The next-generation 2022 Kia Sportage mid-size SUV has made its European prototyping debut, ahead of a rumoured unveiling in April 2021.
The example spotted by our spy photography partners on Germany's Nurburgring racetrack – used by manufacturers to develop vehicle handling and driving dynamics – wears considerably less camouflage than previous Sportage prototypes spied in their home market of South Korea in recent months.
While many of the new Sportage's styling cues remain obscured by camouflage, it's clear the new-generation SUV will offer an overhauled design compared to its predecessor, with a look in line with recent Kia models including the K5 (nee Optima) sedan and Sorento SUV.
Up front, there's a large 'tiger nose' grille flanked by high-set headlights, while towards the rear a rising window-line leads into a C-pillar shape bearing a resemblance to the Stonic light SUV, and what appears to be a full-width tail-light graphic.
No images have been captured of the 2022 Sportage's cabin, though we expect a pair of large high-resolution displays and a premium, contemporary ambience.
Sharing its platform with the recently-unveiled Hyundai Tucson, the new Kia Sportage is expected to gain many of its sibling's advanced safety and connectivity technologies, including adaptive cruise control, lane-following assist, remote automatic parking via the key fob, and wireless smartphone mirroring.
According to our spies, the Sportage prototype initially began moving in silence under electric power alone, with its combustion engine only switching on later – indicating it uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
While not confirmed, it is likely the same system on offer with the new Tucson in overseas markets, which pairs a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder with an electric motor and a 13.8kWh lithium-ion battery to produce 195kW.
Given the new-generation Hyundai Tucson will be offered locally from the first half of 2021 with the same choice of engines as its predecessor, it's possible the new Kia Sportage could go down a similar route.
That would mean a three-strong range of four-cylinder engines, consisting of a 114kW/192Nm 2.0-litre petrol, 135kW/237Nm 2.4-litre petrol and 136kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.
The 2022 Kia Sportage is rumoured to make its public debut in April 2021, ahead of a possible Australian arrival sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.