Kia promises new design direction with Sportage in Frankfurt

Although Kia's renderings leave much to the imagination, the Korean automaker notes in a press release that its new Sportage small SUV, to be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show, indicates "the future face of Kia."

Kia teased the unveiling of an updated Sportage model today, a redesign for the fourth generation of the small SUV, with renderings that will likely bear little resemblance to the actual car. In an associated press release, Kia touts the "bold, progressive design" of the new Sportage, and promises it shows off "the future face of Kia."

The Sportage is an important car for Kia, as its practical form factor makes it suitable for worldwide markets. This new version, the Sportage's fourth generation, was designed in Frankfurt, at Kia's European design studio. Appropriate to its provenance, Kia will unveil the production Sportage at the Frankfurt auto show next month.

Typical of design renderings for new cars, the new Sportage perches on immense wheels that push the wheel arches up and out. A low greenhouse and no visible door openings create a streamlined look for the body, but would not lend towards practical visibility or cabin space.

Kia released renderings to tease the new Sportage model, to be unveiled in Frankfurt next month. Kia

The front end of the rendering reveals a few likely clues to the production vehicle. Kia's corporate design language is present in the "tigernose" grille, an element seen on other Kia models. The integration of the headlights into the front fenders mimics the look of the Porsche Cayenne.

The rear shows tail lights integrated into a contour line wrapping across the tailgate.

Although Kia released no specifications for the car, the current Sportage's direct-injection turbocharged two-liter engine should carry over, although with output at 260 horsepower, it could afford to be downsized. The six-speed automatic transmission could also gain a few cogs, as more eight- and nine-speed transmissions find their way into new cars.

This new Kia Sportage should appear next year in the US as a 2017 model.

Kia notes that the new Sportage will show off a design direction that will promulgate through its lineup. Kia