Kia has just given the fourth-generation Sportage its first refresh for the 2019 model year. Bearing a fresh new look, along with new technologies and a mild hybrid upgrade, Kia is set to keep a foothold of the lucrative C-segment crossover scene.

Starting with its exterior, the 2019 Kia Sportage recieves a sporty redesign thanks to new front and rear bumpers. In addition, both the headlights and taillights have been restyled as well to give the Sportage a fresh new look. There are also new wheel designs that are available in 16-, 17- and 19-inch sizes. Other changes included in the 2019 update are chrome silll trim pieces, metallic skid plates and five new exterior hues.

Kia gives the Sportage diesel hybrid power for 2019

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GT Line models come with more exterior equipment compared to standard models. For starters, it gets a black-painted front grill, gloss black and silver skid plate, dark chrome inserts on the side sills and tailgate, and slightly redesigned 19-inch alloy GT Line alloy wheels. Topping it all off are the dual exhaust rear valance and updated 'ice cube' LED foglights.

Inside the 2019 Sportage, the crossover gets subtle tweaks by way of a new three-spoke steering wheel, redesigned aircon vents and climate control system, and updated dual gauge cluster. Also, the refreshed Sportage is now available with either a 7-inch or 8-inch 'frameless' touchscreen infotainment systems. Finally, there's the new two-tone black-gray upholstery for the Sportage. For those that prefer something sportier, the GT Line comes with an all-black leather upholstery with red accents.

Kia gives the Sportage diesel hybrid power for 2019

Perhaps the most important upgrade seen on the 2019 Sportage is found under the hood. For its latest refresh, the Sportage is now available with the EcoDynamics+ mild diesel hybrid system. The system works by way of a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine that is helped along by a mild-hybrid starter generator (MHSG) powered by a 48V lithium-ion battery pack. Connected to the engine via a belt, the MHSG delivers an additional 10 kw of extra power under acceleration. According to Kia, this will reduce emissions as well as engine load for improved fuel efficiency.

It also comes with an inverter which seamlessly switches between 'motor' and 'generator' modes. When in generator mode, the system collects kinetic energy under braking or during decelartion. It then converts that energy to recharge the 48V battery pack to keep the MHSG running. It will also come with an automatic start/stop function for better fuel mileage. Official output figures have yet to be revealed for the EcoDynamics mild hybrid system.

For those that prefer a traditional turbo-diesel engine, the 2019 Sportage is also available with a new 1.6-liter engine. Called 'U3', it replaces the older 1.7-liter turbo-diesel from before and is available in two output ratings; 115 PS and 136 PS. When specified with the higher state of tune, the 1.6-liter U3 will come standard with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Kia also claimed that the U3 motor is by far their cleanest diesel engine to date.

Both the EcoDynamics+ mild hybrid system and 1.6-liter U3 engines are Euro6 compliant and offer lower emissions than the older engines.

Besides getting new engines and a more stylish exterior / interior, the 2019 Sportage also comes with new safety technologies. It gets adaptive cruise control (dubbed Smart Cruise Control), 360-degree around-view monitor system and driver attention warning.

Sales of the 2019 Kia Sportage will first begin in Q3 of 2018 in Europe.