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Kia’s groundbreaking Stinger hatchback is fresh out of the oven. Its cousin, the Genesis G70, hasn’t been seen yet. But after the Kia’s Detroit auto show debut, the question is already brewing: What’s the difference between the two?

Answering definitively will be crucial for Kia and Genesis. Both cars look to challenge the established compact sport sedans; to do so effectively they’ll need to carve out different identities from each other — despite sharing most of their hardware — and from their competitors.

While executives who worked on both cars weren’t necessarily eager to take up the question, the clearest signal came from Albert Biermann, head of vehicle testing for Kia and Hyundai.

The most obvious differentiator, he said, will be styling, as Kia and Genesis each uses its new baby to set the tone for its brand image.

For Kia, it will be the most conspicuous pivot yet from its heritage as a builder of inexpensive appliances; the Stinger hatchback is meant to be a loud, dramatic grand tourer. “You saw this very colorful choice [on the Kia stand], so it nicely fits to the Kia brand slogan “The power to surprise’ and this is a big surprise, the Stinger,” Biermann told Automotive News. “When we talk about the other brand’s car, it’s a whole different story.”

That car, the Genesis G70, will define the direction of Genesis in a way the G90 and G80 haven’t. When it debuts this year, the G70 will be a more subdued sedan than the Stinger hatch, and stick closer to the conventional sport sedan playbook the European brands wrote decades ago.

The two models’ driving dynamics won’t be radically different, Biermann conceded.

“You can expect some difference in driving experience,” Biermann said. “It’s not so easy maybe [as] with the styling, but I think we can find good tuning and calibration that set them a little bit apart.”

What sets Kia Stinger, Genesis G70 apart?” was originally posted at Automotive News on 1/26/17.

By David Undercoffler at Automotive News