Sometimes, a car gets a mid-cycle refresh and is totally reinvented. New engines, new bodywork, and a new interior—the full Overhaulin’ treatment. When that happens, it’s often because the original product was lackluster enough to warrant a quick do-over. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if a company really nailed it in the first place, a car might get a steady-as-she-goes refresh that brings minor updates to an essentially appealing package. The 2022 Kia Stinger definitely falls into that second category.
Introduced in 2018, we were smitten enough with the Stinger to drive one for 40,000 miles, plus we named its upmarket Genesis cousin, the G70, to our 2019 10Best list. Our biggest gripe with the Stinger (and, for that matter, the G70) was that its base engine, a 255-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, was kind of a bummer. Well, Kia fixed that: The new standard engine for 2022 models is the 2.5-liter turbo-four that robustly animates various Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis products. With 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, it’s a mill that should better match the Stinger’s feisty attitude. We say “should,” because we haven’t tested that one yet. Instead, we followed the advice we’d give to any Stinger shopper, which is to try the V-6 first.
The big Kia’s optional twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 is one of the sweeter engines of its ilk, smooth and powerful seemingly from idle to redline. That’s barely hyperbole—its 376 pound-feet of torque arrives at 1300 rpm and remains at that plateau until 4500 rpm. The V-6’s 368 horsepower represents an increase from last year, but only by three horses. That, you won’t notice. But you will notice the new active exhaust, which endows the Stinger with a throatier growl under throttle and makes it more rewarding to use the steering-wheel-mounted paddles to shift the eight-speed automatic transmission. That was another item on our wish list—a little more feedback, a little more sense of drama and engagement. The new soundtrack certainly helps.
The interior got an update as well, although you’d almost have to park an older Stinger alongside a new one to spot the differences, like with those comics-page cartoons you’d scrutinize after splitting your sides over the latest “Family Circus.” The primary difference is the 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, which is usefully upsized from the prior 8.0-inch screen and features analog-tube-like stereo tuning graphics and the option to listen to the prerecorded sounds of a fireplace or, strangely, a busy restaurant. There’s also new stitching on the seats and some different trim pieces. But largely, this is the same handsome and well executed cabin we lauded at the Stinger’s introduction.
The 2022 model’s exterior features subtly reworked headlights and taillights, and fresh wheel designs. But the most noticeable difference is the new Kia badge, which looks like something a goth kid would have tagged on the wall of an abandoned sewer substation during a rave in 1997. We mean that, of course, as a high compliment.
While the uncorked exhaust makes the 2022 Stinger sound like it’s way quicker, our test results prove that its gusto is theater of the mind, with acceleration figures identical to those of a similar all-wheel-drive GT we tested in 2018. The new car ran to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds—same as the previous version—and its quarter-mile time of 13.1 seconds at 107 mph was also the same as before but with a 1-mph slower trap speed. Its skidpad grip, however, was a less-than-impressive 0.85 g. That’s largely thanks to our test car’s Michelin Primacy Tour A/S all-season tires; on Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer rubber, the previous car demonstrated 0.91 g of stick. Those all-seasons also contributed to a lengthy 187-foot stop from 70, despite the Stinger GT’s Brembo brakes with four-piston front and two-piston rear calipers. The old car came to a halt from that speed in 164 feet, but at least fade wasn’t an issue this time around, unlike our experience at our 2018 Lightning Lap event. Unlike the latest G70 and the old Stinger GTS, the new all-wheel-drive Stinger didn’t get a drift mode. If you want that, the rear-drive Stingers will drift just fine.
The rear-drive 2.5T GT-Line’s base price of $37,135 marks a big increase from last year’s $34,135 entry point. But at least you get a sizable horsepower increase for the greater outlay. The base $40,635 Stinger GT is now gone, so stepping up to the V-6 requires at least $44,735 for the GT1 trim—which is actually a discount from last year’s GT1 that cost $46,535. The lineup tops out at $54,535 for an AWD V-6 in GT2 trim. Atop that model you can now add a new $1295 Scorpion package, which blacks out some trim and the exhaust tips, brings model-specific 19-inch wheels, and adds carbon-fiber interior pieces. We know a Stinger owner who modified his 2019 GT2 along these lines, so maybe Kia is paying attention to its own customization scene. We’ll know for sure if, like him, they also add optional methanol injection and KDM (Korean domestic market) badges.
We would’ve loved it if Kia rolled out some 500-hp monster Stinger (code name: Super Scorpion), but mostly we’re just appreciative that they’re keeping their big rear-drive-based hatchback around at all. Kia sells around 10,000 Stingers a year, which makes it viable but not something you see every day. This is still an important car for Kia, more than its sales numbers suggest, because there’s a community around it, complete with an aftermarket and forums where owners brag about their quarter-mile time slips. The Stinger is an insider thing—if you know, you know. But please, allow us to tell you again.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io