adventurous spirit”.

Conceptualised by Richard Boyd-Dunlop, a renowned Australian artist, the wrap, according to Kia, has been influenced “by the untamed beauty of Australia’s diverse landscapes, the unique graphics visualise a journey of inspiration encountered while driving along the coast and across the outback”.

ALSO READ: ‘Secret’ no more as Kia confirms Tasman name for first ever bakkie

Released in an official statement by Kia Australia, the images makes no mention of the Tasman’s interior or choice of powertrains, though it is does provide the clearest hint yet of its final design ever since the emergence of first spy images in 2022.

Known so far

Well-known to ride on a body-on-frame platform most likely shared with the South Korean-only Mohave SUV, the depictions shows the Tasman has having the same look as the all-electric EV9 when viewed from the front, complete with a clamshell bonnet and kinked C-pillar.

Sporting an unusual wheel cladding design, the block-shaped Tasman will, seemingly, be offered initially only as a double cab, though single and cab-and-a-half variants are expected to be added later.

Kia releases official Tasman teaser images
Tasman name on the tailgate of the production model. Image: Kia Australia

As indicated last month, motivation is expected to come from a solitary four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the venerable 2.2-litre R-series that makes 148kW/440Nm in the Sorento and Carnival.

Despite its supposed relations with the Mohave, the Tasman, for the time being, is not expected to offer its sibling’s 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 engine, although it will have a reported payload of 1 000 kg and tow rating of 3 500 kg for a braked trailer.

Kia South Africa speaks

Meanwhile, Kia South Africa has all but confirmed the Tasman for the local market as per the original teaser video earlier this month naming key markets as South Korea, Australia, Middle East and Africa.

“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 on Monday.

“We don’t want it to be like other models which has come with big aspirations but were not able to pull it off.

Having first alluded to the Tasman’s availability four years ago in a response to The Citizen at the debut of the now pre-facelift Seltos, Scott said, “the fact that the Kia brand has taken so long for this product to come into fruition shows that we have big aspirations.

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

“Yes, the Tasman name obviously makes it relevant to Australia, but I think it is just as relevant in South Africa”.

Days before, Kia South Africa General Manager for Marketing, Christo Valentyn, said the country’s involvement with the Tasman shouldn’t be overlooked from a research and feasibility standpoint “as we are a pick-up heavy nation”.

“There is a lot of institutional experiences about these types of products and we (as Kia South Africa) have working closely with our Middle East office in terms of available specification and drivetrains that makes up the product,” Valentyn told The Citizen at the facelift Seltos’ launch in the Western Cape last week.

Mentioning the Middle East as per Kia South Africa falling under the so-called Africa-Middle East region, Valentyn said, “they are very much aware of what the needs are in South Africa and they very good understanding of the South African landscape.

Kia releases official Tasman teaser images
Imposing Tasman will, for the moment, be offered solely as a double cab. Image: Kia Australia.

“Those two factors play a massive role in our market. 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 still to way early to make a call [regarding specification]”.

Asked about the expected timeline of the Tasman’s arrival should approval be given, Valentyn said, “the global reveal will either be later this year or early next year with manufacturing set to commence shortly.

“Naturally there is process involving test models and homologation, and then you have to build a range that you can position comparatively. But, if all things work out the way they are supposed to, it is a likely introduction for 2025, but not earlier than that”.

More soon

Reported back in 2021 as having been cancelled, only for the mentioned spy images to emerge later, more details are likely to be released within the coming months now that the official teaser campaign has kicked-off.

ALSO READ: Kia starts throwing hints new bakkie will indeed be called Tasman

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