The Stinger is Kia’s answer to BMW’s “ultimate driving machine” and other esteemed Teutonic sporting sedans. Although the Kia marque is Korean, the Stinger was honed on the Nürburgring, the German racetrack favored by engineers developing high-performance cars. The result? A car that’s automotive Prozac: a mood-enhancer for gearheads.
Base Stingers come with a thrifty 4-cylinder powerplant. But for about six grand more, the GT edition has two more cylinders plus several A-list performance features: Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport tires, and a limited-slip differential. The twin-turbo V6 produces bracing acceleration accompanied by a mellifluous exhaust note. And the Stinger snarfs up corners, making it great fun on back roads.
Despite its tapered, coupe-like roofline, the Stinger is a hatchback with a spacious rear seat and plenty of cargo room. The cabin can be a bit noisy over rough surfaces, and the interior isn’t as finely finished as the Stinger’s prestigious German competitors—but then, it costs thousands less than most of them. Leather upholstery, heated seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning are standard, even on base models. To top it off, the Stinger is covered by Kia’s impressively long bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties.
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Vehicle layout: 4-door hatchback, 3.3-liter V6 (365 hp), 8-speed automatic, RWD
MSRP, base model: $33,985; (as tested: $40,295)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 19/25/21
Safety ratings: NHTSA: not yet rated; IIHS: good (all crash-related ratings), Top Safety Pick Plus
Basic warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles
Final assembly: South Korea
Spare tire: Compact temporary