After appearing on dozens of front-end designs for over a decade, Kia's signature Tiger Nose grille is preparing to enlist in the army. The South Korean company introduced a close-to-production concept called Light Tactical Cargo Truck (LTCT) that previews the next off-roader it will manufacture for the global military vehicle market.
Kia unveiled the LTCT at the 2021 International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) held in Abu Dhabi. The design study inevitably looks a lot like the AM General Humvee and the Toyota BXD10, but the grille makes it instantly recognizable as a Kia. It wears the company's old logo, though, not the new emblem unveiled in 2021.
Four passengers can ride in the LTCT's cabin, which is air-conditioned, while the rear-mounted box can carry 10 fully-armed soldiers and up to 6,600 pounds of cargo. Photos of the interior haven't been released.
Although the LTCT's bare chassis was displayed during the convention, Kia chose not to publish full technical specifications yet. We know power comes from a 225-horsepower turbodiesel engine that spins the four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, a two-speed transfer case, and portal axles. The 6,400-pound behemoth has a top speed of 80 mph, about 16 inches of ground clearance, and it can drive through up to 30 inches of water. It was designed to operate between -25 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kia pointed out it has built light tactical vehicles for the South Korean army since 2016. It expects that offering a model that's more stylish and more usable will increase demand, though it didn't reveal when LTCT production is scheduled to start. It added that the platform is modular enough to spawn short- and long-wheelbase variants, armored and unarmored versions, plus a wide number of body styles including mobile workshops, multi-purpose vehicles, and communication hubs. Interestingly, it also said it's actively developing vehicles for clients with eclectic tastes, which seemingly opens the door to the different civilian versions the firm alluded to in late 2020.
At the other end of the Tiger Nose spectrum, Kia introduced an upmarket sedan named K8 in its home country of South Korea earlier in 2021. It wears the largest rendition of the styling cue we've seen to date.