The third-generation Kia Sportage, which still looks pretty trendy in current facelift form, is five years old now. That means it’s time for a new one, and since sister brand Hyundai has already fired its bullet in the form of the third-gen Tucson – unveiled in February this year – the new Sportage should be out before the year ends.

Our latest set of spyshots show the 2016 Sportage testing in the Swiss Alps. Compared to previous sightings, the mid-size SUV rival to the Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5 (and in Europe, the Ford Kuga), shows for the first time its new front end without the previous black bag cover.

The position of the headlamps versus the grille could hint at a face that resembles the KX3 B-segment SUV that surfaced in China late last year, a departure from the current one-piece headlamp-grille arrangement. Zoom in on the grille and you’ll see Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ outline and ‘diamond studs’ as seen on big brother Sorento. The headlamps extend quite far into the front wings.

The new Sportage’s front end could look similar to the KX3 B-segment SUV pictured here

The side profile and greenhouse of this mule appears pretty similar to the current car, but there are some changes at the back. The license plate is now located on the tailgate and not the bumper, while the tail lamps feature triple-stripe U-shaped graphics. Lastly, the mule here is trying on some funky wheels that look a bit like those on the Rio facelift.

Expect a brand new interior and the regular range of Hyundai-Kia MPI engines for our market, although the Cerato Koup’s Turbo GDI motor or the R diesel engine would make things a lot more interesting.

Current third-gen Kia Sportage facelift