2021 Kia Stinger 2.0 GT Line Review: G-Pop

Facelifted Stinger still delivers an authentic driving experience and more, and while it’s more expensive now it’s still offers a German driving experience for a less-than-German price in Singapore


If you don’t know what a Kia Stinger is we’ll lift the rock and tell you right here in our review of the car at its 2018 debut in Singapore, as well as the story of how it was developed on the Nurburgring by BMW M’s ex-head of engineering. 

In a snail shell, the Stinger is a German car in Korean clothes. The five-door fastback grand tourer is a sedan-shaped car with a hatchback, and it’s bigger than a BMW 3 Series but smaller than a BMW 5 Series. 

As we reported in our news story, this is the facelifted model that introduces cosmetic tweaks and some quality-of-life improvements on the inside of the car.

In the metal, the new Stinger is still a handsome car thanks to its low, wide stance and muscular proportions. The car’s face isn’t hugely different with a wide Tiger grille and toothy lower section. The headlights have been changed, with a new daytime running light signature and dynamic turn signals.

The most obvious mutation is that the taillights are now a single segment connected by an oh-so-fashionable lightbar. Perhaps most important is that it’s ample proof of Kia’s design confidence now, since it  never obviously cribs from the Germans which have so inspired it. 

Business is almost as usual on the inside too, unless you know what you’re looking for. The driver-centric cockpit layout presages an exciting place to spend the time, and it’s held up very well in 2021 though it isn’t doesn’t have as much wow as it did in 2018 because of mainstream brands raising the bar – Mazda’s CX-30 for instance, and Kia itself in the Sorento.

Nice touches include leather on the central dash and doors, along with great feeling switchgear, and it’s clear this isn’t an everyday Kia, though the central steering wheel section is the same soft-ish plastic as on a Seltos or Niro. The comfy, bolstered sport seats are still both electrically-adjustable though, and come with heating/cooling. 

Ambient lighting has also been improved

The central infotainment touchscreen screen is bumped up an inch, to 8.0-inches, though it looks identical otherwise, and is relatively easy to use.

Look Ma, no wires! Wireless Android Auto is a first in the mainstream segment.

One major feather in Kia’s cap is that the Stinger is the first non-BMW car (BMW introduced the feature earlier this year via its in-car over-the-air updates) to have wireless Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, which is very useful in conjunction with the wireless device charger. It’s a big bonus because now you don’t need a wire poking out everywhere, and you can use Google Assistant or Siri which are far easier to use than any in-car voice control systems around.

The Stinger still packs a huge list of features, everything from a sunroof to keyless, to a powered tailgate, and even radar cruise control – so much so that it certainly feels like a premium car since almost every convenience is automated for you.

There’s also a full suite of active safety systems, with some new additions: A surround view parking monitor (which is great since the car’s rear windscreen is tiny) and a new blind spot monitor system that shows you a side view of the car when you indicate. Very useful in an era where pandas sometimes behave like lemmings.

Blind spot monitor literally – you can see who’s lurking at the side when you indicate
We demo the new Blind Spot Monitor and more in Kia’s all-new Sorento seven-seat SUV

As before, the Stinger will take four adults in comfort and with good legroom, although the dramatic slope of the roofline cuts into headroom, and leaves 406-litres of cargo space in an easily-accessible though relatively shallow boot area.

Page 2: But what you really want to know is: Does it drive well?

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong