Australia’s best-selling large car, the Kia Stinger, is getting a mid-cycle enhancement for 2021.
This GT was spotted testing in Europe. Though its wheels, headlights and tail lights are identical to the current model, previous spy photos have shown updated lighting elements.
The camouflage also likely conceals revised front and rear bumpers.
We expect the Stinger to get Hyundai and Kia’s new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as seen on the Kia Seltos and upcoming facelifted Hyundai i30. It’ll replace the current model’s 7.0-inch and 8.0-inch units.
A new, digital instrument cluster is also in the cards.
The Stinger’s platform-mate, the Genesis G70, is also going under the knife this year.
Its existing petrol engines are expected to be replaced with those of the 2021 G80: a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 223kW and 421Nm and a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 producing 279kW and 530Nm.
Given the Stinger’s close relation to the G70, it’s possible – though far from confirmed – that it’ll receive the same mechanical updates. There were rumours this wouldn’t be the case, however The Korean Car Blog has published photographs of a disguised prototype that appears to be packing the 2.5-litre.
If both engines are introduced to the Stinger line, they’ll represent a significant jump in power from the existing turbocharged 2.0-litre four and a modest increase from the twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6.
The existing four-cylinder produces 182kW and 353Nm while the considerably more popular 3.3-litre produces 272kW and 510Nm.
Unfortunately for the Stinger, it’s battling against global trends with buyers in key markets like Australia and the US shifting ever more towards SUVs.
Chinese buyers still love sedans but the Stinger technically isn’t one nor is it manufactured in China, which makes it a pricier, niche offering there, while US sales were down 17.5 per cent last year.
It doesn’t help the Stinger that Kia has such a cluttered medium/large sedan range in the US, offering the Optima, Cadenza, Stinger and K900 in tandem.
Australian sales were down 9.4 per cent last year from 2018 volumes but, nevertheless, the Stinger sold more than twice as many units as the next most popular car in its segment, the Skoda Superb.
Holden sold almost three times as many ZB Commodores in 2019 but with stock of that model almost depleted following its discontinuation and Holden’s shuttering, the Stinger has more than doubled its market share of the segment to 47.1 per cent this year.
VFACTS reclassification of the Peugeot 508 as a Medium car means the Stinger and Superb are now alone in the Large under $70,000 segment so expect the Kia’s share of the segment to grow, even if sales don’t.
Kia has yet to officially confirm a second generation of the Stinger.
In such a model’s favour, though, continuing the Stinger line would help amortise platform development costs by offering a potentially higher-volume model on a Genesis platform.