I have been excited about this vehicle ever since KIA said they were actually serious about doing it. It’s a vast departure from what KIA has been doing and I have been very curious to see how KIA would execute such a vehicle.
Thankfully, I got the chance to see what all their hard work has amounted to a few months ago. Without delaying this any further, here’s what I thought of the Stinger.
It Rides Really Well.
The Stinger isn’t one of those hardcore, suspension stiffer than a Scotsman’s upper lip, Nurburgring hardened sports sedans. It’s actually quite comfortable and civilized when you’re not pushing the car so hard it’s the automotive manifestation of that Salt-N-Pepa song “Push It”. Which, to me, is very M5-ish.
If you wanted to drive this car daily I really don’t think that would be an issue. Even a small road trip wouldn’t be hard in the Stinger. It’s well-mannered enough to be a daily and spirited enough to be a weekend fun car.
The Engine Pulls Pretty Hard.
Despite being turbocharged, the engine in the KIA Stinger has an impressive amount of mid-range grunt. With that being said, the engine didn’t feel especially strong in the torque department. The Stinger GT has 376 lb-ft (in trim levels GT through GT2) but it’s not something you feel in the pit of your stomach. Nevertheless, the Stinger GT’s engine impressed me with its eagerness.
The Interior Didn’t Really Impress Me.
Don’t get me wrong, it is in no way a bad interior. I was just expecting a little bit more luxury from this sport-luxury sedan. Then again, it could be said the interior focuses a little bit more on the sport aspect of the interior than the luxury aspect. To this extent, there’s a good blend of sport and luxury. Very minimalist in the passenger side, kinda minimalist in the center stack and sporty in the driver’s seat. With that being said, the materials used in the interior do bring the whole luxury part of the interior full circle.
I’m also impressed by the implementation of the touchscreen. Normally, I don’t like the “floating touchscreen” look. Typically, it looks more like a giant phone mounted on the dash running a GPS app of some description. The Stinger is different. It’s not trying desperately to draw your attention to the massive mirror in the center stack. It’s far more coherent with the interior. In some other cars, the touchscreen really sticks out and kinda breaks up the flow of the interior. Mercedes and Audi’s systems stand out too much for my liking. So this BMW-esque style is definitely welcome.
I Think KIA Nailed The Design.
Initially, I felt this Kia was just a long hood Optima. After having seen in it person I still feel this way to some degree. The difference is that “long hood Optima” is no longer derogatory. There’s enough in the Stinger’s design to tell it apart from the Optima but it’s almost like KIA took the best parts of the Optima and put them on the Stinger. That’s a huge win in my book.
The Verdict: This is KIA’s first time making a performance vehicle like the Stinger and as far as I’m concerned it’s a hit! It has a good interior, impressive ride, and engine. If KIA can continue to make performance vehicles like they made the Stinger they’ll be on track to worrying quite a few other automakers.
Thanks for reading! See you soon.