More Power on the Way for Kia Stinger?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
more power on the way for kia stinger

It’s a car-heavy day here at TTAC, and thank God for that. These vehicles still exist, and it seems automakers who stubbornly continue to field ’em haven’t given up on the idea of improving three-box products.

That said, it’s hard to think of a mainstream automaker that offers more choice in cars than Kia Motors, and one of its more (most?) interesting products could be due for an upgrade.

Australia outlet Car Sales reports that, at least for the Down Under market, the refreshed Stinger scheduled to land for the 2021 model year will generate more oomph in uplevel guise. By that we mean the V6 model, which happens to also be the one most consumers actually buy. Carrying a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter under its hood (good for 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque), the Stinger is a liftback, rear-drive/AWD alternative to the more mainstream FWD Optima.

For 2021, sources claim the Stinger will carry the same engine, slightly upgraded in output thanks to exhaust system changes, rather than the new turbo 3.5-liter V6 set to proliferate through the Genesis lineup. Bringing up the bottom of the model’s range will be the same turbo 2.0-liter, good for 255 hp and 260 lb-ft.

This is Australian-market stuff, and the automaker could decide to temp buyers in the much larger market of North America with something hotter, either on the top or bottom end. Models like the G70, G80, GV80 crossover, and Hyundai Sonata N-Line offer a turbo 2.5-liter with either 290 or 300 horses and 310 or 311 lb-ft.

Hyundai Motor Group’s 3.5-liter makes 375 hp and 391 lb-ft, which would still position it above a better-breathing 3.3L. We’ll see if this product planning holds true for U.S. Stingers. As the sportiest member of the Kia clan, you’d think the brand would want to outfit the sedan with as much off-the-shelf power as possible.

Introduced for the 2018 model year, the Stinger was an unexpected surprise in a hollowing-out midsize sedan market. A niche model, it’s outsold by all but the Sasquatch-scarce K900 luxury barge and Cadenza upper-midsizer. Sales fell in 2019 to the tune of 17.5 percent.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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5 of 16 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Apr 14, 2020

    If the Sonata GT and the G70 get the 2.5 turbo as the base engine, they'll be on my list ahead of the Stinger. Especially if the G70 keeps the 6 speed manual as a possibility or Sonata turns out to be amusingly fast.

    • See 2 previous
    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Apr 15, 2020

      @dal20402 By the time I make my next purchase I figure I'll be able to be "selfish" about purchasing a car for driving pleasure and not worrying too much about cargo capacity etc. A car like a G70 manual allows me to be fully engaged and I'll be in a position to not worry about the trunk only being 10 cubic ft or something like that. The 4 doors and back seat means I can still say: "Yes Sweetie, I can still pick up the kids from school."

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Apr 15, 2020

    i'm with the Principal.The styling of the G70 is more appealing.If the 2.5 T is avail. with 6mt I'll move my fun car timeline up.I suspect the dealership experience would be better w/ a Genesis as well.

  • FreedMike I'll welcome as many cars like this as I can, but I think Acura's "right move" was to put the Accord Sport's 2.0T in the base model and sell it for thirty-five or so. That's a pretty compelling performance / value proposition.
  • Wjtinfwb I'll certainly admit to a bit of nostalgia that drives my appreciation for these 70's yachts, but there's more to it than that. It was an era that the Big 3 ruled the luxury market with the German's and British nothing but a beer fart in the marketplace. That changed drastically as the early '80s crept in but in 1977, a Mark V or Seville was where it was at. No rose colored glasses, they were not great cars, what they were was a great living room that you could ride to the office in. I grew up on a diet of Cadillac's, Lincoln and one big Chrysler before dad made the move to a 280SE in about '77. Impeccably built and very road worthy, dad initially didn't like the firm seats, clunky automatic transmission and very weak A/C. The exorbitant maintenance costs didn't help. But he enjoyed the driving characteristics enough to get another Benz, then a 733i, an Audi 5000S and a Jag XJ6. Compare these to today's Cadillac's (non- V) and Lincoln's that with the exception of the Escalade and Navigator, are boring and probably even more pedestrian than the Eldorado, Seville and Mark's were.
  • FreedMike I was lucky enough to grow up in a household with the two best German luxury sedans of the time - a manual '81 733i, and a '75 Mercedes 450SE. The BMW was a joy on back roads, and the Benz was a superb highway car. Good times. And both were dramatically better than the junkheap American luxury cars Dad had before.
  • Wjtinfwb A Celebrity Diesel... that is a unicorn. Those early A-bodies were much maligned and I'm sure the diesel didn't help that, but they developed into very decent and reliable transportation. Hopefully this oil-burner Chevy can do the same, it's worth keeping.
  • Wjtinfwb After S-classes crested the 40k mark in the early '80s, my dad moved from M-B to a BMW 733i Automatic. Anthracite gray over red leather, it was a spectacular driving car and insanely comfortable and reassuring on long interstate hauls. My mom, not really a car person, used the BMW to shuttle her elderly Mom back home to Pennsylvania from Miami. Mom and grandma both gushed with praise for the big BMW, stating she could have driven straight through the car was so comfortable and confidence inspiring. A truly great car that improved through the E38 generation, at which point the drugs apparently took hold of BMW styling and engineering and they went completely off the rails. The newest 7 series is a 100k abomination.