SEOUL - It’s no secret that Hyundai and Kia are working on a pair of one-tonne bakkie contenders that will rival the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.
These upcoming pick-ups are of course not to be confused with the unibody Santa Cruz, which is set to be built in the United States on Tucson underpinnings. Instead we’re looking at a proper body-on-frame bakkie in multiple configurations and with a braked towing capacity of at least three tonnes.
Hyundai’s new one-tonner will be primarily aimed at the Australian market, and although it has yet to be officially confirmed for South Africa, it is an almost certain candidate for local introduction, with Hyundai SA openly admitting that it has been lobbying for such a vehicle for a very long time.
At this stage it’s unclear exactly when the new Hyundai bakkie - or its Kia cousin - will emerge, but Hyundai’s former Australian boss JW Lee told CarsGuide that the company is aiming for a 2023 introduction. However the production facility has yet to be cast in stone.
Although the engine range has yet to be confirmed, there is good reason to believe that the new bakkie will offer the option of V6 diesel power. This would be a no-brainer as there are currently two power units that Hyundai could consider.
The first is a 3-litre V6 CRDi diesel unit that was introduced a decade ago and fitted to the Kia Borrego and Hyundai ix55 SUVs. This engine is more than competitive in terms of outputs, with 184kW and 471Nm on tap, however there is also a far more modern, and likelier, option that the company could consider. This comes in the form of a brand new straight-six turbodiesel that recently made its debut in the Genesis GV80. This sophisticated new engine pairs with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and produces a beefy 204kW and 588Nm.
And Hyundai has already hinted that the new V6 diesel will find its way into the upcoming bakkie, with Hyundai R&D head Albert Biermann telling CarsGuide: “This engine… we can have so many applications. We also make commercial vehicles and so on, so this engine will be out there for quite some time".
There will inevitably be four-cylinder options too for those on a tighter budget, but as with the V6 these remain up for speculation. Carsales.com.au believes that the 2.2-litre unit currently found in the Santa Fe and Sorento, will be employed in the bakkie range, but it’s also not impossible that the current - and more commercially applicable - 2.5 CRDi unit found in the Hyundai H100 could feature in the base models.
A real ‘bloody’ ute
Either way, this will be a ‘proper’ bakkie, Hyundai’s Australian division assures.
“What’s clear to us is that if we’re going to bring a ute out, it had better be a ute,” Hyundai Australia’s new CEO John Kett told WhichCar in September last year.
“We’ve got past the first hurdle of what it needs to look like, but it needs to be functional as well. That’s the important part.
“We’re going down that pathway and we’re working towards it. We just have to make sure that when it arrives, it’s a bloody ute,” Kett added.
In order to compete against its natural foes, Hyundai and Kia will have to offer a wide range of derivatives, including single and double cab configurations as well as 4x2 and 4x4 options.
Given that there are currently two available V6 diesels, Hyundai certainly doesn’t have an excuse for not creating a true Raptor rival.