We could be looking at the final spy shots of the fifth-generation Sportage as the latest intel suggests Kia is planning to unveil the new compact crossover in June. Caught testing in full production attire in Europe, the Hyundai Tucson's sister model had slightly less camouflage, revealing some of its sheet metal and design elements.
Peeking through the mesh disguise are the unusually shaped headlights that should give the NQ5-generation Sportage a distinctive look. You can tell this prototype is ready to lose the disguise as there are cutouts in the camo for the front parking sensors. The grille looks fairly small (by today's standards) as it does not appear to meet the headlights since we can see the silver bumper between them.
Gallery: 2022 Kia Sportage spy photos from Europe
The side profile reveals quite a few changes compared to the outgoing model, starting off with the mirrors as they are now positioned lower on the doors rather than at the base of the A-pillar. In that area, there's now a small fixed glass that in theory should slightly improve outward visibility. Another noticeable change is the beltline finished in chrome, which gradually rises towards the rear pillar instead of being almost flat like on the current Sportage.
Moving at the back, one of the images shows the turn signal has been relocated to the main taillight assembly, meaning it's no longer mounted lower in the bumper where it's difficult to see from behind if you're too close. The prototype sat relatively high on the road since we can see quite a lot of its innards, including the independent rear suspension and a good chunk of the exhaust system.
The test vehicle appears to be the standard-wheelbase version and we're hearing some markets (such as China) will be getting a roomier LWB model. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains are likely in the offing seeing as how the Tucson has been heavily electrified and an educated guess tells us the Sportage will borrow many of the bits from its platform-sharing cousin.
Spy shots of the interior are not available in this set, but a prototype was spotted in South Korea earlier this year revealing most of its cabin. Expect a dual-screen setup à la Mercedes up front and a roomier rear compartment after stretching the distance between the two axles, especially in the case of the rumoured extended-wheelbase derivative.
With June right around the corner, the wait should be nearly over ahead of a market launch likely taking place before the end of 2021.