EDIT (yes, *again*): Kia revealed more detailed about the Sportage’s features and construction, and official photos of the interior.
EDIT (again): Kia has released official photos of the new Sportage’s exterior, which we’ve added here.
EDIT: Sharp-eyed forum user conwelpic found some images of an undisguised 2016 Sportage, which we’ve added to this post.
Kia will reveal its next-generation Sportage compact crossover next month at the Frankfurt auto show.
With the 2015/2016 auto show season is about to get started, the Internet is being plastered with more sketches than a Saturday Night Live special.
The latest renderings come from Kia, in an email titled “Dramatic Energy.” In it, we don’t get much detail–gotta leave something for the big reveal, after all–but the company says its new Sportage “features a bold, progressive design, which exudes power and agility from every angle,” which we’re sure you can feel radiating from your screen right about now.
This will be the fourth generation of Kia’s little crossover, last redrawn for 2011 into a vehicle that (still) stands out like a tattooed skateboarder carving the hallways of a retirement home. Given the look of these drawings versus the conservative crop of vehicles the production Sportage will go up against, we’d say little is about to change. Maybe we’re making this up, but the front end looks a lot like a Porsche Macan wearing Kia’s tiger-nose grille; it looks a bit tacked-on, but the more we look, the more we like it. The rear three-quarter view is a lot more familiar.
Kia calls the redesigned Sportage’s interior one of the most significant improvements to come to fourth generation of its small crossover. The “driver-oriented” dash bears a familial resemblance to other current Kia models, with plenty of horizontal lines to “emphasize the width of the interior and generate a greater impression of space and sportiness” compared to the outgoing model. The interior will be offered in three colour schemes: all-black, black/dark brown, and black/canyon beige.
Sportage’s wheelbase stretches by 30 mm to 2,670 mm, while the car is 40 mm longer tip-to-tail. Width and height remain the same, at 1,855 mm and 1,635 mm, respectively. Kia says the extra length translates into 19 mm more legroom in the front seat, and another 7 mm for rear-seat passengers, who also get 16 mm more headroom. The expanded dimensions also mean a notable 128-litre increase in cargo space, according to Kia.
A thinner A-pillar and lowered A-pillar base promise better forward sightlines; more notable are thinner C-pillars and taller rear glass to improve visibility rearward, addressing a knock against the outgoing car.
Kia has yet to reveal powertrain details (we offer our speculation below), but a larger gas tank (62 litres versus 58) promises slightly more driving range. Better noise attenuation–thanks to extra dashboard insulation, acoustic shields on the engine, and better rear suspension bushings–indicate you’ll be more inclined to enjoy going that extra distance.
Safety-wise, more high-strength steel (it makes up 51 percent of the new body, versus just 18 percent in the third-gen model) improves torsional stiffness by 39 percent, and this fourth-gen Sportage will be the first to offer autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, high beam assist, blind spot detection, and rear cross traffic alert.
Other tech stuff includes inductive smartphone charging, and Google Android Auto built into the available audio-visual navigation system.
If you bought a Sportage since the 2011 redesign, you got a choice of 2.4L naturally-aspirated (NA) and 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Our second question–after wondering how much the production version will look like these sketches–is whether Kia will stick with those mechanical choices, or adopt the 2.0L NA/1.6L turbo engines of its also-brand-new Hyundai Tucson corporate cousin. We’re going to be daring and guess at an all-turbo lineup, with the 1.6L powering lower-end models, and the top-trim SX getting the blown 2.0L. A bargain-basement model could use the NA 2.4.
We’ll have more on the new Sportage following its September 15th reveal in Frankfurt.