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2022 Kia ute: Why this military ATV means good things for the new Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton rival

While only a rendering for now, Kia’s military ATV will become a (prototype) reality in early 2021.

Development of Kia’s eagerly anticipated Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton rival is pushing on, and now the South Korean brand has hinted the new ute will have some relation to its imminent military ATV (all-terrain vehicle).

Kia’s new ATV is primarily being developed for military use, although it will also serve in the industrial and leisure sectors when it enters series production later this decade, with a prototype planned for early next year.

A rendering of the military ATV has been released, with it showing off its open-top design that bears a resemblance to the AM General Humvee, GM (General Motors) Infantry Squad Vehicle and the Toyota Mega Cruiser (BXD10).

But what does any of this have to do with the Kia ute? Well, the ATV takes its ladder-frame chassis from the “robust” Mohave large SUV, a Toyota Prado rival that’s sold in South Korea and some other markets.

While that’s not much of a surprise, the fact that “Kia will continue to grow its reputation as an SUV brand by applying technology and know-how from military vehicle development to improve the durability of its road-going SUVs” is more so.

Naturally, that comment extends to the Mohave series at minimum, but it also suggests these learnings will be applied to other future Kia SUVs with a ladder-frame chassis. You know, like the expected ute-related Fortuner, Everest and Pajero Sport rival.

And it therefore stands to reason that these durability improvements will also apply to the Kia ute, likely optimising its off-road-ready suspension and four-wheel-drive system.

Of course, time will tell, but in the meantime, we do know Kia Australia’s wish list for the ute, with single- and dual-cab body-styles as well as petrol and diesel engines having been requested for the ute, to ensure it covers the workhorse and lifestyle ends of its segment.

The Kia ute and its Hyundai sibling could be among the most powerful in Australia, with their parent company recently introducing a 204kW/588Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel inline six-cylinder engine, which its head of R&D, Albert Biermann, hinted to CarsGuide would be used in commercial applications.

Due as early as 2022, the Kia ute is scheduled to be followed by its Hyundai relative in 2023, while both brands’ large SUVs will arrive later. That said, all of these previously reported timings could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.