Today’s Sportage compact crossover is between the oddest-looking vehicles in the segment. Though we all know that this is just a matter of taste, so some of you probably find this Kia’s high-riding model quite attractive. Either way, it’s far more important what the SUV really offers than how it looks. Believe it or not, when it arrived some three years ago, the fourth-generation Sportage was one of the best equipped compact SUVs available. Plus, the model offers pretty good choices under the hood, which makes it pretty successful worldwide. Still, today’s car market grows and develops fast, so if Kia thinks to earn some money on the Sportage in the future or to keep its scores high, the vehicle needs some changes pretty fast. But we are not here to give advice. No, we are talking about the model because the carmaker has started testing the updated 2019 Kia Sportage already.
The testing vehicle is wearing camouflage on sides, so it’s pretty clear that the 2019 Sportage is getting a mid-cycle update. It also means that the Korean car manufacturer has no intention to touch anything that regards the platform or footprint of the crossover. Instead, the exterior changes are only cosmetic and will hopefully make the 2019 model more attractive. We can’t really see what’s happening beneath the wraps. However, judging by the latest reports, the 2019 Kia Sportage will steal face from the new Stinger. Meaning, the grille will keep its current mesh treatment, but it’s going to be stretched and slimmer. The biggest change will happen on headlights. The compact will not be as weird thanks to a pair of Stinger-based lights. We are not completely sure what’s going to happen with the front bumper, though we are sure it will be redesigned. In case you haven’t noticed, the shape of the air intake is square, which is not the case with today’s model. Around back, the interesting rear hatch will become even more interesting thanks to a pair of reshaped taillights with new graphics. We can’t see whether the current red-bar stays on board or now, but we would keep the nice detail that connects the backlights. Some reports say that the rear bumper along with the exhaust system will see some changes as well, but we can’t see these improvements on the prototype due to the heavy camo.
The cabin will reportedly become Stinger-based as well. More precisely, the crossover will likely rely on a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen and HVAC layout. The updated center stack will get a new, uprated level of harmony thanks to a proper and a smart button arrangement. Of course, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be standard parts of the SUV, as well as heated front seats. Kia will likely improve driving aids of the 2019 Sportage. The list will definitely include adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. The testing model didn’t show anything new inside. However, we largely expect a new upholstery treatment and perhaps even some new two-tone arrangement.
Today’s Sportage is offered with a pair of gasoline engines. The units will likely survive the mid-cycle update without any too drastic changes. The starting model will rely on a 2.4-liter four which currently fires away up to 181 horsepower. An optional 2.0-liter turbo will probably keep its maximum output at 240 horsepower. Both options will probably keep its current six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode, which will send power to eight front- or all four wheels. Kia may try with an eight-speed automatic transmission from the Stinger too. This way, the 2019 Kia Sportage could improve shifting and fuel economy. Though, this is not confirmed at the moment. You are probably asking yourself is there anything new under the hood? Well, yes: the dynamic compact crossover will definitely get a 48-volt mild hybridization in order to additionally improve its fuel economy. However, there is nothing specific about the system at the moment, so we should wait for some another testing model.
Kia has just started with tests for the 2019 Sportage, which means that the updated crossover is not going to arrive soon. No, the Korean car manufacturer will introduce it at the end of the year. The refresh will probably have a “positive” influence on price, so you can expect a bit more expensive model. Let’s say it is going to cost at least $25K.