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2018 Kia Stinger Review By Larry Nutson

2018 Kia Stinger Review (select to view enlarged photo)

2018 Kia Stinger Review

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

The timing of my Stinger GT media-loan worked out well. On Sunday morning I was planning to cruise over to a local Chicago summer-time gathering of motor-heads. Rise & Drive is a cars and coffee type casual meet-up of local car folk that brings out a decent assortment of different special interest vehicles.

The very stylish 2018 Stinger GT in its Silky Silver exterior paint and red Nappa leather interior would draw some attention and make for conversation.

Kia has established itself very well as a strong entry in the non-premium brand segment offering a nice variety of practical and high-quality cars and SUVs. The Stinger is taking them into new territory.

Kia has ranked number one among all mass-market brands for four consecutive years by J.D. Power in the 2018 Initial Quality Study (IQS). Kia Motors America continues to be at the top of quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands

2018 Kia Stinger Review (select to view enlarged photo)

When Kia introduced the Stinger five-passenger fastback sports sedan they were poised to redefine a segment currently populated by European automakers. The Stinger is the highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history.

I’ve previously driven the Stinger. That was right at the time they were rolling into dealers in December 2017. You can read my impressions from that drive right HERE

Over the past year the Stinger has received a number of industry accolades including: the EyesOn Design award for Production Car Design Excellence; ranking as one of three finalist for the North American Car of the Year award; being named to Wards 10 best engines list; Roadshow by CNET 2018 Shift Award Vehicle of the Year; Best of the Year in MotorWeek’s 2018 Drivers’ Choice Awards; named one of Autotrader’s 10 Best Car Interiors under $50,000; as well as, Wards 10 Best Interiors for 2018.

I’ve summarized all these mainly to reinforce that this mainstream Kia brand can indeed do a car that competes well with premium brand entries in the market place.

For my re-acquaintance with the Stinger I drove the GT2 trim with all-wheel drive that has a base price of $51,400. This model has the 365-HP 3.3-L twin turbo V6 and an 8-speed automatic.

Stinger is offered in five trim levels: Stinger, Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2. A 255-HP twin turbo 2.0-L is equipped on the Stinger and Premium. The previously mentioned V6 is equipped on the GT, GT1 and GT2. All five trims use an 8-speed automatic and are offered in either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Prices start at $31,900 and go up to $51,400. The added cost for AWD is $2200 which might be the right choice if you frequently drive in snow in the winter months especially in hilly parts of the country.

Kia says zero to 60 mph with the 2.0-L is in 5.9 seconds, which is very adequate. For the enthusiast, the V6 gets to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

There’s very comfortable seating for five. At 114.4 inches, the Stinger’s wheelbase is longer than the Audi A5 Sportback, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and the Lexus GS.

In my drives in Chicago and the surrounding area the Stinger provided lots of comfort. Seating is low in the cockpit providing a good connection to the Stinger’s dynamics. The rear seat is plenty wide for three but the sloping roof line needs watching for tall folk.

2018 Kia Stinger Review (select to view enlarged photo)

2018 Kia Stinger Review (select to view enlarged photo)

With the 19-inch wheels that have staggered ultra-high performance Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires--225/40R-19 in front and 255/35R-19 at the rear, there was no excessive ride harshness with the continuously damping electronically controlled suspension doing its job very well.

Standard on the GT2 and optional on the other trim are driver-assistance safety features including forward collision warning with stop, smart cruise control with stop and go, lane keep and departure warning, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. I recommend you get all of these.

Take a look at for more information, specifications, features and options on each Stinger model. For 2018, through May, Kia has sold 7,059 Stingers and the monthly sales pace keeps rising.

Kia’s warranty is worthy of note with the basic warranty good for 5 years or 60,000 miles and the powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

The Stinger GT has a lower starting price and better performance than many Euro-brand grand touring sedans as well as those from the Asian brands. It’s worth a hard look.

2018 Kia Stinger Review (select to view enlarged photo)

As it turned out, the Stinger GT did draw some attention at my Sunday Rise & Drive show. Most show-goers hadn’t even seen one on the street and were curious about the Stinger’s performance creds. Plus, that red interior brought out a few wows!

© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy