Every passing year sees the lines between luxury and mainstream cars get a little blurrier, as premium brands continue to add smaller, more affordable models and companies like Kia — formerly a stalwart of the entry-level market segments — reach into upscale territory with cars like the Stinger.
Stinger GT Review: Here’s our full take on Kia’s 365-hp sedan
Kia is quite clear about its aspirations for this car: to prove it can engineer a vehicle to compete with established German and Japanese sport sedans. And while we initially thought the Stinger was indeed a sedan, we were pleasantly surprised to discover it’s actually a fastback, with a large trunk accessed through a tailgate.
That creates a design link to cars like the Porsche Panamera, Audi A7 and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, any of which could have served as inspiration for the Stinger’s styling.
Attention Seeking Stinger
But never mind what cars Kia hopes the Stinger GT can emulate at its US$38,350 or C$49,995 starting price: It attracts a lot of attention in its own right. A woman in the grocery-store parking lot knew more about the car than I did; when we crossed back into Canada after a road trip to the U.S., the customs officer had many enthusiastic questions; and a couple of guys in a Corvette challenged us to a race on Ontario’s busy Highway 401 through Toronto (obviously, we declined, which is fine because they would have won anyway).
Engine & Performance
|Type||3.3L Twin Turbo V6|
|Displacement (cc)||3,342 cc|
|Bore x stroke (mm)||92.0 mm x 83.8 mm|
|Horsepower||365 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque||376 lb.-ft. @ 1,300-4,500 rpm|
|Valve System||DOHC D-CVVT 24V|
|Fuel System||GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection)|
|Rec. Fuel||Premium Recommended|
|Fuel tank capacity (gal.)||15.9 gallons|
Kia has baked in performance to back up that head-turning appearance, with a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 making 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. Those are pretty average-sounding numbers for a sporty car these days, but it nonetheless makes the Stinger feel very quick at city speeds and thoroughly competent as a highway driver.
|Transmission Gear Ratios: 8-speed automatic transmission||–|
|Final gear ratio||3.538:1|
|Layout/drive||Front Engine/ Rear or All Wheel Drive|
|Top Speed – 18″ Tires||130 MPH|
|Top Speed – 19″ Tires||167 MPH|
All-wheel drive is standard, an arrangement we appreciate both for its efficient application of power in fair weather and for adding traction in foul conditions. While all 2018 models use our tester’s potent V6, next year will see Kia add a four-cylinder engine that will offer less power at a lower price.
Presumably, that smaller engine will also promise fuel consumption lower than the V6’s estimates of 12.7/9.6 L/100 km (city/highway); our tester averaged about 9.5 L/100 km in more than 1,000 km of highway driving.
|Rear suspension||Multi Link (5-link)|
|Shock absorber||Gas or Electric|
The Stinger’s standard suspension is an adjustable setup whose firmness changes according to the drive mode you choose. In its most compliant setting, the Stinger’s ride comfort rivals the poshest luxury sedans you can think of.
Stinger’s Drive Modes
Unlike many performance cars with multiple suspension settings, even the firm sport mode was chill enough to be comfortable on most of the roads we traveled. In fact, we wished it was even a bit firmer during the opportunities we had to test the Stinger’s cornering abilities.
Toggling sport mode also makes the throttle more responsive and commands the eight-speed transmission to let the engine gain some revs before shifting, for a sportier feel.
|Wheel size, front (in.)||8.0J×19|
|Wheel size, rear (in.)||8.5Jx19|
|Wheel size, optional||8.0J×18|
|Tire size, front||P225/40R19|
|Tire size, rear||P255/35R19|
|Tire size, optional||P225/45R18|
|Spare Tire||Temporary Tire|
|Brake Type front/rear||Brembo4-Wheel Disc (Vented Front and Rear)|
|Size (in.) front/rear||13.8 in. / 13.4 in.|
|Brake caliper, front/rear||Four piston / Two piston|
|Parking brake type||Electronic Parking|
|Front (in.)||38.3 in.|
|Rear (in.)||37.0 in.|
|Front (in.)||42.6 in.|
|Rear (in.)||36.4 in.|
|Front (in.)||56.4 in.|
|Rear (in.)||54.8 in.|
|Front (in.)||55.5 in.|
|Rear (in.)||56.1 in.|
|Passenger capacity (cu. ft.)||93.8 cu. ft.|
|Cargo area capacity (cu. ft.)||23.3 cu. ft.|
|Total interior capacity (cu. ft.)||117.1 cu. ft.|
The Stinger boasts front seats perfectly comfortable for long-haul driving, and the rear is more than adequate for adults, despite some of the car’s long wheelbase being sacrificed for the space-inefficient longitudinal driveline layout. That drivetrain has little effect we can discern on a vast trunk that can be expanded by folding the rear seats.
One of my few misgivings about this car is Kia’s decision to attach such an aggressive-sounding name to it. Don’t get me wrong: The Stinger is a great performer, but there’s a lot more to it than getting places quickly.
2018 Kia Stinger GT Price & Value
Taken as a whole, the Stinger feels more expensive than its starting price, and its performance and quality still feel like a bargain. That’s a phenomenon we’ve become accustomed to in Kia’s recent models, but the company has taken that concept a lot further here, creating a vehicle that deserves to be considered alongside some of the world’s best upscale cars.
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Stinger GT Photos
© Amee Reehal