With the outgoing model proving itself as one of Kia's best-selling offerings around the world, this all-new 'QL' Sportage will be crucial in building the brand's global sales over the coming years.
Locally, the new mid-sized SUV will form a vital part of the foundation of Kia’s increasing sales targets: 50,000 by 2019 is the goal, up from an anticipated 34,000 sales at the end of this year.
The Sportage will be offered in Australia in three trim levels - Si, SLi and Platinum - so no changes there.
Front- or all-wheel drive will be offered across all three specifications, all teamed with automatic transmissions. As expected, there will be no manual option.
There will be two petrol engines, as well as one diesel engine in the line-up. The petrol options are a 2.0-litre or 2.4-litre, offering around 120kW/200Nm and 138kW/241Nm respectively, while the diesel is a 2.0-litre turbo that will produce around 135kW/400Nm.
Exact outputs for the local range are still to be confirmed, however.
Australia will miss out on the most advanced drive train offered in the European version of the new Sportage: the same 1.6-litre T-GDI turbo petrol engine offered with the new Hyundai Tucson.
Producing around 130kW/265Nm in the new Kia, and paired with the company's new seven-speed double-clutch transmission (DCT), it will be offered on the Sportage GT Line and in the cee'd - neither of which are slated for Australia.
Kia Australia say we may eventually see it, but not yet. The 1.6-litre comes out of Kia's Slovakia manufacturing operations, and Australia will now only be receiving the Sportage manufactured in Korea.
Another differentiator to the European specification on show in Frankfurt, is the inclusion of a full-size spare tyre.
The Sportage will have a raft of new safety features including lane departure warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
Kia Australia has also confirmed the Aussie version will have lane departure warning, as well as blind spot detection.
Inside, the new Sportage promises to be quieter than the previous generation, with significantly increased soundproofing through the cabin.
The 2016 Sportage is also more spacious, with greater headroom - 5mm and 16mm more for front and rear passengers respectively - while legroom is up by 19mm in the front and 7mm in the rear.
The wheelbase is 30mm longer and, overall, the vehicle is 40mm greater in length. The height remains the same at 1635mm, as does the width at 1855mm.
Interestingly, the interior floor is 40mm deeper at the rear without sacrificing ground clearance. The rear passenger seat base has been raised 30mm to improve comfort and under-thigh support, while maintaining that extra headroom.
Hepworth says that Kia has moved into a position where purchasing a Kia is now a choice, rather than a default.
"People aren’t just buying a car they can afford, Kia is now a car that people desire," Hepworth said.
Kia are currently selling 500-600 a month and are tipping the new car will improve on that.
According to Hepworth, the brand's seven-year warranty offering has played a big part in that, and the new Sportage will benefit from the same advantage.
The 2016 Sportage is expected to hit Aussie shores early in the first quarter, with January tipped to be the arrival month.