Ask Nathan: Kia Pickup based on Santa Cruz, Defending Defender and Sienna vs Pacifica Worthless Comparison?

Here are some great questions you sent us this week

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Do you think we’ll see a Kia pickup based on Santa Cruz architecture?
  • Why do you insist on defending the Land Rover Defender?
  • Your review of the Toyota Sienna AWD vs Chrysler Pacifica AWD “seems like a worthless comparison?”

The first question comes from a fan who wants to know if we will see a Kia pickup based on Santa Cruz bones.

This Kia pickup is the Kia KCVII concept from 2002. It may look odd, but it looks like it may have inspired the (much later) Santa Cruz concept – which led to a production pickup. With the production Santa Cruz lead to a Kia pickup in the future? (Image: Kia)

Q: Hi Nathan! This is Bear from Texas and I want a Kia pickup!

I don’t know if you remember but I wrote you way back in 2017 about the Toyota FJ and you posted it. Back then I was still in high school and I was never responded to in any forum or post. Man that made me feel so good that you took time to read and answer my email. I’m assuming that is still good because that’s what I used back then.

I think the new Hyundai Santa Cruz is real cool and something that I might get to replace my 2018 Rav4. I don’t need a hefty bed for my stuff. My fatass friends can fit in the cab and we can load fishing gear inside. That works for me. So I was wondering about a possible build for a Kia pickup truck based on the Santa Cruz platform. Doesn’t that make sense to you?

Thanks again for answering my old question and I hope you answer this one to! Please say hi to Andres and Roman and Tommy and Case and Alex and BLAZE!

— Bear

A: That Kia pickup crossover/utility idea makes a lot of sense!

Hi Bear, thanks so much for sticking with TFL Studios for so long.

I think you posed a great question that makes a lot of sense for consumers. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard any rumblings about a Kia pickup anytime recently. Sure, they built an interesting KCV4 Mojave concept years ago, but not much since.

Automakers like to get a return on their investment (ROI) and it often means sharing components. That’s why we see so many vehicles sharing components and platforms – to help their profits fill the gaps of development.

As far as I know, while the Hyundai Tucson shares many parts with the Santa Cruz, but there are no other vehicles that share actual body components with it. That is to say, there are no other tiny pickups that Hyundai/Kia is going to sell, at the moment.

If Kia did build their own version of a utility pickup (or crossover pickup), with their own styling and whatnot, I bet it would sell well. I absolutely dig some of the designs Kia is coming up with.

I suspect that Hyundai/Kia will sit back and see how the Santa Cruz sales go. If there is a huge demand, perhaps they will have Kia build their own interpretation.

Man, I wish I knew more. Anyone out there have any intel on this?

Thanks again Bear – I’ll be sure to let the crew know you send your regards!

— N

The next question is in regards to our 2020 Land Rover Defender and why we still promote it.

Q: (@NathanAdlen) / Twitter) Why do you guys insist on keeping and filming that Land Rover Defender?

You’ve been through three for God’s sake! Is Jaguar Land Rover paying you or something!?

— Anonymous

A: No, only Ferrari pays us.


We all have reasons to provide second chances. Not everything is black-and-white when it comes to how some people calculate bad luck vs. plain old bad. Yes, our first Defender was truly screwed up. It was to the point that it was considered by me, a factory defect. We were lucky that JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) took it back and offered an exchange.

At that point, we still had not done much real-world testing with it. Sure, others can bounce along a pre-prescribed course in a day or two and laud its ability, but we want more. We chose to accept the exchange because we knew there was serious potential in this vehicle.

The second Land Rover wasn’t the automakers fault per-se. Mounting the winch at the dealership killed the replacement. Rather than completely rebuild a system that was messed up by a third party, we got the Land Rover Defender we are still driving today.

It was a lot of work – but it’s worth it!

So far, this Defender has been pretty damn good. It’s way better than expected off-road, and we all love to drive it on road trips. We marvel at its utility and comfort daily – along with its presence. Seriously, it just looks cool too.

If you prefer old Land Rovers – then I agree, old Defenders are amazing. Still, this new one is proving to be pretty damn awesome. I’m willing to give JLR a mulligan on their early production mistake.

Will you?

— N

The last question/statement comes from a YouTube video where I compare an AWD Pacifica and AWD Sienna. Other viewers voiced a similar issues with the comparison. As such, I featured the first one that grabbed my attention.  

Q: (Via YouTube) Why wouldn’t you compare the PHEV Pacifica to the hybrid sienna?

Seems like a worthless comparison if you’re going to compare gas mileage in your decision and not even look at the phev option the Pacifica provides.

Daniel Barvin
The plug-in/hybrid system in the Pacifica Hybid. [photo: Stellantis]

A: Hi Daniel, (and others) – here’s my response:

We have filmed a ton of minivan reviews in the past. We’ve driven AWD, FWD, hybrid, V6, I4 and even a minivan that had a manual transmission option way back (Mazda5). In that time, we have filmed and documented a multitude of reviews, and we will continue to do so.

You can read my snowy Pacifica review right here.

In this particular video, filmed in Colorado, we compared two minivans with all-wheel drive (AWD). These two vans are the only ones to offer that option in the United States. Being that we live in snow country, it makes total sense that we compare them. When I did so, I wanted viewers to see the utility and comfort of both vehicles of both vans.


Well, it just makes sense to me that (while we had the vans in our fleet) we should compare the most important parts. It’s not “worthless” to factor in mpg and AWD if you’re driving your family through a winter storm. The PHEV Pacifica wasn’t compared because it wasn’t on hand. On top of that, this was truly about AWD minivans and their features.

  • Have we done a Pacifica PHEV video/written reviews in the past? You bet — several!
  • Will we do a comparison of that van vs. others in the future? When the time is right, definitely.
  • Have I given any thought to comparing a FWD hybrid minivan to a FWD PHEV minivan? Oh yes, but it’s hard to get Toyota to ship a base model/FWD minivan to any fleet in the snow-belt. So, we’ll have to wait.

Fortunately, I expect to see some exciting offerings from Kia and Hyundai in the near future – ad rumor has it that these new vans may offer some sort of electrification eventually.

Sorry man, but I don’t consider the comparison “worthless.”


— N