Despite the challenge of selling a luxury sports sedan in a market where buyers are rabid for crossovers, Kia plans to update its Stinger 5-door fastback for 2022, with details to be revealed in March 16.
Sales of the sedan have never equaled those of its German luxury rivals, although its performance is impressive given its place within a mainstream brand. Despite its upscale allure, the Stinger retains Kia’s knack for value: it’s a midsized premium European-style GT selling at a premium compact price.
On sale since fall 2017, the Stinger’s best year was its first, the 2018 model year, with 16,806 units sold. Last year, Kia sold 12,556, a 25% decline from 2018.
That’s enough to outsell some American and British luxury rivals, but not enough to overcome Japanese and German competition. However, it does outsell the Genesis G70, a sports sedan from Hyundai’s luxury division that shares the corporate FR platform and driveline, a 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 365-hp twin-turbocharged DOHC V-6.
While Kia has not released any details on the 2022 Kia Stinger for the U.S. market, it has already been updated for the South Korean market for 2021 where, according to published reports, Kia is pushing the car upmarket with refreshed styling details, including LED lighting, larger exhaust tips – and a higher price tag. James Bell, director of Corporate Communications, told TheDetroitBureau in an email those updates will carry over to the U.S. model for 2022.
Inside, there’s more chrome, and aluminum or simulated carbon fiber trim, ambient lighting, premium Nappa leather, and a digital instrument cluster accompanied by a new 10.25-inch touchscreen.
Given that’s the same size screen used in the Telluride, don’t surprised to find it equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Kia’s UVO telematics system. Under the hood, look for a new 2.5-liter turbocharged four, good for 300 horsepower, to replace the current 2.0-liter turbo. The biggest difference from between the two markets will come from color options and trim details.
Investing in the halo
It points to an automaker continuing to offer a model in a segment few, if any, OEMs bother filling. One might wonder why they’re bothering given its declining sales.
“The Stinger is their halo vehicle. It gives them the image of performance that they want with Kia. It gives the brand the image of a performance car, not an appliance car, which a lot of mainstream brands have,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC.
In other words, this is the car that led the brand away from its value priced beginnings, facilitating acceptance of vehicles that have proven to be profitable breakthroughs for the brand, like the three-row Telluride SUV.
“The confidence that this vehicle conveyed, followed up by delivery of a machine globally acclaimed for its design, performance, and engagement, set this brand on a course to be accelerated by the Telluride, K5 and our upcoming EVs,” Bell noted in an email. “When the history books are written, the Stinger will be the lead image on this exciting new chapter.”