Competes with: Acura TLX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi S4, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50
Looks like: A more refined, slightly more aggressive version of the current Stinger
Powertrain: 255-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; new turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder making roughly 300 hp; updated twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 making approximately 368 hp (up from 365); eight-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Late 2020 or, more likely, early 2021
Sporty sedans may be falling out of favor as U.S. buyers prefer SUVs, but Kia is nevertheless updating its Stinger sports sedan. When those updates might hit our shores is unclear — the Korean automaker says the updated Stinger will go on sale in Korea this fall, with other markets to follow, but provides no specific model year. Further confusing things, Kia Motors America just announced that the 2021 Stinger will carry over unchanged from the 2020 model.
When asked, a Kia Motors America spokesperson said they couldn’t comment on future products, but it seems likely that this would make the updated Stinger a 2022 model, which means it wouldn’t go on sale until early 2021. Among the updates that will arrive … whenever … are a new, more-powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine option, mild exterior and interior updates, and additional and updated safety features.
The updated Stinger will get new headlights and taillights that give it a moderately more aggressive appearance. The global version will also get a new LED rear turn signal that mimics a checkered flag, though it’s unclear whether this would comply with U.S. regulations.
New 18- and 19-inch wheel options will be available, as well as optional wider-bore exhaust tips on “higher-performance” Stingers.
Dark Package and Black Package are new options, too, following the dark exterior accents trend. The Dark Package adds black exhaust tips, a black rear diffuser and a black rear Stinger emblem. The Black Package includes black fender trim and mirror caps, a revised rear wing and lightweight matte black 19-inch wheels.
Inside the updated Stinger, buyers will see a new optional 10.25-inch infotainment screen with Kia’s latest software and the ability to connect up to two devices at once via Bluetooth. The standard screen is now 8 inches, replacing the old 7-inch standard screen. Both screens include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and “depending on market” the 8-inch screen does so wirelessly. The standard gauge cluster now has a central 4.2-inch screen — up from 3.5 inches — and a 7-inch fully digital version is optional.
Additional changes include new Nappa leather upholstery options, new contrast stitching on the dash and doors, and optional aluminum or faux-carbon-fiber trim on the center console.
Engine and Transmission
Kia is giving the Stinger a new, mid-level engine option: a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder. According to Kia’s global site, this engine will produce 304 ps (that’s metric horsepower), which converts to 300 hp in the U.S., and 422 Newton-meters of torque, which translates to 311 pounds-feet. It’s unclear that these will be the final power figures for U.S. models, so stay tuned.
The Stinger’s other two engines — a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 — will continue, though Kia has tweaked the V-6’s exhaust to produce a more rumbly noise in Sport mode and what it estimates will be an additional 3 hp, which would bring the total to 368. Its 376 pounds-feet of torque is unchanged. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder will still make 255 hp and 260 pounds-feet.
All engines will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and will likely be available with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Some markets will also gain a remote-start feature.
Kia says the Stinger’s existing standard and available safety features will carry over, though there are updates. Standard blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert has been enhanced to blind spot collision avoidance — not just detecting vehicles but actively attempting to avoid collisions — and the rear cross-traffic alert is now rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, detecting and attempting to avoid potential collisions when reversing.
The available forward collision warning now has greater detection range and can detect oncoming vehicles when turning across traffic. The Stinger’s optional lane keeping assist will also detect the edge of a road, not just lane markings, and the optional driver attention warning system now works at speeds up to 130 mph and will alert if the driver does not respond to the car ahead pulling away from a stop.
New safety features for the Stinger include semi-autonomous highway driving assist and lane follow assist, and the Stinger gets Kia’s Blind-Spot View Monitor that uses cameras to display what is beside the car when the turn signal is activated. For additional occupant safety, Kia added a safe exit alert system, designed to warn occupants if they are about to open a door into the path of oncoming traffic, and a rear occupant alert system to warn drivers to check the backseat for children or pets before leaving the vehicle.
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As we noted earlier, it’s unclear just when the updated Stinger might reach our shores. The earliest possible date would be sometime after the coming fall, though it seems more likely that it will arrive in 2021 as a 2022 model.
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