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2021 Kia Stinger facelift; more customisation, same practicality

John Law

Kia has today unveiled a new Stinger Fastback, with more aggressive bodywork, an upgraded interior and greater material customisation.

In Korea, the updated Stinger will hit the market in the third quarter of 2020; global markets will follow suit shortly after. Exact Australian arrival date is yet to be determined.

The updated design, Kia says, plays up the Stinger’s ”gran turismo” aspect – it’s not too far from the truth, to us it sounds like the Koreans are pitching the refreshed Stinger as a cut-price RS5 Sportback.

2021 Kia Stinge rear 3.4
The new Stinger gets some intricate wheels.

New reflector LED headlights are the most noticeable change for 2021 at the front end, the updated daytime running lights still flanking a distinctive tiger-nose grille. There are fresh wheel designs on offer, too, though in images they appear complex and perhaps a little busy.

Swinging around to the rear of the Fastback and Kia spruiks some updated and attractive LED rear lights. Joining them is a red ‘heckblende’ a nod to the Germans of the 80s, perhaps. Overall these changes don’t equate to a whole new look, just a sharper, more modern Stinger.

Upper-trim 2021 Stingers will likely get dark exterior trimming on the diffuser, grille and bonnet vents – as pictured here. Those in the US will also have the option of matte black alloys in the black pack, which will darken the aesthetic further.

2021 Kia Stinge Rear
Performance models get dark trimmings.

The Stinger is largely peerless in Australia, though, as direct German competitors command a chunk more money. You have to compare the fastback to those from a size class down – vehicles like the Mercedes-AMG A 35 Sedan, M235i Gran Coupe and Audi S3.

Inside the updated Stinger is a similar story to the exterior, all the hardpoints remain the same and the quite attractive sweeping design with the three circular air vents remains. Instead, Kia has added new trim options including carbon fibre and the brushed aluminium pictured.

Technology includes a 7-inch fully digital drivers display and familiar 10.25-inch floating touchscreen with shortcut buttons. There’s also 64 colours of ambient lighting to choose from and a frameless mirror.

2021 Kia Stinger interior
The interior is familiar, a good thing we reckon.

Kia has added the choice of dark brown quilted Nappa leather upholstery but – shock horror – not for Australia. The upmarket trim is reserved for the car’s home market in South Korea. Instead, the rest of the world gets the choice of leather upholstery in black, beige, or red.

Also on offer will be a combination of black leather and suede with contrasting red stitching that Kia says evokes the “look of a watch strap”.

Kia is keeping other information, such as powertrain choices, close to its chest for now. Australian Stingers will likely continue to have the halo option twin-turbo V6 with 272kW/510Nm, and probably a less powerful engine, too. Currently, that’s a 182kW/353Nm turbo ‘four.

2021 Kia Stinge Front
But what will nestle under that bonnet?

Details on powertrains, model grades and pricing will be revealed as the updated Stinger’s Australian arrival date gets closer, we’ll have more information as it becomes available.