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Petrol-powered Tasman? 2025 Kia Tasman ute spied testing in the US with Kia Stinger's V6 turbo-petrol engine - but is it a Ford Ranger Raptor rival or an American dream?

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Kia Tasman render. (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)
Kia Tasman render. (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)

Kia’s hotly anticipated Tasman ute has been caught testing with a petrol-powered V6 engine.

But if you’re an Australian waiting for the local arrival of the Toyota HiLux competitor, then don’t get your hopes up.

While Kia is yet to officially reveal the Tasman, it’s expected to be powered by Hyundai Group’s ubiquitous 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that is found in everything from the Hyundai Tucson, Santa Fe and Palisade to the Kia Sportage, Sorento and Carnival.

However, a Korean Car Blog report based on images published by KindelMedia reveals a Tasman prototype undergoing emissions testing in California with a 3.3-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine. The same engine that’s found in the recently discontinued Stinger performance car.

The US market is very different to the Australian ute scene and American buyers tend to favour petrol over diesel powertrains, even in their massive pick-up trucks.

The Tasman is classed as a mid-sized pick-up and competes with the likes of the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger, as well as the Nissan Frontier and Chevrolet Colorado in the States.

So a petrol V6 makes much more sense for US customers than Aussies. However, Kia has only confirmed the Tasman for Africa, Australia, Korea and the Middle East so far.

Kia is yet to officially reveal the Tasman.
Kia is yet to officially reveal the Tasman.

But does this open up the door for US sales? That depends.

Pick-up trucks that are imported to the US are subject to what’s called the ‘chicken tax’, which is a 25 per cent tariff introduced by President Lyndon Johnson back in 1964 in retaliation to Europe’s tariffs on American chicken imports.

So unless Kia can work out a way to build the Tasman in the US, it is unlikely American buyers will be able to get their hands on Kia’s ute.

Kia has one manufacturing facility in the state of Georgia where it builds the Sportage, Sorento and Telluride SUVs and the K5 (Optima in Australia) sedan.

The Tasman is expected to be a sales hit for Kia.
The Tasman is expected to be a sales hit for Kia.

A new EV production facility is being built in Savannah, Georgia, and Kia has already confirmed it will build another pick-up - its first electric ute - in the US.

If the Tasman is a no-go for America, could Kia use it for a performance version of the ute to compete with the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor? The Raptor also uses petrol power - a 292kW/583Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol to be precise.

Under the bonnet of the Stinger, Kia’s twin-turbo V6 pumps out 182kW/353Nm - not as meaty as the Ford.

Whatever Kia ends up using for the Tasman, it is expected to be a sales hit for the brand. Kia is hoping for around 20,000 annual sales in Australia. Given the pre-launch interest in the ute, that seems more than achievable.

Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim Nicholson’s journey into automotive journalism. Tim launched the program, Fender Bender, on community radio station JOY 94.9 during completion of his Master of Arts (Media and Communications). This led to an entry role at industry publication GoAuto, before eventually taking the role of Managing Editor. A stint as RACV’s Motoring Editor – including being an Australia’s Best Cars judge – provided a different perspective to automotive media, before leading him to CarsGuide where he started as a Contributing Journalist in September 2021, and transitioned to Senior Editor in April 2022, before becoming Managing Editor in December 2022.
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