Fresh Venom? Updated Kia Stinger Debuts Overseas

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Everyone’s favorite rear-drive South Korean liftback sedan, the Kia Stinger stands to gain a refresh for the coming year. Appearing in its home market Wednesday, the ’21 Stinger aims for added aggression, but Kia didn’t lose its mind applying this facelift.

Details on powertrain alterations, if there are any (there might be!) are off the table for now, but the rest we can see with our own eyes.

For ’21, the Stinger sees new headlamps in the multifaceted reflector LED style, plus new running lights. Those headlamps, when not illuminated, appear darker and more slimming. Changed are afoot out back, too, with redesigned lights now spanning the width of the car. Don’t worry, there’s gimmicks to be had.

“The new turn signals comprise a collection of 10 individual LED units each, arranged in a grid pattern to mimic the appearance of a checkered flag, used in motorsport to signal the end of a race,” Kia stated.

Buyers of V6-powered Stingers gain the option of bumping up the size of their shiny exhaust tips, which will be surrounded by a meaner-looking diffuser. Some markets, probably North America will see a “Dark Package” that applies a coat of gloss black over the two aforementioned features. Our market will get a “Black Package” that adds further customization, Kia confirms.

Going Black means appropriately inky mirror caps, side trim, and lightweight 19-inchers in a matte finish, plus something Stinger buyers apparently want: a rear wing. Hey, if Toyota’s putting them on TRD Camrys, you should be allowed to get one on your Stinger.

Inside, there’s less change to be had. New color combinations greet buyers, with three choices of Nappa leather on offer (beige, black, and red), as well as black suede with red stitching. An upgraded 10.25-inch infotainment screen appears, plus ambient mood lighting. If 64 colors aren’t enough, you’re too picky a customer.

As previously stated, other market-specific changes will be announced at a later date. Will the Stinger swap its base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder for Hyundai Group’s new 2.5-liter? Is the 3.3-liter canned in favor of the new 3.5-liter? Time will tell if the powerplants appearing in new Genesis products show up here, though the first possibility seems like the best bet.

A niche model for Kia, the Stinger occupies an endangered segment, so sustaining buyer interest is key. Boosted standard horsepower would serve the model well. Interestingly, U.S. Stinger sales rose 31 percent, year over year, in July. Despite the pandemic and springtime lockdown, sales of the model are down only 3 percent on a year-to-date basis.

[Images: Kia Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Sckid213 Sckid213 on Aug 12, 2020

    Checkered race flag rear signals – the Stinger truly is the modern-day Pontiac Grand Prix. The interior could use some upgrading. I had a Stinger as an Uber (pre-Covid); the driver had just bought it that week. The interior was fine, a bit plasticky. (Again, modern-day Pontiac.) Of note: The driver originally was going to buy an Optima but got upsold (?) into Stinger. He had no idea one was front-drive and one was rear-drive...all he knew is that the "Stinger is sportier." (Again, modern-day Pontiac.)

    • See 6 previous
    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Aug 13, 2020

      @Mark Savino Yeah, yeah. Without low rev pushrod engines it is not a Pontiac.

  • V16 V16 on Aug 12, 2020

    Kia deserves a round of applause for competing in the performance/hatchback sedan category. Buick Regal GS, "What could have been?"

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Aug 13, 2020

      I don't think some Buick dealers even knew they sold a GS during this last generation.

  • ToolGuy Honda is dreaming. And resting on its 'laurels' (French for 'posterior').
  • SCE to AUX Here's some advice - slow down. That's a great way to arrive home safely, without a ticket, with lower blood pressure, and more economically.
  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.