When my neighbors began the search for a new car they investigated the latest from Dodge, Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and others. We would chat about their discoveries and I would offer my two cents. In the span of a few weeks they had narrowed their search to some very viable options, any of which would have led to years of relatively carefree ownership. In the end they drove home in a new 2020 Kia Stinger.
KIA’s Stinger is a compelling new(ish) sports sedan from a manufacturer that learns from their mistakes and victories and uses the lessons to build better cars. Watching the evolution of the brand is inspiring. From the simple econoboxes of twenty years ago to the comfortable and luxurious vehicles of today, KIA has gone from being the car you could afford to a vehicle that many aspire to own.
The Stinger is attractive. The profile is a convincing take on much loftier British and European sports sedans. The 365-horsepower 3.3-liter turbocharged engine is reminiscent of the 3-liter twin-turbos that resided under the hoods of yesterday’s Japanese supercars. In short, KIA not only learns from KIA, they are studying the best habits of the competition.
KIA’s excellent adaption of technology gives the interior an upscale feel and provides an enhanced level of usability without a steep learning curve. We have long praised the functionality and performance of the manufacturer’s infotainment system and the latest iteration is the best yet. The excellent sound quality and intuitive smartphone integration are evidence that KIA understands today’s marketplace.
Driving the Stinger, especially the top-trim performance model GT2, proves our hypothesis; KIA has done their homework. It may fall short of being named the best handling sports sedan on the market. While it is attractive, few would call it the ultimate in sports sedan design. But it comes close in all aspects. While it may be difficult to name KIA’s sports sedan as the top pick in a single category, the Stinger rises much closer to the top when you consider the car as a whole.
The turbocharged engine provides decent fuel economy (17/25 mpg city/highway) while having enough power to launch the sedan from zero to sixty in about five seconds. Our overall impression of the Stinger’s suspension was that it was a bit too soft, but it is hard to argue that KIA’s compromise likely yields a better driving experience in the long run. How often are you negotiating a tight hairpin turn in relation to the time spent in stop and go traffic?
Our top-trim GT2 was equipped with perforated leather seats and a nicely-appointed interior. The abundance of soft touch surfaces and the high level of fit and finish all add up to a sport-themed luxury interior that is easy to live with. We have already mentioned the infotainment system, but it is worth adding that the 360 surround view camera, blind spot detection, lane keep assistance and a long list of active safety features included in the GT2 all add to the value of this performance-themed model.
KIA’s entire line up of sedans are noteworthy. The entry-level subcompact RIO includes a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and costs less than $ 16,000. The flagship K900 is a legitimate contender in the full-size luxury sedan segment, taking on the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes for just less than $ 60k.
The term “value” comes up a lot when we discuss KIA here at Automotive Addicts. When you place the Stinger’s performance, exterior design and interior comfort into direct comparison with similar vehicles, it is the value that helps give KIA’s take an edge. Add in one of the best warranty packages on the planet and it is hard to argue that the Stinger is a great car to own on day 1 and on day 1,001.