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2021 Kia Stinger: sports sedan nabs safety and tech upgrades, bigger exhausts

5 months ago

The arrival of the Kia Stinger in 2017 was heralded by some as an adept replacement for big rear-drive Australian sedans of old – and now it’s swung in for a midlife update.


Australian pricing has been announced this week for the 2021 Kia Stinger – an update that ushers in a mid-life facelift and a raft of subtle changes for the rear-wheel-drive sports sedan.

The 2021 Stinger will continue to be offered with either the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, or a more affordable turbocharged two-litre four cylinder engine. Both petrol engines are coupled to an eight-speed torque converter automatic.

Kia Stinger 2021 blue and orange
The 2021 Kia Stinger has gained more safety and tech but you will now pay even more for this somewhat affordable performance sedan

The outputs of the four-cylinder remain unchanged at 182kW/353Nm but Kia’s engineers have managed to eek out an extra 2kW from the V6, which now makes 274kW of power and 520Nm of torque thanks to a new exhaust that gives drivers the ability to dampen or heighten the Stinger’s noise at the touch of a button. 

With those generous numbers, the V6 engine is no slouch, with the ability to slingshot the Stinger from 0-100kp/h in 4.9 seconds – a figure that was good enough to see the Stinger chosen by the Queensland Police for highway patrol duties.

The Stinger will continue with its current line up, but there are considerable price increases across the board – ranging from $2,940 to $740 depending on the variant you choose.

Kicking off the range is the two-litre engine in either the base 200S ($53,090 driveaway) or upper spec GT-Line ($60,690 driveaway), while the V6 will be available in the 300S ($56,890 driveaway) or range topping GT variant ($66,690 driveaway).

Kia Stinger 2021 interior
The Stinger has gained a 10.25 inch multimedia display and a key with a remote start function

What’s the 2021 Stinger’s interior like?

All grades will now receive a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with integrated satellite navigation, along with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

Bluetooth for the Stinger will now be able to support multiple devices at once, giving you the ability to connect one phone for calls while another device handles music streaming.

The GT and GT-Line grades gain a height-adjustable power tailgate for the large hatch that reveals a reasonable 406 litre boot, which expands to 1,114 litres with the seats down.

A remote start function has also been incorporated in the key, which should be helpful to allow the Stinger to cool down its interior, with both the 200S and 300S fitted with leather appointed trim, while the GT-Line and GT grade are upgraded nappa leather, that can heat up in the hot Australian sun.

Kia Stinger 2021 boot
The Stinger’s large hatch opens up to reveal a decent sized 406 litre boot, which expands to 1,114 litres with the rear seats down

What’s changed with the Stinger’s design?

The basic proportions and lines of the Kia Stinger have been maintained in this facelift, which incorporates refreshed LED lights at the front and rear.

At the rear Kia has incorporated 10 individual LED units into the reversing lights to form a subtle checkered flag design,

Kia has given the six-cylinder grades larger exhausts tips, while the high-specification GT-Line four-cylinder and GT V6 receive redesigned 19-inch alloys with a slimmer design to show off their Brembo brakes.

Kia Stinger 2021 front
The twin-turbocharged Kia Stinger is no slouch on the race track and is capable of accelerating from 0-100 kp/h in 4.9 seconds

Is the Stinger still a safe family car?

When it arrived on the scene in 2017, the Stinger controversially received a split ANCAP safety rating, with most models scoring five stars while the base models only managed three stars due to some missing safety tech.

Kia resolved these issues in 2018, and the Stinger has run with a rangewide five-star rating since that point.

For the facelifted version, Kia has upgraded the Stinger’s AEB to a unit now capable of detecting cyclists and junction assist that will slam on the brakes if the front camera detects an oncoming car while turning.  

Opt for either the GT or GT-Line and you will gain the safe exit warning feature – which blares out an alarm if you try to step out of the car into the path of incoming traffic.

The most direct rival for the Stinger is the Audi S5 Sportback which costs $106,900 before on-road costs

Can I find anything else like the Stinger?

The performance sedan is an increasingly rare beast, none more so than those who want to snap one up for under six figures. Perhaps the most direct rival to the Stinger is Audi’s S5 Sportback, which costs $106,900 before on-road costs.

If you need four doors, then the old school manual-only Subaru WRX STI with its 2.5 litre turbocharged four cylinder putting out 221kW/407 Nm through a keen all wheel drive system can be had from $52,140 before on road costs.

Kia Stinger 2021 rear
The Stinger remains a great option for those looking for a family hauler packing serious performance credentials

The very popular Ford Mustang also presents a good option for those who want to go fast while retaining reasonable comfort and practicality with two rear seats and a decent boot.

Prices start at $50,990 before on roads for the 2.3 litre turbo four banger version making 224kW/441Nm but you’ll have to put up at least $63,690 if you want to equip the Stinger-fighting five-litre V8 making 339kW/556Nm.

While not as fast as the above competition Lexus IS350 F Sport ($74,022 before on roads) is also an option for those craving comfort over outright pace, with its 3.5-litre V6 making a sensible 233kW/378Nm.

Kia Stinger 2021: price in Australia

All below prices include all mandatory government fees and charges

  • 200S: $53,090 driveaway
  • GT-Line: $60,690 driveaway
  • 330S: $56,890 driveaway
  • GT: $66,690 driveaway