Our follower Shyn Hyeon Uk sent us this picture of a mysterious camouflaged SUV caught in South Korea. He told us the proportions were similar to the new Tucson, but was different to this one or any model we can have listed as “under development”, but clearly from Hyundai Motor Group. So the only option remaining is the 5th gen Sportage that we had not yet seen, and the thing is, after rumours of delay the new Sportage should be already be finishing its test, like the Tucson, and to be launched before the end of the year, but is not.
What we know so far?
As you can see in the picture below and from Kia side, all models we have announced on Hyundai Motor Group 2020 Launch Plan were already released (Bongo 3 EV, Sorento & Sorento HEV) or have been spied (Sedona-Carnival) but there’s no trace about the Sportage, that like Tucson, were scheduled to be released in 2020 as Hyundai’s counterpart.
According to the latest reports about the 5th generation Sportage, back in December 2019, Kia Motors was already developing a new iteraction of its sporty SUV with two bodies, so that means includes a long-wheel base version that will expands the interior space by increasing the existing short body, wheel base and rear overhang.
Initially, Kia Motors expected to launch long body versions of the new Sportage in major markets including South Korea and Europe. This is attributable to Kia’s recent efforts to secure a full range of SUV products, diversification of products due to the weakening of the semi-mid-size SUV market, and expectations of the revival of the first-generation Sportage Grand (Longbody) after 20 years (pictured above).
This longer body could have arrived to the new Tucson too, but now is confirmed that will have only the regular version, which is also bigger but still a 5-seater in order to not compete with Santa Fe. In the case of Kia, they explained at that time that the longbody will only be released in China.
So back in the article, the real thing is there’s not any picture or information yet of the next-gen Sportage prototype and should be already testing in the road, like the Tucson (spied for the first time in July 2019 and to be released in August 2020) and we haven’t even seen a test mule or camouflaged prototype.
So we have surfed the korean forums in other to get some info and we read the last week on Korean forum Bobaedream, were an user said the new Sportage is delayed due to a change in design, and now rescheduled to mid 2021. Could be this design change the reason of Luc Donckerwolke’s resign at Hyundai Motor Group? This is an assumption or could be one of the reasons of this decision. Remember that Sportage is a vehicle that sells 500,000 units per year, so we are talking about a lot of money.
I remember a story related to the development of current Sportage QL, where each country held a visit at R&D Center in Namyang, South Korea to meet the “QL” before the launch and share their thoughts in front of Peter Schereyer. After the success of the 3rd generation or “SL”, all of this people representing each markets said it was awful and Peter said he designed the car that way and nobody will change it. So who knows if this time Luc didn’t have that much power.