UPDATE: The 2016 Kia Sportage was spied entirely uncovered! We’ve added the photo in the gallery.
This past weekend, the United States’ most famous desert race, Best in the Desert, took place, which is essentially a scaled down version of the world-famous Baja 500/1000, though BITD takes place between Reno, NV and Las Vegas, NV.
For a desert location such as the one that spans nearly the whole state of Nevada, it’s really not unusual to see automobile manufacturers out and about, testing their research and development mules for future models.
And that’s what racer and BITD participant, Chris Barnett saw while staging his UTV-class racer with his team for the competition. As they were preparing to compete, he spotted a series of camouflaged test mules cross his vision, in which case, like most us, he busted out his smart phone to take some pictures.
Judging by the basic shapes and the details with the body work, the sedan is clearly a test mule for an updated Hyundai Genesis sedan, rumored to gain a new twin-turbocharged V6 while also being facelifted halfway through its lifecycle. Though accompanying it was a larger vehicle, a crossover and according to Barnett in a quick Facebook chat, the two were clearly moving about together. And that could only indicate one thing: it’s most likely Kia’s new Sportage crossover, due for a full reveal at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Hyundai’s currently line of crossovers are in no need of updating as the Santa Fe just received a facelift and the new 2016 Tucson is already out (click here for our first drive review). Additionally, the Kia Sorento was just launched and has been on sale for some time now. Given how we’re told to be expecting a new Sportage at Frankfurt, it can only mean the crossover test mule featured is the new Sportage.
This can be seen from the similar window-trim line on the doors as the current Sportage and additionally, consider that Kia and Hyundai are corporate partners. We can also compare the shapes with the visionary sketches of the new Sportage that Kia just released. Obviously the production model will be toned down significantly, but at least with these two visual pieces, we can put together an idea as to what expect visually on the outside.
As previously reported, the new Sportage aims to move upmarket, similarly to the new Sorento and will incorporate the company’s new signature “tiger nose” grille, with accompanying LED daytime running lights, all of which are at the hands of Kia’s current chief designer, formerly of Audi, Peter Schreyer.
Expect a full debut in the coming weeks before the 2015 IAA.
– By: Chris Chin
Hat tip to Chris Barnett!
Sketches Source: Kia