Perhaps no product has done more to help shift Kia’s image than the Stinger sedan, and to keep things fresh, the automaker has unveiled a mid-cycle move updating its looks while adding more tech features and a new, high-performance turbo-4 cylinder.
One of the goals for the 2022 Kia Stinger is to move the fastback a bit more upmarket, in keeping with the brand’s overall shift. And while this isn’t a complete makeover, the update offers hints of what’s to come as Kia prepares to introduce an all-new design language, dubbed “Opposites United,” with the launch of its new battery-electric vehicle, the EV6, later this year.
“The Stinger confidently shows Kia’s ability to build a sport sedan that can compete — and beat — the best the world has to offer,” said Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia Motors North America. “We continue to push Stinger to new heights as it is the catalyst behind our dynamic model line-up.”
The most notable updates to the 2022 model can be found under the hood. Kia adds a new, 2.5-liter turbo-4 delivering 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 45 hp over the outgoing 2.0T inline-4, Kia says.
That comes without a sacrifice in fuel economy, the estimated mileage of the new turbo-4 coming in at 22 mpg city, 32 highway and 25 combined with the rear-wheel-drive package. For the AWD model it’s estimated at 21/29/24 mpg.
The top-end 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 is carried over, but it gets a bump in power. It also receives a new electronically controlled variable exhaust that Kia claims will deliver an even “more visceral experience.” Paired with an 8-speed automatic, the V-6 now punches out 368 hp — a small 3 hp bump over the previous version — and 376 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is estimated at 18/25/20 for the RWD package, 17/24/20 for AWD.
The bump in power was something Stinger fans had been hoping for. The Stinger gave Kia a bit of an edge, debuting at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. It nearly capturing the 2018 North American Car of the Year honor, finishing second.
“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,” Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC, told TheDetroitBureau.com.
Exterior and interior styling changes
From a visual perspective, the 2022 Stinger coming to the U.S. largely picks up the changes that were introduced in the Korean market for the ’21 model year. The most notable details are a switch to full LED lighting, the addition of a larger quad exhaust design, and new 18- and 19-inch geometric alloy wheels.
The Stinger’s cabin adds new black gloss and polished chrome accents on the instrument panel, ambient mood lighting, and revised stitching and fabrics, depending on the trim level.
A new Scorpion Special Edition debuts in late spring and adds:
- Select exterior colors: Snow White, Aurora Black, and Ceramic Silver
- Rear spoiler
- Blacked out fender garnish, side mirror caps, and darkened exhaust tips
- Unique black wheels
- Interior carbon fiber pattern trim
All Stinger models now will feature a 10.25-inch touchscreen with built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wireless smartphone charging now comes standard. Remote start now will be offered using both a smartphone app and a new button on the keyfob. All new Stingers will feature built-in modems which will enable additional functionality, including over-the-air updates of vehicle software.
The TFT driver information display grows slightly larger and the Kia Blind Spot View Monitor now is available on the Stinger. It uses side mirror-mounted cameras to display an image on the digital gauge cluster when the turn signal is activated.
The 2022 Kia Stinger also gets new advanced driver assistance technology on top of existing systems like forward collision warning with automated emergency braking. Among the new features, the Stinger will auto-brake if a driver tries to make a left turn into oncoming traffic.
There are now two ways to remote start the Stinger. Either using the smartphone app or with a new key fob button. All 2022 Stingers will have built-in modems.
The 2021 Korean version of the Stinger signaled the likelihood of a price increase reflecting the brand’s overall move upmarket. The outgoing U.S. Stinger starts at $33,090. The 2022 base Stinger GT-Line model will climb $3,000, to $36,090 (all figures excluding a $1,045 delivery fee). A well-equipped Stinger GT2 will go for $51,290 before options.
The upward movement in pricing reflects the new features added for 2022, starting with the 2.5-liter turbo-four engine, said Russell Wager, Kia vice president of marketing, during a meeting of the Automotive Press Association on Tuesday.
But the carmaker has to be careful at a time when millions of American motorists are migrating from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. Kia sold a mere 742 Stingers last month, a 30% decline from February 2020. Sales so far this year are off 20% following a decline in 2020. The risk would be turning Stinger into a halo car without a buyer base.
“We’re happy with the sales but we’d like more,” acknowledged Wager. He is confident, if anything, the updates, starting with the new engine, will “address one of the deficiencies” potential customers addressed, the need for “more power.” If anything, “We see opportunity for growth.”
Production of the 2022 Kia Stinger already has begun. Company officials expect to see the first U.S. deliveries to begin shortly.