The 2018 Stinger brings true performance to Kia

The Stinger has style and performance at an affordable price.

The 2018 Kia Stinger GT2
The 2018 Kia Stinger GT2. –Kia

Kia is known for its affordability, but not for building sporty sedans. That’s changing with the introduction of the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger.

This sleek sports sedan is intended as a competitor to BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Kia even tuned the Stinger on the infamous Nürburgring in Germany to prove its track-worthiness. There was a lot of hype surrounding the launch of this car, but does it deliver?

It looks the part, with a low, wide stance, long hood, and sloping fastback roofline. Take a deeper look, and there’s a rear spoiler to smooth out the airflow as well as working vents. The Stinger’s look is equal parts style and functionality.

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Underneath the hood is either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which is found only in the two base models, or a 3.3-liter V6 found in the three GT trims. This larger engine has an impressive 365 horsepower with 376 pound-feet of torque, and it’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. There are also standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters across the lineup.

Adding to its performance chops are high performance dampers, an electronically controlled suspension in the top GT1 and GT2 trims, and a limited slip differential that’s optional in the GT and standard in the GT2. All of the necessary components of a sports sedan are there to prove Kia’s intentions.

Turn on the engine then give it some gas, and the Stinger quickly proves Kia was on the right track. Acceleration is strong, and you will easily outpace highway traffic without even trying. The slightest touch on the accelerator sends the Stinger leaping forward. We found the Stinger undeniably quick during our test drive. Kia says it’ll do zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds.

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A sports sedan isn’t solely about being quick, however. It also needs to handle well, especially if you have any intention of taking it out on the track. Kia built this as a track-ready sedan, and handling during our time on public roads proved it something of a showoff.

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It stayed planted to the pavement even in tight corners with long, curved exit ramps turning into joy rides. Tight, controlled steering combined with the Stinger’s sure stance make it an easy sports sedan to drive. You won’t find yourself fighting for control over every bump or on rough pavement. The Stinger is smooth and compliant, never forgetting that it’s supposed to be both sporty and comfortable for passengers.

Adding to its strong handling and easy ride is a luxurious interior. Every Stinger has power-adjustable leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, which are both heated for those cold winter mornings. The top GT2 trim adds ventilation to the front seats and premium Nappa leather seat trims. The driver’s seat also sees an upgrade from 12-way adjustability with four-way lumbar to 16-way adjustability with four-way air-cell lumbar, two-way width adjustable bolsters, and seat extension.

It’s a comfortable interior with sport seats that are supportive without squishing larger frames. Seating position is low, as is typical for sport sedans, but the highly adjustable seats make it easy to find a comfortable seating position with a good view of the road. The Stinger is roomy — with enough legroom in both the front and rear seats for those over 6-feet tall. Headroom is a bit more challenging, especially for rear passengers, due to that fastback roofline.

Infotainment includes a 7-inch touchscreen with six-speaker audio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Top trims see upgrades that include a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon surround-sound system, navigation, and 8-inch touchscreen. Bluetooth connectivity is also standard along with AM/FM/MP3/HD/satellite radio making the system fully-featured, even in base models.

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That’s a lot of features and a lot of performance, which usually means a lot of dollars. This is where the Kia truly outshines its competitors. The base Stinger is priced at $31,900, while the top GT2 with all-wheel drive comes in at $51,400.

The 2018 Kia Stinger offers the performance and comfort of a luxury sports sedan with the traditionally affordable pricing of a Kia. The Kia Stinger is now available nationwide.