It's not setting any lap records.
We are used to seeing Nürburgring videos filled with knife-edged cornering, screaming engines, and tires howling in dismay. Not all action at the infamous track is so dramatic, however. This camouflaged SUV isn't out to set new performance benchmarks, but the 'Ring's hills and curves do offer a good environment for overall vehicle evaluation. Kia is taking full advantage of the location for continued testing of its next-generation Sportage.
This prototype appears to be the same one we caught in spy photos earlier in November, but the video certainly gives us better context for what's happening. The driver in this prototype isn't going slow by any means, but squeezing every ounce of performance from the small SUV isn't a priority. That's probably a good thing, because despite its sporty name, the Sportage isn't very keen on cornering like a sports car. The body loves to lean but that's okay – the Sportage's primary mission is to carry people in comfort.
Gallery: 2022 Kia Sportage Spy Shots
In that respect, the next Sportage will utilize the same platform as the Hyundai Tucson and could be available in two wheelbase lengths. That would likely depend on the market, with a long-wheelbase Sportage catering to areas where backseat legroom is a higher priority. We also expect to see multiple powertrain configurations including a hybrid arrangement, and actually, CarSpyMedia identifies this prototype as a plug-in hybrid.
As for styling, camouflage body wrap and false panels still obscure details front and rear, but we know the Sportage will adopt a sharper look that falls in line with other new offerings from Kia. That means a larger grille flanked by angular headlights and narrow taillights, though this particular test vehicle could still have placeholder lenses installed at the rear. The updated interior is still a mystery at this point as well.
We recently heard rumors that the Sportage will be revealed in April for the 2022 model year.