Kia Stinger Review
Written by Anqoinette Crosby
Stinger Lineup Overview
If I had a dollar for every person who stopped, stared and/or questioned me about the Kia Stinger, I could have paid cash for a copy of the sexy hatchback sport sedan by the end of my week with the car. One such person approached me in the grocery store parking lot. Noting the way the Kia stands out in an automotive sea of sameness, he expressed his regret over the recent purchase of a German luxury sports sedan. Substantiating his point, a quick glance around the lot revealed two more cars similar to his parked nearby,
Thus, Kia’s new high performance model occupies a lane all to itself in that regard. However, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. I never saw another Stinger on the road during my week with the car, which added to the Kia’s cool mystique. However, given it has been on the market for about a year now, that exclusivity also means the svelte sedan hasn’t really caught on yet.
This is ironic, because, as I mentioned above, the Korean automaker’s new road rocket inspires a great deal of curiosity. Further, people are even more impressed when they learn it’s a Kia. While there’s no denying the company has positioned the Stinger to give performance-oriented luxury brands a run for their money; buyers aren’t choosing price over prestige.
With that said, I found a number of compelling reasons to give the Kia Stinger a closer look. Surprisingly, (or maybe not, given Kia’s roots as a provider of family transportation) utility leads the list . In addition to being a budget-friendly fast and furious sports sedan, the Stinger is a hatchback, which makes transporting goods much easier. The passenger compartment is also quite welcoming for human cargo, with ample legroom all around—as well as easy entry and exiting.
Sitting at the top of the model’s trim hierarchy, my Kia Stinger GT2 AWD came outfitted to the max. Creature comforts included a head-up display, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto supporting a 15-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system.
Heated and cooled front seats were there too, along with a bevy of active safety tech, such as adaptive cruise control, automatic LED headlights and a backup camera. Rounding out the suite were blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alerts.
Still though, even with the plush Nappa leather upholstering the seats, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the abundance of plain, plastic-looking interior bits. In all honesty, the cabin really could have exuded an edgier aura of elegance for my tastes—particularly in light of the exterior styling. However, when I considered the attractive sticker price, I was more than willing to overlook the few less than premium interior accommodations.
The GT2 AWD also benefits from Stinger’s most potent engine offering; a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 delivering 365 horsepower. Paired with an eight speed automatic transmission, you can choose between rear-or all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is rated at 19 city/25 highway and 21 miles per gallon overall.
Further, when it comes to smiles per gallon, the Stinger GT2 AWD is capable of reaching an estimated 167 miles per hour. The vigor with which the Kia merged onto the Intercounty Connector one afternoon gave me ample reason to believe this claim.
Like most high performance models these days, the Stinger allows you to tailor its demeanor with a drive mode selector. The “sport” setting made the Kia more responsive to the throttle, while also improving handling and control at higher speeds. I explored the Stinger’s performance envelope on a lightly trafficked stretch of Maryland highway using this selection, The other choices included “comfort”, “smart”, “eco” and “custom”, which allows you to blend non-conflicting attributes of all of the settings to your specific needs.
I steered to the nearest exit when traffic on the highway began to congeal, opting for some different scenery. Several stretches of winding country back roads left me wholly appreciative of the Kia’s handling prowess. With the windows down, the moonroof open and a breeze blowing through the roomy cabin—I reveled in the power and freedom of piloting a legit performance car on a wide-open road.
If you’re in the market for a high performance sedan, before you plunk down mad cash to join the me-too crowd, you really should put Kia’s Stinger through a turn or two; it might just sway your heart.
Base pricing starts at $32,900; the fully loaded GT2 AWD comes in at $52,190.