2021 Kia Stinger refresh: changes and photos

Sabs

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We've had a few scattered threads linking articles with spy shots. Thought I'd consolidate the info so we have a better idea of what's likely to change in an easily searchable thread.

The original Kia Stinger design includes the 2018-2020 model years, undergoing minor changes between years.

The 2021+ is the refresh. While not officially announced or confirmed, it is a near-certainty since test cars have been driving around for months - and right on schedule for a 2021 model year.

The refreshed model is expected to be around for 2-3 model years, which is typical for a Kia refresh.

The 2021 model is not the 2nd generation. As of yet, there are no plans for a 2nd generation, with some rumors of cancellation.

Exterior:
  • Taillights redesigned, featuring a light bar spanning the width of the car.
  • Headlights redesigned, with DRL's at the top and bottom.
  • Reshaped front and rear bumpers are likely, as with any refreshed model.
  • Larger exhaust tips are likely from most recent test shots.
  • Different wheel designs are being tested.
Interior:
Performance:
  • Variable exhaust seems likely from test mule photos and other sources.
  • A power increase is rumored from many sources for the 6 cyl model. So far, no evidence yet as to whether the current 3.3L TT or new 3.5L TT engine will be used.
  • 4 cyl model looks to be moving to the new 2.5L turbo engine. That could bring HP/TQ up to 300hp/311 ft-lb.

Here are some spy shot photos we've seen:

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MerlintheMad

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If those exhaust tips are for real, they look ridiculous. :p Why advertise that your exhaust tips are dummies?o_O
 

SKStinger

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My prediction is that this is all we'll see in North America:

Exterior:
  • Taillights redesigned, featuring a light bar spanning the width of the car.
  • Headlights redesigned, with DRL's at the top and bottom.
  • New wheel designs but let's be honest, Kia sucks in that department so does anyone care?
Interior:
  • Larger infotainment screen. Likely the 10.25" unit from other Kia models.
  • New stitching on the dash, door panels, and seats.
  • +Digital instrument cluster from the G70
 

Sabs

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I think there's a good chance the US model (GT2, anyway) will have valved exhaust - not sure about Canada. A lot of reviewers were disappointed by how tame the exhaust note is, and an aftermarket exhaust is a very common purchase. Kia is pretty good about listening to their customers and making changes between model years.

I agree that the digital gauge cluster is highly likely on upper trims. Just no spy shots so far.

I also think there's a good chance remote start via UVO app will finally make it to US models. Lots of requests for that, plus it's been available in other markets since launch.
 

BlueByYouGT

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Why advertise that your exhaust tips are dummies?o_O
Those pictures weren't released by Kia. Plus, it's pretty standard nowadays for sedans to have faux tips or no tips at all (I'm looking at you, Audi).

The original Kia Stinger design includes the 2018-2020 model years, undergoing minor changes between years.
I believe the Stinger's model years are 2017-current, with SK being the only MY 17 market. What's the last picture?
 

MerlintheMad

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Vis-à-vis the exhaust stub pic: is that even a Stinger? What is that "crosshatching" pattern in the background? That would mean an entirely different panel, and probably bumper to go with it. I don't like anything I see over what we've already been enjoying. (And yes, clearly, now, the exhaust as pictured opens and closes.)
 

Sabs

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The bumpers are very likely changing on the car, front and rear. It's a relatively simple change for manufacturers to make to give it a fresh look.

As with the Optima's 3rd generation, I think the first model's exterior is the best looking from what I've seen so far.
 

Ulikefishsticks

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Isn't this for the 4cyl? I still think the 3.3 to 3.5 still isn't confirmed.
 

westcoastGT

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Isn't this for the 4cyl? I still think the 3.3 to 3.5 still isn't confirmed.
Yup , they show the 2.5L engine sticker only they are speculating about the 3.5L
 

Kimberly Lazarski

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My prediction is that this is all we'll see in North America:

Exterior:
Yea (and yay!) to the new taillights
I like the current GT2 headlights as-is.

  • New wheel designs but let's be honest, Kia sucks in that department so does anyone care?
I like the current wheels. The new ones, not so much. If they're the same size as the current model, I'll buy a 2021, use the original wheels as winter wheels, and buy 2020 wheels for summer use.

Interior:
  • Larger infotainment screen. Likely the 10.25" unit from other Kia models.
  • New stitching on the dash, door panels, and seats.
  • +Digital instrument cluster from the G70
I love it. I hope the car will finally get UVO Link too. We have Subaru's equivalent in our Forester Sport and it is fantastic. Heck, even Subaru's churched-up econobox (STI - great drivetrain, really crappy econobox interior) has remote lock/unlock, location, and geofencing capability.

Isn't this for the 4cyl? I still think the 3.3 to 3.5 still isn't confirmed.
Indeed; it's pure speculation but it'll probably get whatever the G70 is getting for scale of economy. I hope it gets the 3.5L because the hybrid fuel injection is brilliant and should be what they went with in the first place since the carbon buildup problem DI engines exhibit have been known for ages now.

Overall, I'm glad I waited. :)
 

YEH

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While nothing yet confirmed. can't imagine them not upgrading to the 3.5TT for both the Stinger and G70 for better fuel economy and to better meet tighter emissions regs.

Plus, it would be costlier for them to continue to build the 3.3TT along w/ the new 3.5TT (there probably is enough stockpile of the 3.3TT motor to keep supplying the RHD markets on the assumption that they won't get the upgrade).

Even if Kia doesn't go ahead w/ a 2G Stinger, at the very least could mean a longer life-cycle for the Stinger due to the upgrades.
______________________________
 

ecko04

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Mid cycle refreshes don’t typically get new engines. I wouldn’t expect to see the 3.5TT in the 1st generation Stinger. If there’s a 2nd generation then I’d expect to see a change.

Changes to styling cues, wheels, bumpers, lights, and interior updates would all fit within the realm of possibility for a refresh. Also, a redesigned exhaust to increase flow and tone and maybe a revised ECU calibration to boost stated power wouldn’t be a stretch.
 

Kimberly Lazarski

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Mid-cycle refreshes often get major engine upgrades, and sometimes entirely new engines.

Examples from GM:
  • Y-body
  • F-body
  • Alpha
  • Saab 9-3
Examples from Ford:
  • Rustang
  • Focus
Examples from Chrysler:
  • K-car (which included a YUGE spectrum of vehicles, and started out with the 1.7L sludge generator, a 1.8L, a 2.2 NA, and a 2.2 turbo, and other engines I cannot recall)
  • Charger
Plus, of course there are the associated truck lineups...

There are many more examples; those were just off the top of my head. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary for the G70 and Stinger to receive a significant engine upgrade, especially if the engine is already in the parts bin and has been certified for emissions in other vehicles already so most of the R&D is completed.
 

Kimberly Lazarski

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I also think there's a good chance remote start via UVO app will finally make it to US models. Lots of requests for that, plus it's been available in other markets since launch.
The lack of UVO Link is the main reason I am not driving a Stinger yet (the second is lack of a rear LSD (Limited Slip Differential) - but that isn't THE dealbreaker because I can swap in an LSD (Limited Slip Differential) or have the dealership or a tuner do it - and no, it won't break AWD torque-vectoring programming).
 

Jayphil

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Mid cycle refreshes don’t typically get new engines. I wouldn’t expect to see the 3.5TT in the 1st generation Stinger. If there’s a 2nd generation then I’d expect to see a change.

Changes to styling cues, wheels, bumpers, lights, and interior updates would all fit within the realm of possibility for a refresh. Also, a redesigned exhaust to increase flow and tone and maybe a revised ECU calibration to boost stated power wouldn’t be a stretch.
It might not be typical but still happen often especially since car manufacturers extend their model to 6-8 years.
Stinger competitor recent examples:

BMW 3 series F30 335I (N55 engine) become a 340I (B58 engine) at the mid cycle refresh
Audi S5 B9 moved from 4.2L V8 to 3.0 V6 supercharged in 2013 during a mid cycle refresh


There is still hope but we should see in a few months from now.
 
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