NAIAS 2017 | Episode 13 : KIA

Introduction of the Kia Stinger at the show was an interesting surprise. Having spun the Genesis brand away from Hyundai to go after the premium makes, now the manufacturer pushes Kia in the BMW direction. Kia hired an ex-Audi designer and an ex-BMW dynamics expert to work on the team, so it is clear that they meant business – including testing at the Nurburgring.

As Laurent Boulay told us,” the car is designed by Andreas Sittel and Miklos Kowacks, colour and trim by Barbara Schaeffler, supported by our colleagues in the Namyang Design center. As a small team we are all very proud to write the next steps with this car.” And we can agree on that…Note that the Stinger received the Eye On Design Award for production car design Excellence…

The Stinger is a long low 4-door with aggressive, sporty styling. It is essentially a fastback/ hatchback and the long roof is accentuated by the signature Kia bright trim flowing up the A-Pillar along the roof and all the way down the C-Pillar to the base of the back lite. The ‘dog bone’ grille gives the impression of a snarling animal and the numerous black intakes and vents add to the sporty impression. If it were ours, we would prefer the car in a darker colour to minimize the intrusiveness of all the vents. The rather simplistic extension of the tail lamp into the quarter panel is one jarring element in an otherwise attractive design. The rear headroom is good, in spite of the low roof, but the entry/egress is somewhat difficult. The interior is well executed and suitably Germanic. With 365 hp, the twin turbo 3.3 L V6 should provide more than adequate performance.


The Koreans have made great strides in the US market, steadily increasing market share and delivering excellent quality products.  Their two-pronged dual brand strategy seems to be working as they relentlessly move up market.  The Hyundai Equus and Kia K900 4 door luxury sedan models are priced in the $62,000 to $67,000 range.  This is pretty rarified air and it remains to be seen if this will be a step to far at this point in the brands’ development.
To add some excitement, Kia introduced the GT4 Stinger concept, a two-seat sport coupe with a somewhat retro look.  The forms were smooth and without a lot of the heavy sculpturing that we have seen on many other concepts.  Most striking is the front end.  The grill is bold and open, with a narrow bright surround featuring a subtle version of the Kia look.  More important, however, are the unique headlamps, cleverly styled into the leading edge of the front fenders.  The lights themselves are made up of 6 horizontal LEDs forming a rectangular block.  This breaks new ground and is like nothing we have seen before.
The bodyside has pronounced wheel arches, but remains simple and elegant.  The wheels were ‘different’, but not to our taste.  At the rear, the back window flows into the glossy black back panel which is contained on each side by bold ‘C’-shaped taillamps.  All in all it was a very attractive concept from Kia.  Let’s hope that they bring something like this into production.