Kia has a promising year ahead of them. New management, updated cars, plus a structured model range are just some of the sweeping changes in the Korean automaker's Philippine operations. One of the updated models is the Sportage, although the changes aren't immediately visible the first time you see it.

Can you spot the differences in the 2019 Kia Sportage? image

At first glance, you'll be forgiven for thinking that there's nothing new with the crossover at all. However, upon closer inspection, you will find very discreet changes in the 2019 model. The biggest clue that this is, indeed, the 2019 model are the reshaped bumper corners. Edgier and more defined than before, it has faux vents which actually serve as the new fog light housings. Also, a piece of trimming then runs across the lower half of the bumper, connecting the two faux corner intakes.

Other changes? There are newer wheel designs available for the Sportage, depending on the variant selected. The rear bumper also gets a slight tweak while the tail lights gets rearranged clusters. There are, however more changes on the inside. It gets a new three-spoke steering wheel, redesigned aircon vents and climate control system, and an updated dual gauge cluster. Also, the Sportage (finally) gets a touchscreen with various functions, regardless of the variant chosen.

Can you spot the differences in the 2019 Kia Sportage? image

But perhaps the most significant change isn't visual, but rather mechanical. While it still uses the same 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, it is now paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Prior to the refresh, the Sportage shifted via a six-speed automatic unit. Having tested its mechanical twin, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the new transmission could deliver impressive fuel economy. Also, Kia Philippines has dropped the all-wheel drive variants in the country, meaning all Sportages from this moment on are strictly front-wheel drive.

Prices for the 2019 Kia Sportage are as follows:

Sportage 2.0 CRDi LX: Php 1,545,000

Sportage 2.0 CRDi EX: Php 1,820,000