2021 is getting closer and closer every day, and the ever industrious and mostly COVID-19 free South Koreans over at Kia motors are ready to present their range topping car’s facelift. But first, as an owner (for 2.5 years now) I’ll say what I’d like to see in the new car:
1. a +400hp V6, +300hp I4 motor, both available with AWD
2. Dropping the diesel, possibly changing it for a hybrid.
3. Manual w/ LSD on the I4 motor like the Stinger’s smaller brother at Genesis
4. Fewer hard plastics inside (near center console, airbag cover)
5. Fully digital instrument cluster, larger infotainment screen
6. Removal of the fake hood vents (They actually cause problems in my experience, as if you wash your car and you don’t dry it perfectly water can hide below the vents and then squeeze out causing water marks)
7. Larger wireless charger and wireless apple carplay (I recently switched to a Note 10 + and it does not fit)
8. Different paddle programing (hold in “manual” for longer)
9. Standard runflats (Yes, I’m serious)
10. Optional sports exhaust
11. More exterior color options
12. Removal of fake carbon fiber (use brushed aluminium, piano black instead)
Thankfully in the Mexican market, Kia did The Right Thing, and only offered three trims: Base, GT line, and GT. Having various trims available for the V6 is just pointless for me.
What Kia has done is still unclear but these are the most recent pictures, along with the changes I identify:
1. Different headlamp/tailight design: More LEDs in the headlamps, full length rear lights (which also seem to be LEDs), and also different DRL design (top and bottom)
2. Larger fake exhaust tip and larger exhaust tips behind
3. Different rims
4. Steering wheel pillar now plated, rather than painted black
5. New rims
6. New leather (?) front shelf with contrast stitching
7. Lower shelf in contrast material (used to be all black iirc)
8. larger infotainment display
9. Contrast color roof (?)
10. Quilted seats
It was rumored that Kia would add torque vectoring to the V6 model, and it seems like the facelift is mostly positive, I’m not sold on the rear lights though.
The Stinger is one of the stranger cars for sale right now. Specially considering it’s made by a large, risk-averse, corporation like Kia. Although the objective was to try and compete with the 4 series and the A5 (even claiming to compete with the Panamera), it’s foolish to pretend the Stinger is as luxurious as the rivals, but it comes loaded with equipment that would make enthusiasts and regular shoppers happy for a bit less money. But in reality I’d compare the Stinger with the Volvo S60 and the VW Artheon rather than the BMW and the Audi.
Last year, Kia sold 16,000 Stingers in the US, many more cars than VW’s Artheon at 2,500, and in June 2020, it sold twice as many Stingers as VW sold Artheons. Although impressive, it’s still far-off from BMW’s peak sales of 46,000 4 series in 2015. Admittedly, the Stinger entered into the peak of a cooling market as an awkward contender in a field dominated by well established competitors.
Hopefully Kia’s efforts will pay off and they will find a way to enter into a higher-tier of the market. The Stinger is a great product with some limited flaws, some of which the facelift might resolve.