By on May 23, 2018

While it seems a little early for Kia’s Sportage to gain a visual refresh, the manufacturer apparently didn’t feel its new engine option should arrive unaccompanied. The automaker is launching a 48-volt diesel mild hybrid system in Europe for 2019, and chucked in a handful of aesthetic enhancements for good measure.

The jury’s still out on the motor’s availability in North America. While the diesel decline in Europe is palpable, they still sell a lot more passenger cars equipped with them than we do. However, since it does fall into that weird hybrid category, there’s a chance it could crop up in extremely limited numbers. We’d bank on seeing a mild hybrid system from Kia make its way to the U.S. and Canada soon, only coupled to a gasoline motor. But expect to see some upgraded bodywork and interior touches for the coming model year. 

Visual updates for the 2019 model take a minimalist approach but work well as a whole. Front and rear bumpers illicit a more premium appearance, making the new version look like a higher-trimmed sporting variant of the old one. The tail lamps have undergone a subtle redesign and the reverse lights are now stacked atop the low-mounted indicators.

Kia also added some tasteful changes to the fog lamps and new wheel designs in every size. Optional extras include a chrome trim pieces on higher trims, some new paint colors, and metallic skid plates.

Interior revisions include a new steering wheel, revised instrument cluster, and new two-tone upholstery. Kia’s also offering its Smart Cruise Control setup with Stop & Go, Driver Attention Warnings, and a multi-camera surround system to help with parking.

For European customers, Kia intends to offer a 2.0-liter ‘R’ diesel engine paired with the aforementioned 48-volt hybrid system. The electrical components will eventually be affixed to gasoline models and, when they are, you can expect to see it in North America. Euro-spec Sportages also gain a downsized 1.6-liter diesel, which replaces the 1.7-liter and uses common-rail direct injection.

The crossover’s domestic motors have yet to be announced, but we have little reason to believe Kia won’t carry over the engines from last year. These amount to a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Kia says it will specify pricing and alterations for the North American Sportage later this year.

[Images: Kia Motors]

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15 Comments on “2019 Kia Sportage Receives Mild-hybrid Diesel, Even Milder Visual Refresh...”

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The previous and current generations of the Sportage are nothing short of handsome.

    • 0 avatar

      Here’s to hoping the next Sorento, or some version of it, gets some of those good looks.

      I’m still shocked the Venza failed. Maybe it was just before its time, like the ZDX. I can see large sedans like the Maxima/Cadenza/Taurus etc. being replaced by style-focused midsize 2 row crossovers.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m surprised about the Venza also. The ZDX was a bit goofy-looking to my eye, but the Venza was handsome. There are 6-8 of them in my neighborhood, so I still see them constantly.

        • 0 avatar

          Venza’s downfall was the highlander. For the same money , you can get in a highlander which sits higher and a lot more interior room and a third row(whether used or not).

          The stereotype around the time was the Venza was for a former Camry owning retiree or single older woman with a dog.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I liked the Venza as well. If they had jacked up the ride height just a bit more, it might’ve sold better.

    • 0 avatar

      Kyree, I totally agree. They almost look like a Porsche knockoff from some angles. And I really like the updates as a whole.

  • avatar

    With a diesel in the new Sante Fe, I wouldn’t bet against this seeing a version of that same 2.2L diesel in the US. Or maybe even the 1.6L.

    • 0 avatar

      >With a diesel in the new Sante Fe, I wouldn’t bet against this seeing a version of that same 2.2L diesel in the US. Or maybe even the 1.6L.

      I guess you missed the part about “The jury’s still out on the motor’s availability in North America.”

    • 0 avatar

      The Sorento is also getting the diesel.

      Anyhow, while the changes to the headlights are subtle, they make a world of difference (now the front end more matches the really well done rear).

  • avatar

    This is nice and all, but after just finding out that at 100K miles, UVO stops working because Kia never bothered to come up with a pay model for vehicles that went past that, I’m sure not signing up for a hybrid system, or any Kia for that matter. They’ve had five years to come up with one and won’t reply to me on Facebook, either. Customer service could only tell me on the phone that he was sorry and they are working on it. I can surely agree that they are SORRY.

  • avatar

    Front and rear bumpers illicit a more premium appearance,


    Optional extras include a chrome trim pieces on higher trims

    The “a” is superfluous.

    Cars can’t drive themselves without humans, and writers can’t just use Spellcheck to proofread their articles. Brains and good judgement have not been surpassed.

    Yer welcome.

    • 0 avatar

      “Front and rear bumpers illicit a more premium appearance,”

      Sadly, nothing looks premium about any “crossover.” These look like cars for the mental patient.

  • avatar

    Puffer fish are much more adorable in the water. To my eyes the styling of this model peaked circa 2011. Styling is subjective, I know, but the cleaner Audi-esque lines of the older models were preferable to me.

    Is the former Audi designer still with the company or has he been poached again?

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