by Jay Traugott
Kia changed the rules of the game when it introduced the Stinger performance sedan for the 2018 model year. With its fastback design and powerful optional engine, many quickly came to regard the Stinger as an affordable alternative to the Porsche Panamera and Audi A7. It was a 365-hp, rear-wheel-drive sedan for just over $52,000 fully-loaded. It was a good proposition, and Kia knew it. Unfortunately, the Stinger arrived at a time when sedans were under threat from crossovers. They still are, but the refreshed 2022 Kia Stinger is an even better reminder of why sedans still matter.
For the upcoming model year, Kia has given the Stinger some mild exterior and interior styling updates, but the most significant changes are found under the hood. There's also a new special edition that many will find quite appealing on looks alone. The Stinger remains Kia's halo sedan and although it'll never sell in crossover numbers, it continues to do an excellent job pleasing the performance sedan faithful.
See trim levels and configurations:
Aside from Kia's new logo glued to its hood, the 2022 Stinger now comes standard with LED headlights with a new daytime running light signature. The also-standard LED taillights are connected by a new full-width taillight bar. The GT receives the full LED plus LED turn signals. New 18- or 19-inch alloy wheel designs have been introduced and a new exhaust tip design provides more eye candy.
About that special edition, it's called the Scorpion and it's due later this spring. With three unique exterior colors to pick from (Snow White, Aurora Black, and Ceramic Silver), owners will further enjoy a rear spoiler, blacked-out side mirrors, exhaust tips, and wheels. Three trims will now be offered: GT-Line, GT1, and GT2. The latter two have the optional twin-turbo V6 while the GT-Line has a new engine. More on that shortly.
The interior's overall layout remains mostly the same though there are some notable improvements. Kia has added black gloss and chrome detailing on the instrument panel and ambient LED mood lighting is standard. GT models get Napa leather upholstery and the Scorpion edition has carbon fiber trim elements.
A new 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard fare. The TFT center cluster has increased in size to 4.2-inches. An optional 7-inch cluster is not only easier to read but also includes live video from the also available Surround View Monitor system consisting of four cameras for a complete 360-degree view. A Harmon/Kardon premium audio system is also optional.
Seating remains for up to five passengers and overall interior and cargo volume remains unchanged. The Stinger's fastback design not only looks great but allows for easier rear compartment access.
Perhaps the biggest and best change Kia made to the 2022 Stinger is a new entry-level engine. Gone is the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, and its place is a new 2.5-liter turbo-four with 300 hp and 311 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic routes power to either the rear or all four wheels for all Stingers. Kia estimates the new base model will reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and it's just as fuel-efficient as the old engines, returning 22/32/25 mpg city/highway/combined for the RWD model and 21/29/24 mpg in AWD spec.
The 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 in the Stinger GT remains unchanged, though it has a 3 hp increase for a total of 368 hp and 376 lb-ft. Zero to 60 mph takes just 4.7 seconds. Enthusiasts will further appreciate the new electronic variable exhaust that changes the sound. UVO link telematics provides more connectivity than the last version, such automatic engine shut-off, smart speaker integration, and enhanced voice assist.
An even bigger list of driver-assist systems includes Safe Exit Warning, Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance, Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, and Highway Driver Assist.
Pricing for the 2022 Kia Stinger has not been released though it's rumored to have a $3,000 increase over the current 2021 model. Kia also hasn't provided an on-sale date but a fair assumption would be sometime later this summer or early fall.
Like before, the Stinger will continue to face off against the Mazda Mazda6, Dodge Charger, Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and the Volkswagen Arteon, to name a few. But the Stinger carries the distinction of being the only one of the bunch to combine fastback styling, more than 300 horsepower, and RWD or AWD for around $50,000.
The sedan body style will likely never go out of fashion completely, but it's definitely less popular than ever before. Sedans that manage to survive must truly be standouts and the Kia Stinger continues to be one of the best.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Kia Stinger:
Check out some informative Kia Stinger video reviews below.