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Worth Waiting? 2022 Kia Stinger

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Major updates are coming to the 2022 model year Kia Stinger. But is it worth the wait versus the current one?

Those Who Do Not Learn History…

It’s beginning to look as if we’ve seen this story in the past. And it was with the Mitsubishi EVO. A manufacturer has a halo enthusiast car with a passionate group of followers but declining sales. Either no one wants to buy it or the market isn’t there to justify further development.

2021 Kia Stinger GT2 - kiamedia.com

2021 Kia Stinger GT2 – kiamedia.com  |  Shop new Kia Stinger on Carsforsale.com

Since its introduction, the Kia Stinger has been running a similar path as the long-lost Mitsubishi EVO. It’s a powerful, capable, and loved sports car in a company full of sedans and SUVs. After three years of carryover models, Kia is giving some love to the Stinger for the 2022 model year.

2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com
2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com

If you’re a fan of the Stinger or a fan of keeping reasonably priced and fast GT’s in the market, you’ll need to ask yourself whether the 2022 Kia Stinger is worth the wait or should you pick up the current one now? Will the new updates be what makes you part with your money and keep the Stinger in the Kia lineup? Read on and make your decision, or history may repeat itself.

The State of the Stinger

2018 Kia Stinger - kiamedia.com

2018 Kia Stinger – kiamedia.com  |  Shop Kia Stinger on Carsforsale.com

A total of 13,861 Stingers were sold in 2019, compared to 16,806 in 2018, when introduced. Kia Media says the Stinger has sold 9,792 units this year to date, a 6% drop in sales from this date in 2019. A further decline in sales for a sport-tuned vehicle in a challenging sedan market doesn’t look encouraging for future models. The Stinger’s G70 twin has, in the same period, sold 7,124 cars.

2021 Kia Stinger GT2 - kiamedia.com
2021 Kia Stinger GT2 - kiamedia.com

However, even in a slow-selling carryover year, the current market doesn’t deter Kia from offering eight model options for you, topping out with the $52,590 GT 2. Well, there’s one additional option of a red interior to the V6 Panthera Gray models. The question is, if you want to be one of the 9,700+ buyers of a Stinger, do you get it now or wait until the refreshed model arrives in 2022?

Nips and Tucks on the Outside

The 2022 Kia Stinger “model refresh,” as Kia calls it, is somewhat more substantial than a nose job and tail tuck, although those updates are included. But let’s start there and work our way around to the inside.

2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com
2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com

Up front, the designers have widened the grill in a similar way they did the K5. A curve has replaced the angles at the left and right edge, which adds visual width to the car even as it softens the front end. Let’s call it a more mature look that seems to be going in the same direction that the BMW 4 series is headed. The headlamps have also undergone a slight change by adding some angle that was lost on the grill. It’s neither good nor bad, just different. You can be the judge of its success; however, it’s nice to see the attention to little details like this throughout the vehicle.

2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com
2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com

The side profile won’t see much change, except for showing off the new optional 19-inch wheel and tire combination. There’s no functional reason for adding these, but it allows the buyer to go +1 from the factory instead of getting aftermarket wheels. The look is sportier for sure, but you’ll have to weigh the cost and benefit since there isn’t an active suspension upgrade to go with it except for the Stinger GT and GT2.

2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com
2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com

Another example of attention to detail is in the rear. The taillamps have a slight redesign with small blocks in the turn signals and smaller backup lights. The new design gets rid of the bargain car look and brings it more upmarket to match its price. The bumper’s lower edge now looks like a proper rear diffuser, not unlike what you would see on any of its German competitor’s sport versions. These changes with the additional larger exhaust tips give the Kia Stinger a more finished and decidedly Le Mans GT class look.

The Same, But Better Interior

2022 Kia Stinger interior - kianewscenter.com
2022 Kia Stinger interior - kianewscenter.com

Open the door, and you see the same interior design, except for the expected interactive screen size increase you see in other manufacturers’ vehicles. Although it’s not Tesla size, t’s now 3.25 inches larger at 10.25 inches. There’s no information on whether or not it has better definition or functionality, but the size increase alone is welcome. If you choose, you can also upgrade to Nappa leather, which is softer than your average run-of-the-mill Kia leather. More of a luxury addition than a sport influenced one but should be included as a competitive nice to have.

More Noise for the Loud Pedal

2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com
2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com

Kia introduced the Stinger as a sports sedan halo model. And as good as the current base engine is, some of the competition is beginning to leave it behind. So, Kia has introduced a new higher horsepower turbo 4-cylinder with 300 HP and 311 ft-lb of torque. That’s an almost 20 percent increase in power over the current 2.5 L four and should provide much more fun than a Stage 1 chip flash would provide. There’s currently no information on what it does to the gas mileage but be sure that more pressure on the pedal will lower your city numbers. That kind of fun has a price, but in this case, it’s pretty small. If we’re blessed with this engine in the US, it would be a better choice than the heavier 6-cylinder option on overall performance and chassis response if you want a sportier and less GT feel.

So Where Does All This Place the Stinger?

What seems to be happening is that the Kia Stinger is moving away from a younger buyer and over to an older one seeking a less hard-edged and comfortably fast ride. But isn’t that the G70’s domain? The more GT look and feel of the Kia Stinger begs the question of which model will cannibalize the other and ultimately move it out of the US market. For the price, and some would argue the design, the Kia Stinger wins out – especially if you want something that leans more towards the sportier side of things.

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2022 Kia Stinger - kianewscenter.com

2022 Kia Stinger – kianewscenter.com  |  Shop new Kia Stinger on Carsforsale.com

But what about the refresh compared to the current model? If there were just design refreshes, then it would be easy to pass on the mid-cycle changes. And that leaves the new higher-output engine actually to make a case for your money. Whether or not that new engine will lower the current model’s resale value is one thing to consider. Maybe it will, but then again, the newer model will be at a higher price. Decisions, decisions. If that new engine doesn’t make more people part with their dollars, like the EVO and Mitsubishi, we’ll eventually see “BRING BACK THE STINGER” on every Kia social media post. And that would be a disappointing thing for sure.

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Steve Mitchell

Steve's first car had pedals, and he's been filled with passion for four wheels ever since. He lives and breathes the car life as a technologist, futurist, and writer while keeping up with the whys, hows, and plans of the automotive industry. His automotive journey began with a fully restored Triumph TR3b that he sadly never appreciated until decades later. Ownerships of X-1/9's, BMW's, an SVT and a Dodge Ram Hemi have given way to the house of Audi Sport. You'll also find him as an endurance athlete on the bike in SoCal, but you'll know he's thinking about cars.

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