2018 Kia Stinger offers impressive first-glance traits


Based on the visual delicacy exhibited by its exterior and the performance aspects of its power plant alone, the all-new Kia Stinger, poised to be the highest-performance production vehicle in Kia’s history, has huge sales numbers written all over it.

Of course, when you consider the Stinger is backed by Kia Motors’ industry-leading quality and reliability, well, it’s easy to see why bold predictions about Kia sales are easy to get behind.

Redefining Segment

This 2018 five-passenger fastback sports sedan is in the process of redefining a segment currently populated by European automakers. The all-new Stinger has been flying under the radar – until now. Kia has not flown under the radar, with its impressive mix of quality, styling, durability, and performance with a full line of cars, crossover sport utility vehicles, and even a minivan, buying a Kia is getting to be the value you always were looking for.

So, what about the Stinger? It shines as a multi-purpose car: high performance across seven versions with style and luxury-car features, two engine choices, family practicality, and prices that are doable for middle-income Americans. Feel like a formula for success? Well, it is, and it works wonders for the South Korean manufacturer.

Is it a Hatch?

By definition, Stinger presents as a hatchback, but with none of the negative baggage associated with those old-school clunkers. I’d compare the Stinger I tested to German high-performance luxury cars, and particularly the new Audi A7 and Audi A5 Sportbacks, both stunners with hatchbacks, high content, and the expected costs to match.

Like the aforementioned A7, the Stinger is a low-profile, sleek, sexy vehicle with plenty of visual impact. The other side of comparing Kias to Audis is, depending on the Stinger model you choose, it matches up either the $70,000 A7 or the $52,000 A5.

The Stinger GT2, which carried a $52,300 sticker as tested, matches up with the A7 best. My tester featured optional all-wheel drive (just $2,200), and they have similar cabin space: passenger/cargo volume of 94/25 cubic feet in the A7; 94/23 in the Stinger.

Impressive Power

The Stinger’s 4,515 pounds is hefty, but it gets a wild pop of power with a 365-horsepower, turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 with 376 lb.-ft. of torque. The power flows through an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift option. Look for 0-60 mph ratings at an equally-impressive 4.7 seconds.

For entry-level Stingers, base priced at $32,800 with rear-wheel-drive and a 2.0-L turbo offering 255 horsepower with 260 lb.-ft. of torque, there a lot of fun and even greater value to be had. The base Stinger offers an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 0-60 mph rating of 5.9 seconds.

Kia stepping up

It’s important to note that this article is not saying the Stinger and Audi’s are equals. They are very different in many aspects of their engineering and interior cabin looks. Where they are most different is the branding and marketing costs that go into driving their base entry prices.

The Stinger is an exciting performance sedan experience that offers outstanding acceleration, flat cornering and handling at aggressive speeds, comfortable cabin with premium-feel materials – and that warranty.