Ask Nathan: Kia Tasman Pickup, Fiat 500e Pricing and 4Runner Hate?

In this week’s post:

  • IF the Kia Tasman pickup comes to the USA, it won’t be a rebadged Hyundai Santa Cruz!
  • Fiat 500e pricing?
  • Did Toyota ruin the new 4Runner?

The first question comes from a fan who sent a message about the upcoming Kia Tasman pickup – and whether it’s similar to the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Images via: TFLtruck… we know it’s a KIA Tasman pickup now, but back then we thought they would name it the “Mojave.”

Q (via Will the Kia Tasman pickup truck be based on the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

Do you know if it’s coming to America? I’ve had good luck with Hyundai and Kia products and I know you’ve been pretty happy with the Santa Cruz. Do you think the Kia Tasman pickup will be even less expensive than yours?

I currently own a 2018 Hyundai Veloster, 2009 Kia Borrego and my wife drives a 2018 Genesis G70.

– Title_Enzyme81

A: There’s a so-so chance that the upcoming Kia Tasman pickup truck is coming stateside, but…

It’s a question of Kia being able to build the Tasman in the United States. About a year ago, we began to see some spy photography, and began reporting on what we thought Kia would call the Mojave pickup. That was based on their concept truck from way back, which looked like a cool concept to us.

Fast forward a bit, and we have an all-new pickup truck, not a crossover-based pickup. The Tasman has a frame, a solid rear axle and is about the same size as a Ford Ranger. As a matter of fact, it was seen testing alongside a Ranger, so we know who Kia is benchmarking. As far as we can tell, there are no common components with the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

We hear that the global marketing will begin with South Korea, the Middle East and possibly Australia. Later on, other markets will be pursued. There has been no mention of the North American market – yet. The biggest problem is Chicken Tax (a 25% tariff applies to all pickup imports), and the expense of bringing a new pickup to our shores.

Chicken tax sucks.

That’s not to say that they won’t build the Tasman here, or find a workaround to bring them here for a reasonable price. Still, we don’t know if the KIA truck will be unique enough to compete. On top of that, we know that Kia is bringing electric pickup trucks to many markets, including ours. Something worth noting.

We know very little about the Tasman’s powertrain; however, the general consensus is that they may use their new 2.5-liter, 300-horsepower I4, which is currently in use in the base G70. For the Australian market, we’re hearing a lot about a small displacement turbo-diesel four-cylinder. It’s supposed to be hooked up to an eight-speed automatic. Then there is word of a possible PHEV (someone swore they saw a plug port in Korea), and then there’s the aforementioned EVs.

Believe me: I want the Kia Tasman pickup truck to come to the United States. Competition is great for the consumer, and it will force the other automakers to “up” their game. With the upcoming Nissan/Mitsubishi PHEV truck, new EVs and the recent batch of new and updated midsize pickups – Kia better bring their “A” game.

If they come at all.

– N

The next question is about the upcoming Fiat 500E, and its affordability.

Q (via a realtor’s friend I met in Carson, CA): Is the 2024 Fiat 500e worth the money?

(Paraphrased) I drive a used Model Y, but I’m bored and I want something new and fun. My husband has a gas SUV, so I’m fine with something that can get me around SoCal like the Y.

I saw the new Fiat 500e, but I don’t know if its worth the money.

What do you think?

– M.L

A: It all depends on where you live, and what you love.

There are less expensive examples that have as much, if not more range. Plenty of EVs are coming to our market will lower prices, and better range. In fact, I would say that (on paper) the Fiat 500E is somewhat mediocre.

85 kW charging speed is – meh. I mean, it has a small battery (42 kWh), so you should be able to charge from 0 to 80% in about 35-minutes. Not too shabby. This car’s range is a bit limited for some as well. You can get about 149 miles of city range, or (if you use the Eco/sherpa-mode) up to 167-miles.

From what I hear from Roman, it’s a fun and fairly sophisticated car to drive. It’s not for families, but the tradeoff is a car that can be parked just about anywhere. It’s very cute, and has a ton of driving charm.

Here’s the problem: with a base price hovering around $32,500 – you can buy competitors that out-perform the Fiat in most ways. I just drove the Hyundai Kona EV, and it’s a fantastic car for the dough, and makes more sense. With that being said, the little Fiat has a bit more personality, and it may fit a certain type of individual.

I would recommend a short-time lease, which will save you money, and give you a taste for a spicy, vegan meatball.

– N

The last batch of questions/comments comes from a few of our YouTube 2025 4Runner videos. Most were positive, but a few were negative. I grabbed a few examples.

Q: (Paraphrased) Why is everyone so angry about the new 4Runner? – @WaMoDay23

  • I don’t know how I feel about it. I expected more. – @wilfredosanta6797
  • Toyota cleaned out the Pep Boys aisle and put every badge, garnish and accessory on this thing….What happened to less is more? @jamesnardini
  • So glad I can sleep better tonight knowing that I made the right decision to buy a 2024. Halleluja – @ashalaby86md
  • that payload capacity is a dealbreaker. – @HayMavDak
  • Why fix what wasn’t broke? – @MApower88JJ

A: I think it looks outstanding, but I’ll wait to fully judge it after I drive it.

I’ve seen other complaints that can’t be verified until we drive it; like its power-to-weight, handling and turbo-lag. In addition, others have serious issues with the fact that the drivetrain, platform and many components are shared with the Tacoma AND the Land Cruiser. Many speculate that it will be better-or-worse than the aforementioned platform-mates.

Fair enough guys. Let’s talk about what we do know.

So far: our long-term Toyota Tacoma’s engine and transmission have been solid. In addition, our non-hybrid I4 makes 278 horsepower and 317 lbs-feet of torque. That same engine in the upcoming 4Runner means it will out-perform the previous model’s 270 hp (278 lb-ft) V6. The eight-speed is outstanding in our Tacoma too. All this led to the most frugal Tacoma we’ve driven. That means: the upcoming 4Runner should be more frugal too. IF this powertrain proves reliable and robust – it could be a big win.

No one knows how the hybrid will perform – yet. We know that the Land Cruiser will have a standard hybrid powertrain, and the 4Runner’s will be optional. We do know that it should be a lot more powerful, and it could be even more frugal. Personally, I think it might be overkill AND the battery takes up too much space.

The payload of the less loaded (read: heavy) 4Runners should be better. Notice: the Trail Hunter is absolutely loaded with toys, tech and performance parts – which kills payload. Still, It’s not ideal.

There is a bottom line here, from the perspective of a 4Runner fan: the fact that it shares many components with the new Tacoma is a good thing. Hopefully, component sharing could lead to a lower price. I’m hoping a base model starts under the $40K+ of the current model. That would be a treat.

Sure, I have my doubts – but I’m holding off judgement until I actually drive a 2025 Toyota 4Runner. Anyone with me?

— N