Stinger

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2019 Kia Stinger Overview

Kia shocked the car world when it started building the Stinger in 2017. The humble South Korean carmaker, known for front-drive eco-boxes, was building a fast, sharp-looking rear-wheel-drive (RWD) car designed by a former BMW engineer to take on the established sports sedans from Europe and North America. For 2019, there is a special Atlantica model. It adds a special color scheme–blue over Espresso Brown Nappa leather–for a more appealing package. The Atlantica package also features the 19-inch alloy wheels from the European market Stinger and badges from the Korean model, plus a wireless device charger, surround-view monitor, and heated rear seats. The 2019 Kia Stinger is still available in Base, Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2 trims with either 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder power.

The entry-level Stinger gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. It's good for 255 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Shoppers can only find 4-cylinder trims in the base and Premium models. Any Stinger with “GT” in the name gets a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. All Stingers get an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. RWD is standard, and all-wheel drive (AWD) is available. The 4-cylinder models get 22 mpg city, 29 highway, and 24 combined with RWD. With AWD, models get 21, 29, and 24. V6 models get 19, 25, and 21 in any guise.

Rear-drive Stingers come with a limited-slip differential. The car's direct, flat cornering was developed at Germany’s famous Nurburgring race track. The Stinger has MacPherson struts in the front and a five-link setup in the rear. Brakes are 13.8-inch front and 13.4-inch rear discs by Brembo in V6 GT models. The Stinger GT also gets adjustable dampers and staggered size Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

The interior is a pleasant surprise. All models get leather upholstery; power heated front seats; a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel; dual-zone automatic climate control; a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen; and a 6-speaker stereo along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth capabilities. The Premium trim adds a sunroof, a power-adjustable steering column, a 7.0-inch digital display on the instrument panel, memory settings for the driver’s seat and steering wheel, an electronic parking brake, a larger 8.0-inch infotainment screen with navigation, and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon stereo.

By stepping up to the Stinger GT, shoppers get a much more powerful engine. Compared to the base 4-cylinder car, the GT gets an electronic parking brake, aluminum pedals, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and three extra speakers for the stereo. The Stinger GT1 model adds the features found on the 4-cylinder Premium model, plus performance gauges. The GT2 is the top dog of the Stinger lineup. It gets a head-up display (HUD), auto-dimming outside mirrors, and Nappa leather upholstery with ventilation for the front seats. The Stinger has 23.3 cubic feet of space in the trunk and 40.9 cubic feet of room with the rear seats folded, which is huge for a vehicle in this class.

The Stinger hasn’t been fully crash tested yet. All models are available with a heaping number of active safety features, including forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitors, automatic high-beam headlights, lane-departure warning, driver-attention alert, active lane control, and dynamic headlights. Buyers who get the Stinger GT2 models will get all the above features standard.

For some, the unfortunate stigma of a Kia badge may be enough for them to steer clear of a Stinger. But for people who want a fun, fast, good-looking all-rounder at a good value, it’s definitely a car worth considering. It’s hard to say what the Stinger’s direct competition is, but other choices include sporty luxury sedans like the Cadillac ATS, Jaguar XE, BMW 3-Series, Lexus IS, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Updated

Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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