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Review: 2008 Kia K2900 Truck

September 2nd, 2008
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We like doing things out of the ordinary, so when asked to spend a week drinking from an oversized insulated coffee mug, wearing a singlet and little navy shorts we said "hey, let's do it". Driving Australia’s least expensive light truck we've come to the conclusion that if you’re a concreter, a builder who needs to move more than a basic tool box, a fruit’n’vegetable stall operator or even a budding florist, Kia's K2900 is the answer to your needs.

 

The first impression upon climbing up into the cabin of the K2900 is the excellent visibility on offer.  With no bonnet in front of the cabin and the fact that you’re sitting well above the rear tray means that driving and parking this truck poses no difficulty.


Kia K2900
 

Glancing over the interior revealed Kia has recently updated the K2900 since it first went on sale in 2002 badged as the K2700.  The dashboard has a splattering of silver metallic looking plastic around the HVAC and audio controls.  The carpet on the floor however might be taking the ‘luxury’ feel a step too far as rubber is far easier to clean and better suited for commercial vehicles.


Other features to note in the cabin is the individual drivers bucket seat offering slide and recline movement with the passenger and centre seat being a joined bench arrangement, however thankfully the centre seat backrest folds down to a storage tray with twin cup holders for my oversized coffee mug and a place to leave street directory.  When you’re spending the working hours of a day in your vehicle, this truck becomes your mobile office so these little things are of importance.

 

The standard air-conditioning didn’t get a blast as we’re in the middle of a Melbourne winter; however the standard AM/FM radio, single CD player and 2 speakers did and it was of decent sound quality playing “Best of the AC/DC” for a vehicle of this nature.


Kia K2900
 

Driving around town, I initially noticed the light steering, and with a turning circle of just over ten meters this truck is easy to maneuver.  The extra large side mirrors, that also offer an additional lower view for easy parking, also get the thumbs up.

 

Like all vehicles of this caliber, the ride with an empty tray is on the harsher side of harsh.  Over inner city Melbourne roads, with the regular tram track crossings, the K2900 bounced and ‘shook me all night long’, however this settled down when we put a few sand bags in the tray.


The K2900 badge designates a bigger engine for the Kia light truck. The 2.9L 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine is an improvement over the 2.7L engine in the superseded K2700.  Driving along at Highway speeds the K2900 in overdrive cruises along smoothly with ample power to overtake.  The official figures of 92kW and 245Nm aren’t anything to impress your mates about; however at no point during our road test did we find ourselves craving for more.

 

As this vehicle is for a specific target market, i.e. people who don’t spend their working hours in front of a computer, we decided to take the truck to where its buyers worked. 

 

One early morning we drove down to the Queen Victoria Market, a food and clothes market close to the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.  Driving down the narrow lanes by the fruit stalls I sensed that the Kia was in its element, even getting the nod of approval from a driver in a K2700.  Parking next to a fruit stall, I asked a middle aged fruiter who looked like he’d been in the industry his whole life if I could take some photos of the K2900 next to his stall.  He happily obliged and quickly returned to his job at hand serving the early morning customers.  However, when I was ready to leave I shouted out a quick "thanks" and he came across to ask a few questions about the little truck.  His first question was "How much?"  I answered "its $28,990 or $30,490 with the factory tray".  He nodded to himself in a reassuring manner and came closer to check out the tray.

 

The K2900 is a direct competitor to the Ford Transit Cab Chassis which starts at a significantly more expensive $36,990 excluding tray. However to the advantage of the Ford is that the Transit Cab Chassis is significantly bigger at 5931mm in length (the K2900 is 5120mm) and its 2.4L Diesel produces 103kW and 375Nm.

 

$1,500 for the K2900 factory tray looks like good value as with only a couple of easy movements the rear and side gates can be dropped or removed to provide a perfectly flat bed.  With tray dimensions of 3110mm in length and 1630mm in width (K2900 has only 12” dual rear wheels so the wheel arches don’t intrude into the tray) its cargo dimensions are much greater than utilities such as the Toyota Hilux or Nissan Navara.  And because it doesn’t have a bonnet the Kia is roughly the same length as these vehicles with almost one more meter in tray length for maximum cargo capacity.


Kia K2900
 

The fruit’n’vegetable stall owner also asked "what can it carry and how’s its fuel economy?"  Looking through the owner’s manual the payload is 1481kg with the tray fitted and its fuel economy is 10.2L per 100kms.  And when I also told him that the Kia comes with a 5 year / 130,000km warranty, he replied "Not bad, not bad at all". We’d have to agree with him.

 

After spending a week with the K2900 we understand why the K2900/K2700 has outsold its competitors for the last six years running in Australia.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Competitors:
Ford Transit Cab Chassis (2.4L Turbo Diesel) 

Volkswagen Transporter Cab Chassis (1.9L Turbo Diesel) 


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