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Waiting for Kia's proper off-road SUV? Why Korean Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series rival is still years away - and hinges on the brand's first ute hitting dealerships

Kia's off-road SUV is still some way off.

Kia's first proper off-road SUV is still years away from production, with the brand in Australia declaring the project "not a priority" with the focus instead on producing the brand's dual-cab ute.

We had initially expected the Kia (and Hyundai) dual-cab ute to arrive around 2022, but the brand this week flagged production push-backs with that program, and even suggested it was unaware if the ute's development was still under way.

And we now know that any work on a true LandCruiser rival would take a backseat to that project, with Kia in Australia tells that a proper ladder-frame, off-road SUV was "not a priority".

Stopping short of declaring the project off the board, the brand did suggest any work on an SUV would have to wait until a dual-cab ute was finished.

“Look at this stage, at this point in time, the priority would be where the biggest volume is at," said Kia Australia's General Manager – Product, Roland Rivero.

"That by no means means it's a dead duck, but the priority right now with resources is where the biggest volume is at."

Mr Rivero went on to explain that a LandCruiser-style SUV would be fed from the dual-cab's platform, but insists an off-roader is "lower on the list" of the brand's priorities.

"There would be a lot commonality for ute-based large SUVs," he said. "But for now with resource and prioritising of numerous global projects… that would be lower on the list. But by no means dead."

His comments follow a similar theme to those of stablemate Hyundai, where that brand's General Manager of Product, Andrew Tuitahi, said that, while there is a clear market for a ladder-frame SUV in Australia, there are "significant challenges" in bringing one to market.

"We study everything that is a potential global project. There is a market here. But there are significant challenges with bringing a car like that to market," he said.