As a large and fairly profligate executive saloon from Korea, the Kia Stinger GTS was never going to be a volume seller in the UK. That didn't stop it from being an entirely likeable car, however, combining lusty performance with well-honed rear-drive handling. Looked pretty smart, too.
Its meagre success - fewer than 1,000 V6 Stingers have found homes here since 2017 - hasn't altered Kia's decision to bring the facelifted car here, though. While the rest of the range has been culled (the diesel and the 2.0-litre four-cylinder) the V6 GTS soldiers on. Mechanically it's unaltered, the twin-turbo 3.3-litre churning out 365hp and 376lb ft, sufficient for 0-62mph in less than five seconds and a limited 168mph top speed.
The more significant changes are cosmetic, with "a refreshed design to amplify its gran turismo character" alongside an interior update. Given the cabin was an area where rivals held a noticeable advantage over the Stinger, it's encouraging to see the driving environment receive attention - a new 10.25-inch central infotainment screen is the most notable new addition, with standard smartphone pairing, wireless charging and Kia Connected Services. It's allied to a 15-speaker harman/Kardon sound system, and complemented by a smaller, seven-inch display between the driver's dials and head-up display.
It wouldn't be a 2021 facelift without a healthy roster of active safety kit, either, and the Stinger comes loaded with such equipment: the press release mentions 13 new acronyms that we'll spare you from. It's the usual stuff - lane keep assist, blind spot warning, speed limit assist and so on - but with a couple of notable additions: Smart Cruise Control can drive curved sections of motorway or A-road, and Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) "provides a warning to the driver if they leave behind any pets or children when they exit the car." Yep, really.
As for the outside, the revised GTS is very clearly still a Kia Stinger - which is no bad thing, in our book. There's a new rear light bar, LED indicators in a chequered flag design, a fresh set of 19-inch wheels and Electric Blue offered as a colour choice for the first time. And that's it. Still, if it ain't broke and all that.
The one-model 2021 Kia Stinger range is available to pre-order now, priced at £42,595 - a modest rise from the £40,495 it launched at. Again it compares pretty favourably with rivals - a 420d M Sport is £43,000 - though it seems unlikely that a gentle facelift and the retention of a fairly old engine will do much for modest Stinger sales. Still, this sounds like a good car made modestly better in key areas, and it's easy to imagine this update impressing in the same unassuming way as the original did. Expect deliveries later in the year.
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