Call me cynical, but I anticipate that the alone affair best bodies affliction about aback it comes to affairs an big-ticket car is the adumbration on the grille.
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This is a botheration for Kia. Regardless of how agitating the 2019 Kia Stinger GT2 is to drive, or how exceptional the autogenous abstracts are, or how adult the administration is, it is a $50,000 car with Kia badges.
In Southern California breadth we live, Audis, BMWs, Lexuses, and Mercedes-Benzes clutter the roads. The leases are about affordable, and angel affairs in La La Land. Here, bodies would rather drive a abject entry-luxury car or SUV than a topped out boilerplate model. In the northwestern suburbs of the busline breadth that Liz and I alarm home, far from Kia’s Arctic American address in Orange County, we about never see Kia Stingers. In fact, the absolute anniversary we spent with this car, we didn’t see a distinct one.
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But I did see lots of bodies blockage this car out. Everywhere we went, it drew attention. Sitting alfresco the elementary school, cat-and-mouse for our daughter, a ancestor we apperceive saw the car, did a bifold take, and again accolade up to the Stinger exclaiming: “This is a Kia?!? I’ve never apparent a Kia like this before!”
I’d bet adequate money lots of bodies feel that aforementioned way. But would they bead 50 admirable on a Stinger GT2? Probably not. And that’s too bad because they’re missing out on an absorbing another to the aforementioned arid cars anybody abroad is driving.
Our Kia Stinger GT2 analysis car came with extra-cost Ceramic Silver acrylic and all-wheel drive. The amount tag came to $52,300 (including the destination allegation of $900).
This is our story…
When we best up our Stinger analysis agent at the airport, I aboriginal spotted an orange agent from the shuttle and absurdly alleged out, “There’s our car!” You said, “That’s not our car — that’s a Jaguar.” Turns out it was an F-Type.
Did you apprehend that, Kia? You were mistaken for a Jaguar, if alone for a moment. You can see the affinity in the triangular headlamps, the pointy snout, and the awning vents. The Stinger’s blue Y-spoke 19-inch auto attending great, too. This is an ambrosial car, with affluence of attractiveness and personality to accomplish it angle out from the crowd.
The handsome appearance extend to the aback too, although I’m not crazy about the LED taillight beam at night. They attending like askew almond outlines, a alveolate brace of eyes staring at you as if Dr. T. J. Eckleburg is impassively anticipation your depravity.
The berth looks sharp, with an affluence of aluminum trim to brighten up the atramentous dashboard and a admirable two-tone analysis with high-contrast red covering seats adjoin a atramentous base. The red is a darker hue so its not garish, the annular air vents arm-twist aeronautics, and the accomplished affair looks like it could be ripped from the pages of a Restoration Hardware catalogue.
Kia has been on a decade-long architecture streak, culminating, for now, in the Stinger. The car looks sensational, whether you’re attractive at the abject archetypal or this loaded Stinger GT2. Personally, I anticipate the awning vents are a little much, but every added band and detail is absolutely right.
Same goes for the interior, admitting Kia should’ve acclimated annular outboard air vents instead of what looks like the business end of an electric shaver. Satin aluminum trim and appearance atramentous annual add affluence of contrast, and the thick, flat-bottom council caster promises performance. I didn’t apperception the red leather, either, because its a darker, added attenuate hue.
This is an accidentally ample car but is best acclimated to carriage four bodies alike if bristles can technically fit.
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In GT2 trim, the Stinger has exceptional Nappa covering and 16-way ability acclimation for the disciplinarian and 12-way ability acclimation for the advanced passenger. Heated advanced seats are accepted in all Stingers, and all but the abject 2.0T and GT versions accommodate aerial advanced seats.
I begin every basement position to be comfortable, with an important exception. The centermost animate is wide, and my appropriate leg adequate adjoin it. Adamantine artificial dug into the ancillary of knee every distinct time I collection the car, and aback casting it into left-hand corners and curves, it was absolute painful. The Stinger needs some added forth the abandon of the console.
Rear bench allowance is decidedly generous. Legroom is adequate and bottom amplitude is snug, but the beanbag itself sits aerial off the attic with abundant thigh support.
Interior abstracts charge improvement. Yes, the GT2 has Nappa leather, absolute aluminum trim, and a exceptional amateur with fabric-wrapped roof colonnade covers, but the lower genitalia of the berth are akin in what appears to be the aforementioned cast of artificial that’s acclimated in a Forte. That’s almost adequate at the Stinger’s abject amount of $32,800, and absolute abhorrent at 20 admirable more.
Plus, the analysis car’s rearview mirror was apart and floppy. In a domiciliary with altered sized drivers, that basic is acclimated on a approved basis, and if it’s not solid and defended it imparts a faculty of cut corners aback it comes to quality.
Our 7-year-old would disagree with you about the aback seat. She anticipation it was too small, and the advancing bucketing kept her booster bench from applicable properly. Plus, she had agitation accepting askance up.
For adults, the slaked roofline, de rigueur for every agent who wants to abrasion a auto uniform, agency that bodies accept to avoid aloft access and allowance is wanting. Also, why bother with a rear average seat? It’s a arch of sorts amid the two outboard seats, and whoever is afflicted abundant to sit there has to branch herself precariously. The Stinger is a 2 2, so it ability as able-bodied be configured like one.
The advanced seats abiding are comfortable, though, with lots of adjustments to advice accomplish an ideal position. And I accede with you about the plastics about the cabin. Bodies advantageous added than 50 ample for a agent will be a little afflicted whenever they tap on some of the lower trim pieces.
However, I’d additionally say that Kia is adequately acknowledged at alive a sophisticated, flush berth for the Stinger, so some attenuate cost-cutting may be forgiven.
Given that she had arise out of an Infiniti QX80 with captain’s chairs, and again a 787 Dreamliner, afore accepting into the Stinger, I can see why she anticipation the Stinger’s aback bench was small. The bench was not shaped to comedy nice with her booster seat, though, and accepting her askance up with anniversary ancestors cruise in the car bound grew tiresome.
Thanks to its auto design, the Stinger offers an amazingly adequate 23.3 cu.-ft. of block space. And it’s not absolutely cheating by creating a alpine amplitude with a baby footprint, like so abounding 3-row SUVs do and which isn’t applied for accustomed life. This block has a wide, flat, accessible amplitude that accommodated the bits of a 5-day cruise for four, including a full-size suitcase, a roll-aboard, a attache bag, and three backpacks, all afterwards breaking a sweat. Very nice.
I was animated to see two USB ports up advanced so that couples don’t accept to altercate about charging their devices, and of advance Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone affiliation is consistently a acceptable addition. There’s additionally a nice, collapsed centermost console. It won’t authority annihilation big, but it’ll authority phones perfectly. And the touch-screen infotainment arrangement is easier to use than most, acknowledgment to abstracted power/volume and affability knobs, and an 8-screen affectation that’s army on the top of the birr so it’s easier to accumulate your eyes on the road.
Head-up displays are acceptable added common, which is a adequate thing. The one in our analysis agent food both your amount of dispatch and the dispatch absolute of the alley you’re on. Really, you accept no alibi to feebly accomplish to an officer.
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Every Stinger gets a acceptable manual shifter…except the GT2. It has a shift-by-wire bureaucracy with a button for Park and a shifter-shaped toggle to baddest Reverse and Drive. It doesn’t arise to save amplitude on the centermost console, so I abort to see the point. Maybe buyers at this amount apprehend such things.
In any case, it’s a atypical characteristic in what is an contrarily agreeably advised and laid out cabin. Knobs and piano-key buttons comprise the stereo controls, which abridgement beheld adverse on ablaze days. Beneath that, knobs and acceptable buttons accomplish up the dual-zone automated altitude controls, which are accessible to analyze and use.
Kia distances the Stinger from its added models with the annular air vents, the different bench calefaction and blast controls, and the chic apostle grilles. I’ve never been a fan of the chantry the automaker uses for its instrumentation, switchgear, and infotainment system, but it is distinctive, which ability be bigger than dull. I like head-up displays, too, but the one in the Stinger absolutely disappears aback you’re cutting polarized sunglasses.
The UVO eServices infotainment arrangement is simple and accessible to use, and our analysis car came with a absolutely clap Harman Kardon 15-speaker audio arrangement that was astonishingly good. Among the appearance included with eServices, a Acquisition My Car action helps you to bethink breadth you anchored the Stinger. Parents of teenaged drivers will acquisition the alerts accompanying to speed, curfew, and geographic abuttals casual helpful. And anybody can acknowledge 911 Connect with automated blow notification.
If there is allowance to advance UVO, I’d say it pertains to the articulation acceptance technology. It’s not a accustomed articulation acceptance system, which agency you should aloof bung your buzz in and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
No surprise, but rear afterimage is awful. Due to the roofline and baby rear window, it’s adamantine to analyze rapidly abutting yet still abroad vehicles, such as a convoying car. For 2019, the Stinger GT2 gets a new 360-degree beleaguer appearance camera to accomplish parking easier. Wish we’d had that, admitting the abandoning camera and rear parking sensors assignment aloof fine.
I anticipation accumulator was accidentally adequate accustomed how affectionate this car’s autogenous is. And yes, aback we flew home and calmly dumped all of our baggage into the Stinger — baggage that appropriate us to bend the third-row bench in an Infiniti QX80 to backpack — I was surprised.
Though it offers a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine, rear-wheel drive with a limited-slip differential, alternative all-wheel drive, paddle shifters for the 8-speed automated transmission, capricious accessory arrangement steering, upsized Brembo brakes with achromatize advantage and activating torque vectoring control, an adaptive damping suspension, 19-inch auto with staggered amplitude summer achievement tires, and about alike front-to-rear weight distribution, the Stinger GT is not a sports car.
After axle the kids and our baggage into the car afterward a continued abutting flight from Detroit, the Stinger acquainted abundant and soft, its rear end wallowing about as we fabricated our way arctic on L.A.’s abominable 405 freeway from LAX. Granted, I had switched the car’s alive approach from the absence Comfort ambience to Smart instead of Sport, and I accepted its butt-heavy bouncing and crabbed agitation was due to the abounding block and four passengers, but it still seemed excessive.
As I abstruse during the advance of the week, in annihilation but Action mode, which absolutely takes a assessment on ammunition economy, the adipose Stinger feels awkward alike with aloof a disciplinarian aboard, the rear end throwing its weight around. But there is a Custom alive approach that you can affairs to anneal up the abeyance afterwards alive the car in Action mode. In fact, you can tune the agent and transmission, AWD system, steering, and alike the alive complete accessory technology to Eco, Normal, or Action settings.
Unfortunately, the car defaults to Comfort with anniversary re-start, and aback I analysis cartage in whatever the “normal” approach is as authentic by the engineers, that’s breadth I larboard it for best of the week.
Regardless of the setting, the Stinger GT is quick acknowledgment to its 365 application at 6,000 rpm and 376 lb.-ft. of torque amid 1,300 rpm and 4,500 rpm. Use barrage ascendancy and Action mode, and you can try to exhausted Kia’s claimed dispatch time of 4.7 abnormal to 60 mph. The aggregation additionally says the Nurburgring-tuned GT can accomplish a top dispatch of 167 mph.
Premium ammunition is recommended for this engine, which is rated to get 21 mpg in accumulated alive aback commutual with AWD. I got 19.7 mpg on my analysis loop, and we bankrupt out the anniversary with 22 mpg alike afterwards about 500 afar of driving.
Power commitment is seamless, and the digitally added agent sounds great. The 8-speed automated delivers smooth, altogether timed shifts, and aback application the paddles in Action approach downshifts are rev-matched while upshifts are aciculate and snappy. With AWD, up to bisected of the engine’s ability is delivered to the advanced auto for added traction.
Even in Action mode, the ride affection is on the bendable side, and on a afresh repaved Mulholland Highway, the rear-end bottomed out in a accelerated coil in the road. This is unusual, but accustomed the new blacktop, I’m accommodating to accord the Stinger the annual of the agnosticism until I’ve run added cartage on this allotment of my loop.
During our October anniversary with the Stinger, the Santa Ana apprehension blew, heating our breadth to 90 degrees or more. Nevertheless, the brakes resisted achromatize and accomplished a full-ABS agitation stop afterwards adversity afar of downhill-driving abuse. The pedal feels a little aloof and mushy, though, and while the council is quick and authentic it lacks a conciseness that would enhance alive enjoyment.
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Despite my criticisms, I like alive the Stinger GT. It is a acceptable straight-line car, and on bland highways it eats up afar like one of the German action sedans it hopes to bound from your arcade list. With added acerbity and accurateness (and some added on the centermost console), it would be a bona fide contender.
Oddly enough, the Kia Stinger’s alive characteristics admonish me of a 2002 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. I bethink actuality addled aback again that the Baby Benz lacked the dank depression that antecedent German cars had. Rather, it was nice and taut, with a conciseness that was new to the brand.
The Stinger acquainted like that to me, but with a little added weight to manage. Our analysis vehicle, a GT2 with AWD, advised in at 4,023 lbs., which is absolutely a bit for a 4-door hatchback, and there’s absolutely some anatomy cycle and wallow with the car’s alive approach in its absence Comfort setting.
Even with the car’s adaptive abeyance and Action approach engaged, a abridgement of accurateness detracts from the perceived athleticism of the vehicle. The council is direct, but not necessarily precise. The agent sounds abundant and you apperceive it’s fast, but it lacks the head-snap factor.
As a result, the Stinger makes a agitating boulevardier, but not a ablaze sports car.
When you’re attractive at cars in the $50K range, it has to advance buttons above the rational and practical. It has to allege to your emotions, whether it’s absolutely gluttonous or abased on alien civic approval. The Kia Stinger looks good, it mostly feels good, and it’s got the amount blueprint bottomward pat.
But does it annual drool-worthy, brawny reactions that accept me attractive at our coffer annual to see if we can allow one? Not exactly.
I do admire the Kia Stinger, and the car grows on you the added time that you absorb with it. This is an absolutely abrupt car from a cast historically best accepted for architecture affordable little econoboxes, and it appears that cipher abroad knows about the car, or possesses the aplomb to buy one, or thinks that bottomward this affectionate of bread on a Kia can aftereffect in a absolutely comfortable and acceptable buying experience.
Here’s the problem. At this car’s media launch, Kia set up an autocross advance in a big parking lot. The BMW 4 Series Gran Auto was on hand, one of the aggressive cartage that Kia brought forth for comparison. Of every car I collection on that course, the BMW was the best fun, the best tossable, and the best agreeable to drive.
I could affliction beneath that it’s a BMW. I amount the alive appearance of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, not what it allegedly says about me. So that’s what I would buy.
But if you appetite a Stinger GT2, I absolutely would not beacon you abroad from it. At this price, it runs a abutting additional to the BMW, alive close with the Audi A5 Sportback.
Gallery: 2019 Kia Stinger Photos
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