No sooner had the sheet been whipped off the 2018 Kia Stinger sedan at the Detroit auto show than speculation began about potential future powertrains beyond the turbocharged 2.0-liter four and 3.3-liter V-6 engines offered at launch.
We already know Kia will offer a diesel engine in the Europe-market Stinger and that there are no plans to bring this version to the United States. Based on our limited experience of the corporate diesel 2.2-liter four-cylinder, this is no great loss. However, it looks as if we will see more powertrain options here, including the possibility of partly and even fully electrified drivetrains.
Spencer Cho, Kia’s overseas product marketing boss, confirmed that despite the Stinger’s longitudinal powertrain layout, it will be able to benefit from the electrification options Kia developed for the transverse-engined Optima sedan. “We can utilize the currently available hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, and EV technology” for the Stinger’s benefit, he said.
Cho conceded that packaging requirements are quite different for a full EV, and he hinted that the development team has considered it—with a transmission tunnel that could accommodate batteries, for example. “I have full confidence in our engineers,” he said, “and if we need the EV Stinger to come to light, our engineers can come up with ideas for putting the batteries into this vehicle.”
Although he said there are no immediate plans for a pure-electric version, Cho confirmed that one could be developed quickly. “We don’t have any EV in the plan yet, but we have the capability to bring EVs in the near future if the demand is there, based on market reception. The global EV market is still small, but it is getting bigger and bigger due to CAFE in the U.S. and European emissions standards.”