Driven

Updated & Upgraded: The 2022 Kia Stinger

Kia made a bold move in 2018 by debuting its first-ever sports sedan, the Stinger. Quick, stylish and a great all-rounder, the Stinger was met with praise but not extraordinary sales figures. Updated for 2022, the Stinger presents a stylish and value laden proposition refined. This year’s Stinger receives updated styling, upgraded engine power and other minor tweaks to help sweeten the deal. The fundamental excellence of the Stinger means that drastic changes were never needed, but do the updates present a compelling argument for the 2022 Stinger? We eagerly saddled up in a Ceramic Silver GT2 AWD tester to find out for ourselves.

Refreshed for 2022, the exterior of the Stinger receives new lighting elements, wheels, badging and exhaust tips. From the front, the Stinger looks essentially as it always has, which is a GOOD thing: beauty might be subjective, but the Stinger is generally regarded as a good-looking car amongst the car community. The new Kia badge certainly appears to help freshen and modernize the front-end. New multi-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels fill out the wheel wells and look distinctive and eye-catching. The rear-end presents the most obvious changes for 2022: the taillights are merged as a lightbar running across the rear, and the huge exhaust tips look pilfered from the friendly neighborhood GTR. Kia is building one of the best-looking sedans on the market with the Stinger, and judging by the positive reception we received from car enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike, we’d say the updates for 2022 successfully freshen the already attractive exterior of the Stinger.

The most substantial change to the very attractive interior of the Stinger is the addition of Kia’s new infotainment suite and 10.3 touchscreen display. Multiple camera angles help park the Stinger, with the top-down view being particularly useful for tight spots. The Stinger has quick-loading and intuitive infotainment. All controls are substantial and feel well-weighted, as if operating high-end stereo equipment. The GT2 trim level brings soft and luxurious Nappa leather seating as well as a standard 15 speaker Harmon Kardon surround sound system. Front seats are heated and cooled, and rear seats are heated, a feature that is unique in its class. The Harmon Kardon system sounds quite clean and engaging, encouraging listeners to crank their favorite tunes and enjoy the punchy bass and clear midrange resolution. The overall look of the interior hasn’t changed, but it is still very appealing to the eye and touch. Paired with club music, the multi-color ambient lighting accents can turn the Stinger’s cabin in a quite a convincing nightclub imitation.

For 2022, the Kia Stinger receives a new base engine; a 300hp 2.5L turbo 4-cylinder replaces the old 255hp, 2.0L engine. The GT2 trim packs the 3.3L twin-turbocharged V6, which is mechanically unchanged for 2022 but does receive a new exhaust system. The new exhaust adds an extra 3hp for a new total of 368. Complemented by larger tips, the new exhaust system adds a particularly angry rasp to the Stinger’s sound, especially in Sport mode or under hard acceleration. The Stinger GT2 comes standard with adjustable suspension, with significant differences felt between the various drive modes. Comfort mode relaxes the dampers and lightens the steering for an easy-going driving experience and is probably the best compromise for most driving conditions. Sport mode pipes more engine noise into the cabin while also making the steering heavier and suspension harder, but doesn’t seem to make much difference in terms of pace that can be carried in the Stinger. The Stinger accelerates quickly and smoothly, the optional AWD system providing optimal off the line traction and conspiring with the launch control system to generate grin-inducing launches to 60mph in under 5 seconds. The Stinger has great traction accelerating out of corners but likes to be driven slow into corners. The slow in, fast out style gives the large chassis time to settle and allows the driver to make deliberate inputs to get the Kia turned in. Braking is handled by Brembo-branded brakes up front, but strangely these brakes do not seem to be fully up to the task of slowing the relatively heavy Stinger down after a long and spirited drive. Brake fade can be observed, and our tester already had a vibration under braking that felt an awful lot like warped rotors. This is the second time we’ve experienced this sensation after our first drive in 2018. The suspension presents a relatively commendable ride and handling balance in any drive mode, with the only complaints being nose dive on hard braking and damping that sometimes allows too much bouncing after hitting bumps. Regardless, the Stinger remains a fun and engaging drive, as well as a car that can relax and cruise the highways with the best of them.

The Stinger remains an attractive and well-executed sports sedan for 2022. Though not carrying the same brand cachet as some other sports sedans, the Stinger presents a compelling package made all the more attractive. It is easy to recommend the Stinger GT2 AWD to anyone in the market for a sports sedan for $55k that can do it all and look great at the same time.

-Ken Wilson

2022 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD V6$53,490
Ceramic Silver Paint$495
Red Interior Color Package$295
Cargo Mat$125
Carpeted Floor Mats$155
Cargo Net$50
Destination Charges$1,045
As-Tested MSRP$55,655

Categories: Driven, Ken Wilson, Kia

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.