couple thinking about kia pregio

Kias You Can’t Buy in the U.S. (Yet): The Kia Pregio

Kia Pregio U.S. Availability and Release Date

Welcome back to Kias You Can’t Buy in the U.S., a blog featurette that teases you with some of the best and most obscure Kia vehicles on the planet which you can’t own. Today, we’re going to be doing something we’ve done only once before by looking at a Kia model whose import moratorium is right on the brink of expiration.

[READ MORE: Check Out All the Kias You Can’t Buy in Our Blog Archive Here]

Today, we’re going to look at a Kia you can soon buy in the U.S.

That vehicle is the Kia Pregio and for those who love the chunky cab-over vans of the 1970s and 1980s, you may soon be able to get one manufactured by our favorite South Korean powerhouse. Today, we’re sharing everything we know about the Kia Pregio.

What is the Kia Pregio?

A body-on-frame, rear-wheel drive, cab-over (meaning the driver sits on top of the engine) van, the Kia Pregio was and is the successor to Kia’s popular Kia Bongo truck/van. The Kia Pregio debuted in 1995 and has been produced in limited quantities for select markets ever since.

As a van, the Kia Pregio (called the Kia Best GS in Brazil, Kia Bongo III Coach in South Korea and Kia Travello in Indonesia), seats up to 19 passengers. This has made them especially popular in Latin American and South American countries where the use of a Colectivo (inexpensive, mass-transit van) is common.

Engine options throughout the history of the Kia Pregio include a 2.5L turbodiesel, a 2.7L diesel and a 3.0L diesel. With truck-based vans such as the Kia Pregio preferring torque over power/speed, the absence of a gasoline engine is notable.

Transmission options included a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual.

Facelifted only once in the 2003 model year, the Pregio has been largely replaced by the Kia Carnival/Sedona and Kia Granbird for larger buses.

Still, with the first models having debuted in 1995, we’re only one year away from the model being old enough to import. If you just gotta have it, a short 12 months will see them become available for all your 16-passenger Kia needs.

By the way, Pregio is Italian for worth or quality if you’re wondering. This fits in with other Kia models that have Italian names, such as the Kia Cadenza (cadence), Kia Forte (strength) and Kia Sorento (a city in Italy).

Kia Pregio Photos

As we often do in these dives, we’ve gone to Instagram to find some photos of this incredible and vintage-looking wonder. Here are the best photos of the Kia Pregio:

A post shared by Perry Flynn (@perry.flynn) on Oct 13, 2017 at 10:49pm PDT

A post shared by E R I N (@e_rxn) on Jun 19, 2018 at 11:42pm PDT

A post shared by Mone Michels (@mone.michels) on Mar 30, 2019 at 11:05pm PDT

Will the Kia Pregio Ever Be Available in the United States?


For more information on Kia’s worldwide lineup or to test-drive a Kia you can buy in the United States like the 2019 Kia Sedona, contact us today!

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