New product reveals are typically highly choreographed affairs, even these days with livestreamed virtual events taking precedence over the usual in-person press conference. This is true whether we’re talking about a new tech gadget or a new car. So it’s certainly a surprise that almost a full week before the redesigned U.S-spec 2022 Kia Stinger will be formally unveiled by the Korean automaker, somehow the car’s already been shipped to a few dealers and posted for sale online, complete with a typically terrible photo set to go with the listing.
Just a couple days ago, Kia showed off a close-cropped teaser image of the 2022 Stinger’s new headlight design, telling people to stay tuned for the full monty on March 16. But thanks to Citrus Motors in California and Towbin Kia in Nevada, the updated car can be seen at this very moment on their respective sites and Autotrader—specifically the upper-mid GT1 trim, priced in the mid-$40,000 range. So how does an apparent mistake like this even happen?
To hear Kia tell it, it’s not really a mistake. According to a spokesperson, “[There’s] nothing nefarious going on…just dealers anxious and ready for the new models, and yes the big reveal is early next week. You’re going to love the video we put together!” That might be true, but so is the fact that now you and I don’t have to wait for that to learn what’s new with the 2022 Stinger in America. Notably, the spokesperson didn’t directly address our question about why these cars ended up at dealerships before the planned event.
When we spoke with a sales manager at Towbin Kia, they told us that the vehicle was delivered sometime last week, but they weren’t able to provide information on why they were shipped a facelifted 2022 so early. It might make sense to pre-populate some stores with new Stingers, though let’s be honest—it’s not like they’re flying off the lot.
Anyway, let’s dig into the car.
In case you haven’t noticed, there are a number of small but notable tweaks to the updated Stinger. On the front, the most notable change is the LED headlight pattern. Kia’s new logo has also made an appearance, signaling that more modern branding is coming for its future lineup. The rear received an appreciated makeover, too, including a new lower valance, larger exhaust openings (that will hopefully make a better sound) and a revised taillight design with a full-width light bar. Then there are those new wheels, which do look pretty sharp, literally and figuratively.
The interior feels more or less the same from the photos we’ve seen, plus that new logo on the steering wheel and the larger 10-inch infotainment screen that’s already made its way into 2021 model year Stingers in other markets. While we don’t have any details of what’s under the hood, CarScoops—the first site to spot the listings—claims to have seen a dealer sheet showing a three-horsepower bump to the car’s existing twin-turbo V6 powerplant, making for a total of 368 hp.
Granted, there are probably a lot of other updates—rumors have held the car’s getting new standard safety features, a variable exhaust setup and a new 300-hp, 2.5-liter four cylinder base engine to accompany an expected $3,000 bump above the current starting price of $34,135. You will have to wait until March 16 for all those details, unless another dealership wants to go rogue and post the full spec sheet.
For reference, here’s the 2021 Stinger from the front and rear.
Despite all the new bits, the Stinger is largely the same car under new skin—and that’s perfectly okay. The Stinger is a properly good performance sedan that deserves more love. Ironically, the car was plagued by dealer markups and other shenanigans like test drive bans after its 2017 launch, prompting questions about whether Kia dealerships were equipped to cater to the moneyed enthusiasts to whom a car like the Stinger is supposed to appeal.
Did Kia ship the cars early by accident? Possibly. Or maybe Kia dealerships are trying to make the Stinger more accessible in their own way. Either way, the 2022 Kia Stinger will officially launch on March 16. You know, officially.
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