Kia, the same automaker that sells the 120-hp Rio subcompact and the once hamster-marketed Soul crossover, has a very good sports sedan that doesn’t get the respect—or the sales—it deserves. The Stinger is a four-door hatchback with rear-tire firing—rear-wheel drive is standard—and four-wheel drive as an option. The Stinger is like a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe but with the starting price of an affordable sport compact. The base engine is a snappy 300-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. The available 368-hp twin-turbo V-6 is the preferred method of thrust, and this combination was the first Kia to accelerate to 60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds. This is a great handling car with surprisingly comfortable ride quality plus sharp styling and a premium interior. All that being said, there should be more buzz around the Stinger.
What’s new for 2023?
The Kia Stinger celebrates its fifth rotation around the sun with a simplified lineup and two special edition models for 2023. Last year’s GT-Line, GT1, and GT2 availability has been slimmed down to just GT-Line and GT2. Kia also offers Apex and Grand Tourer special edition packages. Available exclusively for the Stinger GT-Line, Apex goes dark with Brembo brakes, black exhaust tips, fenders and mirrors. Exclusively available for Stinger GT2, the Grand Tourer also adds black exhaust tips, fenders and mirrors, but gains specialization for the interior with black suede seat inserts, suede dashboard trim and sporty red stitching for the seats, instrument panel and set of belts.
Prices and which one to buy
The right way to order the Stinger is with the fiery 368-hp twin-turbo V-6. The only way to get that power source is to order the GT2. For an additional charge, you can add all-wheel drive, but that replaces the rear-drive Stinger’s Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires with all-seasons. All-wheel drive also reduces the top speed from 167 mph to 149 mph. Granted, you could end up in jail at any of those speeds, but should you want to enter the Stinger into a track day at a track with a very long straight, the extra 18 mph could just come in handy.
Engine, transmission and performance
The Stinger is available with two different turbocharged engines, a 300-hp 2.5-liter turbo-four as well as a 368-hp twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6. The V-6 delivers blistering performance that gets our enthusiast’s blood pumping. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which, in our experience, delivers quick shifts at redline and is unobtrusive when left to shift on its own. However, we wish the paddle shifters offered sharper responses to driver input. Still, the V-6-powered Stinger GT doesn’t disappoint for drivers intent on straight-line speed. The all-wheel-drive Stinger GT2 has mastered straight-line speed; It sprinted to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds while our track testing. It suits itself well in normal driving, but when pushed to the limit it couldn’t quite match the composure of its more established competition. Similarly, we identified some protests from the rear suspension-an unnerving sidestep when turning hard on a bumpy road-while some front-and-rear lean accompanied our overall acceleration and braking runs. The GT2 features powerful Brembo brakes, which provided quick stopping at any rate and fit in nicely with this class of high-performance sedans. Without the Brembos and rolling on less grippy all-season tires, the Stinger is less impressive.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The rear-drive, four-cylinder Stinger has the highest estimated fuel economy, with EPA ratings of 22 mpg city and 32 highway. Efficiency drops slightly when all-wheel drive is added, to an EPA-rated 21 and 29 mpg, respectively. Of course, the more powerful V-6 engine is less efficient at 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, especially with all-wheel drive, which drops its estimates to 17 and 24 mpg. While we didn’t test the new 2.5-liter turbo four on our 75 mph highway route, which is part of our extensive testing regime, the all-wheel-drive, V-6 model we evaluated returned 26 mpg in that test. For more information on the Stinger’s fuel consumption, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
The Stinger’s interior is well-designed and attractive, but it can’t quite match the Audi A4 or the BMW 3 Series for material quality or construction. Then again, the Come on costs significantly less than those two German sedans. However, the Stinger offers a significantly more comfortable rear seat than many cars in this price range—and its space advantage feels greater than its numbers would suggest. While the Stinger’s interior is free of glaring mistakes and omissions, the overall effect is less polished than the efforts we’ve enjoyed from established luxury brands. The Stinger’s declared trunk volume would predict it to have by far the most cargo space in this set, but it only outsold its rivals by a small margin in our real-world cargo tests. With its wide hatchback opening and long wheelbase, we hoped the Stinger would do even better in these measurements. Its center console is on the large side for a car, which helps compensate for the fact that the front door pockets are the smallest of the bunch.
Infotainment and connectivity
Kia’s infotainment system—called UVO—is used to good effect in the Stinger and consists of an 8.0- or 10.3-inch touchscreen mixed with useful physical buttons. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is a six-speaker stereo system. Audiophiles can upgrade to a 15-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo system, and Kia also offers a host of other tech upgrades, such as a wireless smartphone charging pad and in-dash navigation.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
The Stinger offers many of the most popular driver assistance features as standard equipment. For more information on the Stinger’s crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane departure warning and lane keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Cover
Kia’s long drivetrain warranty is practically legendary, easily surpassing every other car in this set for length of coverage. Unlike many of its premium brand competitors, the Stinger offers no complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD
Vehicle type: front engine, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
Base/As Tested: $54,535/$55,185
Options: Hichroma Red paint, $495; carpeted floor mats, $155
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 204 inches33342 cm3
Power: 368 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 1300 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.8-in ventilated disc/13.4-in ventilated disc
Tires: Michelin Primacy Tour A/S
F: 225/40R-19 93W M+S
R: 255/35R-19 96W M+S
Wheelbase: 114.4 inches
Length: 190.2 inches
Width: 73.6 inches
Height: 55.1 inches
Passenger volume: 96 feet3
Cargo volume: 23 feet3
Curb weight: 4179 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.6 sec
100 mph: 11.5 sec
1/4-mile: 13.1 sec @ 107 mph
130 mph: 20.8 sec
150 mph: 32.6 sec
Results above show 1 foot deployment of 0.3 sec. away.
Roll start, 5–60 mph: 5.3 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.4 sec
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 149 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 187 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-ft Skid road: 0.85 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 16 mpg
75 mph highway driving: 28 mpg
Highway range: 440 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 20/17/24 mpg
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