• In Order to Survive, The Next-Gen Kia Stinger Will Drastically Evolve in Unexpected Ways

If the Kia Stinger is going to survive beyond this generation, drastic changes are necessary

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In less than one month, we’ve gone from telling you that much better Kia Stinger is coming in 2021 to reporting that the Stinger is in trouble and may disappear entirely in the next few years. Now, a recent conversation between Top Gear and Kia’s Design Boss, Karim Habib, has taught us that the Stinger will be facelifted for 2021 but what happens after that could change your view on the Stinger forever.

The Facelifted 2021 Kia Stinger Will Launch in Late 2020

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When I told you back on April 17th that something better was coming in 2021, I wasn’t really wrong. Kia is, in fact, updating the Stinger for the 2021 model year in an attempt to keep it fresh and, hopefully, generate more interest and sales. However, that facelift will be far from a new-gen model and will focus more around minor bits of technology – a mild evolution of the current formula, if you will. Speaking of the facelift, Habib explained where Kia is going with the 2021 model:

”It’s coming pretty soon. We just wanted to strengthen a few things. If you think about the lighting – on a car that is a halo car for us – we want to make sure that we have the best technology when it comes to lighting. And, of course, it is the symbol of sportiness so what we’ve done in terms of design is try to amplify that..”
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So, in short, we’re talking about the basic formula associated with facelifts these days. You can expect slightly revised front and rear fascias – possibly a little more aggressive or sporty – and revised exterior lights. I wouldn’t expect much from the interior, but Kia could potentially upgrade the infotainment system and other interior tech. Performance, power output, and what’s happening under the metal will likely carry on unchanged into 2021 and the next few years beyond that.

The Next-Gen Kia Stinger Will Represent Very Dramatic Change

In Order to Survive, The Next-Gen Kia Stinger Will Drastically Evolve in Unexpected Ways
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With people more interested in SUVs, Crossovers, and Trucks than ever before, it’s not surprising that a company like Kia is having a hard time moving the Stinger to its expectations. It’s hard for sports cars, or sports sedans in this case, to really dominate any market. That could mean that Kia is forced to drop its halo sports sedan after just one generation, but that’s only half true, as there is an avenue the company can turn to in times of struggle.

To be clear, Habib doesn’t want to see the Stinger die:

”I definitely hope that the spirit of the Stinger stays at the core of what Kia is as we change as a brand.”

So, what does that mean for the Stinger? Well, the Stinger as we know it might not survive, as Kia could be forced to consider a greener platform, AKA, a Stinger EV.

In Order to Survive, The Next-Gen Kia Stinger Will Drastically Evolve in Unexpected Ways
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”As the technology goes towards EVs and as the world and its appetite for these types of cars changes, the concept probably has to evolve as well. But the sporty, affordable, beautiful sculpture – I really believe that’s something which needs to live on in the brand.”

The magnitude of these statements echo how the future of the Stinger unfolds. By shifting the Stinger into electric territory, the company opens up new doors for sales. And, attracting new customers is only part of the equation. By turning the next-gen Stinger into a full-on EV, the company could, in theory, could fire shots beyond its normal and familiar battleground. The Stinger, as it is now, already tickles the borders of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. In my in-depth review of the Kia Stinger, I even admitted that it had a better driving position and was more comfortable than BMW’s latest 5 Series at the time. Moving the Stinger into EV territory could allow it to step even further away from its mainstream, affordable roots and take on Evs from Mercedes, BMW, and even Porsche. It could, in theory, even become a formidable competitor for the likes of the Tesla Model S, albeit at a more affordable price.

Final Thoughts

In Order to Survive, The Next-Gen Kia Stinger Will Drastically Evolve in Unexpected Ways
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I have to admit that I’m actually sad the Stinger hasn’t lived up to the expectations set upon it. It is an amazing car through and through. It’s comfortable, it drives as good as more expensive, more luxurious models, and it delivers amazing performance. I’m still on the fence about EVs in general, but if it kept the Stinger alive, and Kia could manage to preserve its sporty personality and make it even more capable, then I would be all for seeing it go electric. At the end of the day, that’s where we’re heading anyway, and move the Stinger into electric territory now could help the brand continue to shed the perception that it belongs in the lower class. Kia – and sister company Hyundai, for that matter) have already made huge strides in moving upmarket, and a move like this could help push it over the edge. Here’s to looking forward.

Kia Stinger specifications
Engine 3.3L Twin Turbo V6
Displacement (cc) 3,342 cc
Bore x stroke (mm) 92.0 mm x 83.8 mm
Compression ratio 10.0:1
Horsepower 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 376 lb.-ft. @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 167 mph

Source: Top Gear (Interview Source)

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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