A fresh report out of Australia claims Kia is keen on developing a ladder-frame SUV to take on the likes of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.

According to motoring.com.au, the Korean firm wants a rugged, ladder-frame offering with proper off-road (and towing) ability to market alongside the road-biased, unibody Sorento. The report says Kia is targeting a launch in 2023.

The publication says Kia’s long-rumoured bakkie would likely provide the SUV’s platform, along with a low-range transfer case, locking differentials and generous ground clearance. Power is expected to come from the Hyundai Group’s new 3,0-litre inline-six turbodiesel engine.

Speaking to motoring.com.au, Kia Australia product planning chief Roland Rivero pointed out while the company already produced a large SUV in the form of the (also unibody) Telluride, it would not be built in right-hand drive.

“Telluride is off the cards in this current generation for right-hand drive. It’s doing extremely well in the USA and Canada, but unfortunately for us, we can’t get it in right-hand drive. Are we missing out on Telluride? I think any market that doesn’t have Telluride would feel like they’re missing out.”

Rivero added “if we were to bring in an upper-large SUV, [it] would be a ladder-frame execution”.

“The Australian market, the way they look at upper large SUVs are looking into Land Cruiser or Prado territory and a ladder-frame SUV has specific capabilities, in off-road ability and towing capacity, that your monocoques just aren’t designed to deliver.

“If you did want to penetrate that particular segment, you’d have to have an offering closer to a ladder-frame vehicle. Or if not, if it was alongside a large SUV, in that it was say built off a [bakkie] platform, they could achieve a similar result.

“So it’d be a nice to have, if we had a ladder-frame SUV."