Truck Rewind: Kia Mojave Pickup Truck Concept: Kind-a Sort-a Maybe?

The Kia Mojave Pickup Truck Concept (KCV-4) debuted at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. According to insiders, this truck came very close to production. How close? There were reports of several heavily disguised test mules running around in the desert. It could have been a contender in the midsize truck segment.

Believe it or not, this concept had provisions for four-wheel steering, similar to the Delphi Corporation’s Quadrasteer system used back in the early to mid 2000’s in GM trucks.

The concept was called the Kia Mojave and it was a slick little pickup powered by a turbocharged or supercharged 280 horsepower 3.8-liter V6. It  had a mid-gate feature like the Chevrolet Avalanche, where the rear bulkhead lowered to increase the bed-size by several inches. – TFLcar

Nowadays, there are some pretty powerful Kia/Hyundai 4-cylinder direct-injected turbocharged engines that could have worked as well.

In-bed side storage, side-body steps and a multi-configurable bed were part of a package that looked fairly production-ready.

So, what happened? Why did Kia pull out so close to production?

There was never an official explanation as to the axing of the Kia Mojave Pickup Truck Concept, but several speculate that the idea of competing against the big three, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and the Honda Ridgeline was just too much for Kia at the time. Others think that, after the poor sales of the Kia Borrego truck-based SUV (which came along a few years later) – Kia was justified in canceling the project.

Interestingly, Kia and its parent company Hyundai are planning on releasing a car-based pickup truck similar to the Honda Ridgeline. Sure, it won’t compete with truck-based mid size trucks, these little truck-lets like the Hyundai Santa Cruz may do well in the U.S.  That is, IF they ever build it.

Still, I wonder how well the Kia Mojave pickup truck would have done in the USA. Obviously, the concept would have been toned down in its production version. I think all-wheel steering and the radical cockpit would have vanished in favor of a more conventional design, but that’s speculation based on a nonexistent product.

What do you think? Would you buy a small Kia pickup truck?





Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.