FRANKFURT PREVIEW: 2016 Kia Sportage – Crossover Boldness

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The surging compact crossover market demands that carmakers bring their best, and Kia’s German-designed 2016 Sportage shows the boldness that’s required here.


We’ll see more of the 2016 Sportage at its upcoming September debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show on September 15.

The 2016 Sportage is German-designed in that it was primarily penned by Kia‘s European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany. Additional input was given by Kia‘s design centers in Namyang, Korea and Irvine, California.

A compelling crossover is exactly what Kia needs in its continuing effort to boost its brand equity, and the task here was to impart Kia‘s brand identifiers while evoking an emotional response.

The tiger-nose grille is the most distinctive identifier.


Although the grille’s look is the same  on the Sportage as other Kias, the  expression it wears on the Sportage is a little different. For instance, the Kia Cadenza is squinty, with headlights positioned low and close to the grille…


…while the Sportage mounts them higher for a younger look – tiger cub, maybe?


Those four-square fog lights are also shared with other Kias, like the Sedona minivan pictured below. So the Sportage is now more in line with its brethren, and it’s a step further into the evolotion of Kia’s brand in having its headlights separated from the grille.


From the side, the 2016 Sportage builds on the leaned-back look of the previous Sportage.


Details are simple and appealing. The shiny trim around the side windows is a tidy way to define the greenhouse…


…and it allows your eye to smoothly take in the car from front to rear. The triangular tail lights and hatch spoiler are lockstep with today’s crossover trends.


Big wheels are a big way for carmakers to make their crossovers stand out, and these 19-inchers more than do that job for the Sportage. The super-thin 45-series tire sidewalls emphasize the wheels they surround.


Kia says that its 2013 Provo concept inspired the Sportage’s rear, with its continuous band of tail lights across the back.


It’s a little more understated on the Sportage, where the lenses are held together by a shiny strip. Still, that along with the rear’s strong horizontal lines gives the Sportage a stable look. This is underlined by the low-mounted backup and directional lights and obligatory plastic skid plate between the two exhaust pipes.


Also obligatory in pretty much any new car is deep side sculpting.


We look forward to seeing more of the Sportage when it debuts at Frankurt.

For now, we have a pretty good sense of its style – with many likely crossover features imbued with the distinctive Kia look.

As Kia progresses, it is defining itself as being sportier and spicier than those in the dead-center mainstream, and the 2016 Sportage continues that trend.

Tell us in the comments – what do YOU think of this German-designed Kia?