The Second-Gen Kia Stinger Isn’t Here, But The Updated Stinger Is Almost As Good

  • Updated Kia Stinger to Launch in Korea for the 2021 Model year
  • Global Launch, Including North America, will Happen in 2021 as a 2022 Model
  • New Powertrains Could Provide More Power
  • Improved Appearance and Interior Materials
  • New Infotainment Tech

In Mid-April we reported that the second-gen Kia Stinger was coming for the 2021 model year, but just a week or two later, we found out that the Kia Stinger might end up being canceled, along with hopes that a second-generation model would arrive. Then, in May of 2020, we learned that the next-gen Kia Stinger was delayed and might morph into an all-electric vehicle, but a facelifted model would launch in late 2020 as a 2021 model. Now, Kia has released a handful of images so we can see what the slightly refreshed Stinger looks like and we have a few tidbits of information to share. The real question, however, is whether or not the 2021 Kia Stinger will end up with updated, more powerful engines.

2021 Kia Stinger Exterior Design Enhancements

  • New headlights and LED running lights
  • New taillights with revised matrix
  • New motorsport-inspired turn signals
  • Optional upgraded mufflers on some trim levels
  • New diffuser with upgraded mufflers
  • New 18- and 19-inch wheels
  • New optional “Dark Package”
  • New optional “Black Package”
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While the 2021 Kia Stinger won’t exactly see a plethora of exterior changes, it has been enhanced in a number of ways. All models will come with updated headlights and new LED running lights up front. The same front fascia and hood carries over, but this isn’t a full-blown facelift, so you can’t expect too much anyway. Around back,

Kia has updated the taillights with a new matrix that gives more of a 3D appearance and the turn signals now feature a 10-LED layout that’s similar to what you see in motorsports.

Finally, Kia is introducing a new set of 18-inch and 19-inch wheels.

2021 Kia Stinger – Revitalized and Enhanced Exterior
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As far as options go, there are two different appearance packages available. The “Dark Package” is limited to the “high-performance” models and includes a gloss black diffuser surround and black, wide-bore muffler tips. This package also includes a blacked-out Kia emblem on the tailgate. In Norther America, we can opt for the “Black Package,” which includes a new set of 19-inch black lightweight wheels, a new wing on the rear deck, blacked-out mirror caps, and blacked-out fender trim.

On top of the new appearance packages, higher trim levels can be equipped with upgraded, wide-bore, bright silver mufflers. This option also includes a “more purposeful” performance-inspired rear diffuser that is said to give the car a more muscular appearance from the rear.

2021 Kia Stinger Interior Enhancements – Tech and Trim

  • Interior design remains the same
  • New metallic finish on steering wheel
  • New chrome bezel around the seven-inch instrument cluster
  • New 10.25-inch infotainment system (up from 8.0-inches)
  • New frameless rear-view mirror
  • New contrasting stitching on the dash and door panels of higher trim levels
  • New mood lighting system with 64 color choices
  • New interior color choices
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To go along with the mild exterior enhancements, Kia has also done a little bit of work inside the 2021 Kia Stinger.

The biggest highlight is the upgraded infotainment and navigation system that jumps in size from eight inches to 10.25-inches and includes updated software.

The other big highlight here is the new mood-lighting system that can be configured as you see fit to display one of 64 different colors.

That said, the overall design of the cabin remains the same, so don’t expect to see a revamped dashboard, door panels, or even a new center console. The steering wheel, however, has been updated to include a new metallic finish, which should go nicely with the new chrome bezel around the seven-inch instrument cluster. A frameless rear-view mirror will help create more of a modern feel inside as well. Higher trim levels will now come with new contrast stitching on the dash and door panels, and there are a few new interior color schemes to choose from.

2021 Kia Stinger – Revitalized and Enhanced Interior
- image 928427

In the Stinger’s home market, Korea, you’ll be able to order the Stinger with a new Dark Brown Monotone interior that includes ultra-soft, diamond-quilted Nappa leather seats. Those of us outside Korea can opt for Nappa leather upholstery in either Saturn Black, Red, or Beige. However, if you don’t want real leather, Kia has chosen to retain its choice of exiting synthetic leather options. The Saturn Black option is actually a new choice for 2021, and will layer the seats in black suede and red contrast stitching, the latter of which is said to be in a “chain pattern” that is supposed to mimic the links of a watch strap.

These changes might not be earth-shattering or groundbreaking, but it does keep things fresh, and there might a little secret that we don’t know about – keep reading to learn about that.

Does the 2021 Kia Stinger Come With Upgraded Engines?

2021 Kia Stinger – Revitalized and Enhanced Wallpaper quality Exterior
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We can’t speak for the Korean Market and what might happen there, but here in North America and, possibly, other parts of the World, the Stinger may arrive with new engines and improved performance. As of now, the base model Stinger GT-Line comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder that delivers a decent 255 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque as early as 1,400 rpm. Move up to the GT, GT1, or GT2 trim level, and you’ll get a 3.3-liter V-6 that churns out 365 horsepower and 6,000 rpm and 376 pound-feet of torque as early as 1,300 rpm.

However, Kia’s distant cousin, Genesis – a sub-brand of sister company Hyundai – has developed a pair of new engines for the Genesis G80, and those could very well make their way into the 2021 Kia Stinger.

This would make the 2021 model a lot more desirable thanks to the improved performance. The new four-banger in question is a 2.5-liter mill that generates 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque while the new 3.5-liter V-6 would bump the Stinger GT up to 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. So, the base model would see an improvement of 45 horsepower and 51 pound-feet of torque, while GT models would see a mild bump of 10 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Kia Stinger – Revitalized and Enhanced Exterior
- image 928419

In current form the four-cylinder Stinger can jump to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds while the V-6 model is capable of hitting the same benchmark in an impressive 4.7 seconds. If we’re lucky, the GT model will see that time drop to 4.6 seconds while the extra power and torque could help the base model get to 60 mph in more like 5.7 seconds. There’s also the potential from some mild suspension and chassis updates, but we won’t know more until Kia reveals more details. We’ll learn more about the Korean model sometime in the last quarter of 2020, but those of us in the rest of the world will have to wait until sometime in 2021, probably in the middle of the year.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.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 More
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