Following reports that the Hyundai Sonata may not be long for this world, there have been rumbling that the fate of the Kia Stinger and K5 sedan may also be in jeopardy.
The reasoning is obvious. After years of crossovers seeing an increased share of the global market, automakers have been dumping sedans so they can sell products that come with higher margins. A sizable percentage of the population has also been sold on the theory that higher-riding vehicles are automatically safer than their road-hugging counterparts. While that is endlessly debatable between models, there are aspects of crossovers that make real sense for the modern era. Storage capacity is typically better than what you’d find on a similarly sized sedan and the lengthened suspension travel can help the vehicle absorb the impact of pothole-laden streets that seem to be cropping up everywhere.
The unlikely Kia Stinger enters the coming year with mild design and content changes in tow, but one thing that isn’t disappearing is choice. Come 2021, there’ll be more of it, at least as far as powertrains are concerned.
Rather than swap out the model’s base engine for a more potent — but pricier — mill, Kia decided to leave well enough alone and slot something hotter between the entry-level 2.0-liter four-cylinder and twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6.
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.
While Kia has managed to add a fair number of crossovers to its lineup, successfully catching up to modern consumer tastes, it hasn’t scarified sedans to make that happen. According to the manufacturer, this is because high-riding utility vehicles fail to match the driving experience of a ground-hugging sedan — something Korean automakers have a keen interest in since Hyundai launched N-badged performance models and Kia dropped the Stinger on our heads.
Once famous for their commitment to budget-friendly models frequently mentioned in amber alerts, the duo now manufacture vehicles people actually want to buy at a price that’s frequently difficult to criticize. Following Hyundai/Kia for the last few years has been analogous to that scene in every teen drama where the awkwardly nerdy girl comes down the stairs for prom dressed to the nines and brimming with newfound confidence. Except in the Hyundai/Kia version, she winks suggestively and offers to pitch in for dinner.
Having convinced themselves that they’ve found a winning strategy, Koran automakers are doubling down on what’s worked already. That includes maintaining a clear distinction between crossovers and sedans — the latter of which Kia believes holds the secret to enjoying yourself behind the wheel.
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.
Kia earned applause for being ballsy enough to launch a rear-drive sports sedan at a time when buyers were heading in the other direction. Don’t go, Kia said, we’ve got a more affordable option for traditional driving!
Rear- or all-wheel drive greeted buyers looking for something fresh, with four- or six-cylinder power doing the motivating. Since its late-2017 arrival, the Stinger’s sales have fallen off a bit from last year’s tally, when it sold in low but consistent numbers. For 2020, the brand may be looking to reduce build configurations.
That means less four-cylinder choice and the removal of the model’s entry-level model. Apparently, this won’t cause much pain to your wallet.
It’s strange how, after an automaker goes to the trouble of building a car aimed at the perpetually cranky enthusiast crowd, you can sometimes forget the vehicle exists. That’s the case with the Kia Stinger. Introduced in 2017, the liftback sedan — offered in turbo four-cylinder and V6 guise, rear- or all-wheel drive — still eludes some minds when thinking of modern sport sedans.
Well, Kia doesn’t want you to forget. To sucker-punch consumers back into coherence, the Korean brand brought a new, limited edition variant of the Stinger to the New York Auto Show, and the changes are more than paint deep.
That headline has two meanings, at least as pertains to the 2018 Stinger.
One meaning: Watch your right foot. It’s easy to quickly get this car above the speed limit.
Meaning number two: When I first drove the Stinger, I harped about its tendency for greater than desired body roll in corners. Well, that tendency doesn’t show up in urban commuting, because I wasn’t driving the car the way I did in the California mountains during its launch.
Drive it a little less hard, and its biggest flaw stays hidden. Problem solved.
Kia has done a remarkable job at building a brand here in the U.S., and has done so without treading the well-worn path of appealing to enthusiasts. No, the Kia brand is built on solid small cars and utilities, with price and a great warranty being top of mind. Not squealing tires.
You knew that had to change. There is plenty of money in Kia’s corporate warchest to move away from the meat-and-potatoes commuter appliances to a nice, exciting cake or pie. Thus, the 2018 Kia Stinger GT — a tasty treat for the eyes and the butt dyno. But does it satisfy?
This is an interesting one. The Stinger is new territory for Kia, venturing into the sporty sedan marketplace generally inhabited by ze Germans and perhaps a few other fringe players. Certainly, in a world where the general public thirsts for crossovers and SUVs, it’ll never be the brand’s top seller.
Hasn’t stopped them from trying, though, and for this I applaud their efforts. Kia decided to give Stinger shoppers a choice of engines, allowing the base model to plunge into the low-$30,000 range. Is it worth a look? Or should one simply upgrade to the tasty 3.3-liter twin-turbo?
We told you recently about an odd issue Kia’s having with a select group of rear-drive Stinger sports sedans. It seems those painted in eye-catching Sunset Yellow have a tendency to flake and peel — like a Canadian at the beach. In short, the paint won’t stay on, and Kia traced the source back to some oil residue that made its way into the vibrant coating sprayed on a small number of Stingers.
In the U.S., just 400 special edition Sunset Yellow Stingers found buyers, making the issue quite limited in scope, but nonetheless troubling. Buyers won’t be happy once the sedan starts shedding its skin. Luckily, Kia has a plan.
Kia’s Stinger burst onto the automotive landscape in what seems like the rear-drive sedan’s twilight years, enlivening the lower end of the market with its pleasing profile, available twin-turbo V6, and palate of eye-catching colors. It’s one of those colors — Sunset Yellow — that’s causing headaches for the automaker.
Apparently, the Stinger might decide to shed that paint one day.
Considering how the popularity of crossover vehicles resulted in the industry-wide genocide of passenger cars, it is both strange and exciting to discuss a new sedan. While we haven’t reached the point where one could describe the situation as a blending of Children of Men and Disney’s Cars franchise, new models with a low center of gravity are becoming increasingly difficult to come by.
That’s why we’re glad Hyundai’s luxury Genesis division built the G70 and saw fit to allow the ability to option it with a manual transmission. You read that correctly; there is an automaker that builds a competitively priced luxury sedan that can be had with a manual transmission. However, buyers need to actually purchase these vehicles for the brand to rationalize that decision in the years to come.
Yesterday, TTAC covered news of the launch of a second-generation K900 model in the United States at the upcoming New York International Auto Show and Mobility Conference. Upon considering the K900 and its potential for success, some questions arose about the three different badges on offer from the Hyundai-Kia conglomerate, and what we might do with them.
Where does Hyundai go from here?
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