The upcoming 2022 Kia Sportage has been caught testing, with new images providing our best look yet at the crucial new mid-size SUV.
Two separate spy photos published online show the rear end of the new Sportage free of camouflage, along with our first look at the long-wheelbase version of Kia's new SUV that could serve as the sole option Down Under.
2022 Kia Sportage rear-end spied undisguised
Starting with the former, the image reposted by The Korean Car Blog reveals the next-generation mid-size SUV's rump won't differ greatly from the current model, with high-set tail-lights connected across the tailgate, sitting below a sloping rear window.
However, the tail-lights are noticeably slimmer and sharper than before, while the current Sportage's small, elliptical Kia emblem has been replaced by a large interpretation of Kia's new corporate logo, placed in the centre of the tailgate just above the licence plate cutout.
2022 Kia Sportage long-wheelbase spied
Meanwhile, a set of photos posted to Korean website Autospy show what appears to be a long-wheelbase version of the new Kia Sportage – the body style that's more likely to make it to Australian shores.
The longer body and wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) can be distinguished by a unique C-pillar, which leads from the rear side window into a third window pane over the cargo area, rather than serving as the car's rear-most structural, body-coloured pillar, as seen on short-wheelbase prototypes spied in Europe in recent months.
While heavy camouflage makes specific design differences hard to discern, a side-by-side comparison of short- and long-wheelbase prototypes (below) suggests the additional body length will be concentrated behind the rear wheels to increase boot space, as the lengths of both models' rear doors – and in turn second-row space for passengers – appear to be similar.
Pictured: Long-wheelbase (top) and short-wheelbase (bottom) versions of the new Kia Sportage.
The availability of two wheelbase options with the new Sportage matches its twin under the skin, the Hyundai Tucson, which offers a short-wheelbase option for European markets, and a long-wheelbase option for the US and other regions – the latter adding 130mm of overall length, 75mm of which comes from the wheelbase.
Given only the longer of the pair will be offered with the new Tucson in Australia, expect its Kia twin to follow suit come its local launch in the fourth quarter of 2021 – though Kia Australia has yet to officially confirm which wheelbase will be offered Down Under.
The new images also provide a better look at the new Sportage's front-end design, specifically its vertical, C-shaped LED daytime-running lights similar in appearance to independent renderings created from spy photos in recent months.
The 2021 Kia Sportage will make its full debut by July 2021, the company has confirmed, with an Australian launch pencilled in for the fourth quarter of 2021 (October to December inclusive).