If you purchased a base Kia Stinger with the turbocharged 2.0-liter, many will argue you made the wrong decision. They’ll allege that you should have sprung for the more powerful twin-turbo V6. But it always seemed just a bit too steep of a price jump to make sense for every single person. If you were cross-shopping the Stinger against fancier — albeit indirect — rivals like the BMW 3-Series, that 2.0-liter was still completely adequate. However, we could say the same thing about the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and a cadre of other non-premium sedans.
Kia’s twin-turbo V6 seemed to be there to create some additional distance between its touring sedan and just about everything else on the market. With the 3.3-liter unit churning out 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, the Stinger becomes much more exciting and suddenly capable of covering the quarter-mile in under 13 seconds. For the 2022 model year, the manufacturer has decided to split the difference by ditching the base 2.0-liter mill. Replacing it will be a 2.5-liter four-banger producing 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft — representing an increase of 45 hp and 61 pound-feet of twist.
But it’s not going to be free.
Swapping in the new motor required Kia to price base model Stingers starting at $37,125 (or $3,000 more than they used to be). Considering the jump in output and relative lacking popularity of the 2.0-liter version, this shouldn’t be too aggravating. Meanwhile, some of the more extravagant trims are coming down in price. The GT1 is now $44,735 ($1,800 less than last year’s model) and becomes the cheapest way to get into the V6 (which has received a three-horsepower bump) since the base GT no longer exists.
Unfortunately, the good news does not extend to the loaded GT2. That trim has gone up nearly a grand since last year, now setting customers back $52,335. Power will be sent through an 8-speed on all Stingers, with customers having the option of spending an extra $2,200 to supplant rear-wheel drive with all-wheel drive. Miraculously, none of the announced improvements came with a downgrade in efficiency. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency indicates U.S. models will have the same — or better, in the case of the new base engine — mpg than their predecessors.
General updates include some tweaks to the exterior lighting (more LEDs), new badging, color options (Ascot Green), and exhaust system. The latter change also required Kia replace the Stinger’s rear fascia. Inside, drivers will find more overt (stylized) stitching on the dashboard, trim garnishes, Nappa seats, and a 10.25-inch navigation screen as standard. Kia has also decided to offer wireless charging and blind-spot monitoring that incorporates lane-watching cameras with the feed going directly to the instrument cluster. Driving assistance options are also pretty robust, with the Stinger capable of everything from emergency braking to navigation-based smart cruise control with lane-keeping.
The Updated Kia Stinger is supposed to go on sale in the United States this spring, with a special-edition arriving later. That model will be dubbed the Stinger Scorpion and come with carbon fiber trim, unique 19-in black wheels, black mirrors, black exhaust tips, black fender accenting, and a rear spoiler — helping to give the sedan sinister vibrations.
However, if that’s the route you’re interested in taking, the truly villainous Dodge Charger Scat Pack starts below $42,000 (before destination) and it has a 6.4-liter V8 pumping out 485 horsepower. Granted, the Charger doesn’t feel as nimble under pressure (especially during initial turn-in) and takes a brute-force approach to performance.
It also has a much uglier interior and will hoover up fuel in the city. But it’s going to shame rear-drive variants of the Stinger until you’ve upgraded the Kia’s rubber and sharpened your own skills. If you enjoy power that comes on like a breaking damn and having a vehicle that is either soft and docile or furiously ripping up the pavement as it deafens onlookers, then the Dodge is for you. However, those seeking a more well-rounded performance sedan will probably find the Kia Stinger difficult to beat for the price, regardless of where they’ve been looking.