WHO NEEDS spy photos? Images leaked this morning from Europe's patent office have revealed the full exterior styling of Kia's next generation Sportage CUV.
Based on the dynamic Kia Kue concept revealed in 2007, the new Sportage bears the more recently developed â€˜Schreyer Lineâ€™ grille design, now a common feature for all new Kia models.
The new Sportage shares its platform with the Hyundai Tucsonâ€™s successor in the upcoming 2010 ix35. Retaining the â€˜compact SUVâ€™ layout of the current model, the Sportage is a smaller alternative to the roomier seven-seat Sorento.
As with its siblings in the Kia line-up, the Sportage will likely be offered in two specification levels: an entry-level Si, and a more heavily-featured SLi model. Also possible is a range-topping â€˜Platinumâ€™ model (currently offered as part of the Grand Carnival and the Sorento model line-up).
Although difficult to spot in the patent images, earlier spy photos show that the new Sportage will feature integrated Daytime Running Lights in the headlight housings.
Itâ€™s too early to know exactly which engines will be offered with the next-generation Sportage, but it is likely to share the ix35â€™s 123kW 2.0 litre petrol and 102kW 2.0 litre R-series diesel engines.
Kia has offered no word on when the new Sportage will be officially unveiled. Earlier speculation had pointed to December's LA Auto Show and this month's Detroit Auto Show, but March's Geneva Motor Show would seem the next likely date.