The reveal of the 2023 Kia Sportage redesign showcases the automaker’s ongoing rebranding strategy with dramatic, futuristic looks.
Kia isn’t messing around with their $25 billion “Plan Shift” transformation strategy, as evidenced by the upcoming 2023 Kia Sportage redesign. Back in January, a new logo was unveiled as part of this plan which includes accelerating the release of new electric vehicles. That was followed by the all-electric EV6 sedan reveal, which illustrated the brand’s “Opposites United” design language. Now, the look is showcased on the all-new Kia Sportage to dramatic effect.
“Reinventing the Sportage gave our talented design teams a tremendous opportunity to do something new; to take inspiration from the recent brand relaunch and introduction of EV6 to inspire customers through modern and innovative SUV design. With the all new Sportage, we didn’t’ simply want to take one step forward but instead move on to a different level in the SUV class”, said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Design, during the Sportage design reveal.
While automaker marketing speak is known for fluffy language designed to make even the smallest update seemingly monumental, Mr. Habib is not overstating the impact of their new compact crossover in this case. Gone is the cartoonish front end and bulbous proportions, replaced with sheet metal that is futuristic, striking and mature all in the same breath.
Triangular headlights sit low on the front fascia, framed by sharp-edged, boomerang shaped daytime-running lights that should look killer at dusk. The full-width grille looks like an evolution of Kia’s “Tiger Nose” style, but – like the rest of the Sportage – with sharper angles. Unlike its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Tucson, which has also debuted a more angular look, the new Sportage looks more tied together and less busy.
Scalloped side panels fill out with sculpted rear haunches, topped by a belt line that sweeps up by the D-pillar and ends with a forward cant. This is complimented by a roofline that slopes down in the rear to give the new Kia Sportage a raked, almost coupe-ish look. The windows run all the way to the rear, unlike on the current version, which visually stretches the Sportage and makes it appear physically longer though dimensions have not yet been released.
Around back, angular tail lamps wrap around from the rear quarter panel and taper towards the center, flowing into a full-width, narrow light bar. A spoiler above this and a strong character line running across the tailgate below tie the backside together. On the whole, the exterior of the 2023 Kia Sportage redesign gives it looks unlike anything else on the road, which it needs to stand out in a crowded segment.
Based on the interior photos from Kia so far, the new Sportage cabin will be quite an upgrade over the last generation. The gauge cluster and infotainment screen are integrated into a single, sweeping display that bends toward the driver. It is framed by angular HVAC vents that run full-width on the passenger side. The center console has a gloss black finish and a rotary knob for transmission duty. As well, a dark blue and gray two-tone treatment is shown on the dash and seats. Granted, these images are likely the top-spec Sportage, but they clearly take the SUV upmarket.
Slotting between the wee Seltos and mid-size Sorento, the latest Sportage shares mechanical systems with the Hyundai Tucson. While powertrain details have not yet been shared, the 2022 Tucson currently runs on a 187 hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder motor with an 8-speed automatic transmission. A regular and plugin hybrid are on the horizon as is a sportier, N-line. It’s likely the new Sportage will feature similar underpinnings.
Given its June design reveal, the likelihood is we’ll see the new Kia Sportage redesign arriving in dealer lots early next year as a 2023 model. Until then, Kia is sure to continue teasing out more details around the design, features, tech, and powertrain configurations.