2018 Kia Stinger Review


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2018 Kia Stinger Overview

Kia caused quite a stir when it unveiled its GT concept vehicle at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show—with a bold front end, raked roofline, suicide doors, and a turbocharged V6 sending 390 hp to the rear wheels, it was unlike anything the South Korean automaker had done before. The concept proved so popular that Kia decided to make the GT into a production model, and at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show it was revealed under its new name—the Stinger.

Transitioning a vehicle from concept to production is a difficult balancing act, juggling safety and passenger-space requirements without losing the essence of what made the concept vehicle so popular. In the case of the Stinger, Kia was able to keep the concept’s design mostly intact for the production model. Its front end features a floating hood, dual grilles, a heavily sculpted front bumper, and LED headlights, while the side profile is reminiscent of the Audi A5 and A7 Sportbacks with a coupe-like roofline and long front end. At the rear, Kia extended the LED taillights into the fenders and added an integrated rear diffuser with quad tailpipes.

The Stinger’s interior might not have quite as much flair as its exterior, but it’s clearly built with the driver in mind, with a center stack that angles towards the driver and a straightforward control layout. All Stingers come with a 7-inch touchscreen mounted on top of the dash with Kia’s UVO infotainment system and an extensive list of available features, including Nappa leather upholstery, a heads-up display, a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, and wireless charging. The Stinger surpasses its main competitors in length—at 190.2 inches, it’s 4.1 inches longer than the Audi A4 and 7.3 inches longer than the BMW 3-Series. Kia also promises best-in-class rear legroom, thanks to its 114.4-inch wheelbase, and a practical hatchback that opens up to a large cargo area.

Under the hood, the Stinger offers 2 powertrain options. The base version comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the GT gets a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 with an output of 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. Kia estimates that the V6-equipped Stinger will hit 62 mph in 5.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 167 mph. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), although all-wheel drive (AWD) with a torque-vectoring system is also available. RWD models are further outfitted with a mechanical limited-slip differential.

The Stinger will be the first model to feature Kia’s new Dynamic Stability Damping Control electronically adjustable suspension, which continuously adjusts the dampers to improve cornering agility based on driver inputs and road conditions. The driver can also make their own adjustments to the suspension, steering, and throttle response by selecting from 5 different drive modes: Eco, Sport, Comfort, Smart, or Personal. When equipped with the 4-cylinder engine, the Stinger sports 18-inch wheels, while V6 models receive upgraded 19-inchers and premium Brembo disc brakes.

Kia will be offering a full complement of advanced driver-assist systems for the Stinger, from forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking to adaptive cruise control. The Stinger is available with Kia’s new Driver Attention Alert system, which monitors the driver for any reductions in attention level and will issue a warning chime if it determines the driver needs to take a break.

Kia hasn’t announced pricing for the 2018 Stinger at this time, but we expect it to undercut many of its competitors. It arrives at Kia dealerships sometime this summer.


Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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