New front and rear treatment seen for the first time

The Kia Sportage facelift has been spied doing a spot of spring testing on the Nurburgring.

Unlike earlier prototypes, this latest vehicle is running around with zero camouflage. The only bits of tape we can see serve to hold testing equipment in place.

Up front, the headlight internals have been reorganised, while the signature "tiger nose" grille is shorter and has been given a more aggressive edge. The front bumper has been given a sportier look, as well as a splash of chrome.

At the rear, the LED tail-light graphics have been revamped. The rear bumper has been heavily modified, and now features a deeper diffuser-style element and a chrome strip across its width.

The red reflector units have also enlarged and moved underneath the indicators and reversing lights.

In Europe the updated Sportage will be the first model to use Kia's new mild-hybrid diesel drivetrain, which includes a 10kW starter generator, and a 48V electrical system. This drivetrain will not be available on Australia-bound versions of the crossover.

The fourth-generation Sportage went on sale in Australia in 2015, and is one of the brand's key models. Until the end of April, Kia has sold 4532 Sportages locally, equating to almost a quarter of all Kias shipped to new homes. It is also the brand's second highest volume model, behind the Cerato (5904).

Year-to-date the Sportage holds 8.1 per cent of the medium SUV market, behind the Mazda CX-5 (8329), Toyota RAV4 (7017), Nissan X-Trail (6897), Hyundai Tucson (6441), Honda CR-V (5468), and Mitsubishi Outlander (4998).