There's a new Kia Sportage around the corner, and boy is it a looker. The fifth iteration of the Korean carmaker's popular SUV has finally been uncovered but the only details we have at the moment are purely superficial; you'll have to wait a little while longer for drivetrains and stats.
The new Sportage is now visually defined by the brand's new 'Opposites United' design philosophy; Kia proudly describes its design as a collaborative effort between its designers in Korea, Germany, the US and China. Although not immediately distinguishable at first glance, Kia insists that its trademark Tiger Nose grille is still the focal point of the new Sportage's front end. It's much wider now, and it links up to a pair of aggressively-styled, boomerang-shaped DRLs. There's also quite a lot of texture on the front in a fashion that's not unlike what we've seen in newer Hyundai (yes, Hyundai) sedans.
Elsewhere, a chrome (or piano black) segment on the D-pillar adds an interesting touch to an otherwise textbook side profile. And the rear is a festival of long, angular LED strips like most new cars of late. The overall look is a far cry from the Sportage of past generations, but it's certainly fit enough to line-up alongside something as futuristic as the Kia EV6 on the same showroom floor.
"Reinventing the Sportage gave our talented design teams a tremendous opportunity to do something new; to take inspiration from the recent brand relaunch and introduction of EV6 to inspire customers through modern and innovative SUV design"
Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Design Center, Kia Corporation
Inside, a 'sculpted integrated curved display with a slim crush touchscreen pad and finely detailed air vents' take centre stage in what is very clearly a digital-forward cabin. Kia insists that the new interface was created to be easy to use, highly intuitive and soft to the touch. The centre console is just as minimalistic, with a shift-by-wire transmission dial replacing the conventional gear knob. Materials seem very upmarket on paper, not that any recent Kia has ever given us reason for doubt in terms of fit and finish.
For the first time in the Kia Sportage's 28-year history, the SUV wil be offered in a bolder X-Line trim which features unique bumpers, side sills, roof racks, seats and interior trim. Also a first for the nameplate is the fact that Europe will get its own, dedicated version which will only be unveiled in September.
As for the Malaysian market, we wouldn't keep our hopes up for a local introduction anytime soon as the Bermaz JV made up of Kia Malaysia (KMSB) and distributor Dinamikjaya is still laying the foundations after officially assuming custodianship of the Korean brand here back in April. A plan is supposedly in place to locally assemble three models, with the Carnival and Seltos earmarked as the first two.
Could the new Sportage be lucky number three?