When I ask you what the most competitive automotive segment is, you probably think of midsize sedans, and you’d be right.  There are a dizzying amount of options to chose from, and each does it with a little different flavor.

You’ll find that most cars in this segment have names that consist of numbers and letters like C300, 328, ATS, A3, A4 and so on.  But how does the name “Stinger” sound to you?  Sounds like a little league baseball team right?  While that may be true, that name also applies to a new Kia sport sedan that really means business. Enter the 2018 KIA Stinger.. It’s got the long hood, quad exhaust tips, angry face and random air vents and intakes.  But you can’t just put make up on a Kia and call it a rival to the Germans.  you have to engineer it great and make it special.  So does…Kia, of all brands, have what it takes?

The Exterior: 

2018 Kia Stinger

From the front, I think Kia did a great job.  Which is hard for me to say because at first I didn’t like the way the 2018 Kia Stinger looked.  I thought they added on way too many tacky intakes.  But this is definitely a design that has to grow on you.  It is apparent right away what market Kia is targeting here with the long front end and super sleek roof line.

2018 Kia Stinger

The rear does throw me off balance a little bit.  I love the hatchback style, but it doesn’t seem 100% original.  The quad exhaust pipes seem like an easy add-on to make the car look more aggressive, and same goes for those fake black air outlets near the rear diffusor on the outside of the bumper.  When some friends and I came across the Kia Stinger at The North American International Auto Show in 2017, we saw these non-functional air outlets and laughed.  While they look cool, I’d rather have some functionality.

Outside of that, the side reflectors also look tacked on to the tail lights, and look too long.  It seriously looks like they forgot to add on reflectors for the U.S. spec, and last second slapped those on.  I’ll be honest, there are some cool elements on the 2018 Kia Stinger’s body. I love the roof line, the diffusor looks great and the front end is mean.  It’s a broad step for Kia as a brand to dive into this ultra-competitive German onslaught, but I do believe in the Korean.

The Interior:  

2018 Audi A3
The 2018 Kia Sting-… OOPS

2018 Kia Stinger Interior

Sorry about that confusion, folks.  Let me say for reference, the first image is an Audi A3, and the bottom image is the 2018 Kia Stinger.  Pretty similar, huh?  I guess the Kia Stinger Interior does look better than the Audi A3 (Don’t get me started on what I think of it…) and I respect that.  This is by far the most German looking Kia on Earth.  Things inside are very sharp, and there is a ton of influence from Mercedes, Audi and BMW.  For a first step from Kia, it’s good.  I would love it though if they re-imagined the infotainment screen.  I feel like the tablet stapled to the dashboard is getting old fast.

Anyway, the 2018 Kia Stinger’s interior looks pretty cool, and I think that its minimalism will help its price point.  On top of that, I’m sure the Kia will sell very well since it is so different from anything on the road.

The Performance: 

Kia is dead focused on creating a “Grand Touring car” in their words.  The 2018 Kia Stinger comes standard with rear-wheel-drive and has optional all-wheel-drive.  It’s great how on the Kia Website, they directly bring the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe and Lexus GS into the picture saying that the 2018 Kia Stinger is longer and wider than the 4-Series GC, and has a longer wheelbase than the GS.  This is even funnier when you realize that the former VP of BMW’s M division is now the head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Division.  His team helped make Kia’s Dynamic Stability Damping Control suspension possible.

Now for engine options, you get to chose from two turbocharged pieces.  First is a (predictable) 2.0L Turbocharged four cylinder engine, and the other is a much more powerful 3.3L twin-turbo V6.  The four cylinder produces 255 HP and 260 Lb-Ft of torque, while the V6 produces 365 HP and 376 Lb-Ft of torque.  Both engines will be married to an 8-speed automatic transmission as well, and you can pick between five different drive modes (which seems like a bit too many).

Kia mentions on their website that this car has five different drive modes about six times for three different systems, so I hope you remember: The Kia Stinger has five different drive settings.

There’s also been talk of a diesel version for European customers, as well as electrification to take the Stinger into Model S territory.  I think that would really expand the reach an effect of the Stinger, so I’m all ears.

2018 Kia Stinger – Specs

Vehicle Type: Midsize Sport Sedan
Powertrain: 2.0L Turbo 4 cyl, 3.3L TT V6 (Est)
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic 
Power: 260 – 365 HP (est.)
Torque: 260 – 376 Lb-Ft. (est.)
Length: 190.2 Inches (4.83 Meters) 
Width: 73.6 Inches (1.87 Meters) 
Height: 55.1 Inches (1.39 Meters) 
Top Speed: 167 MPH (268.7 KPH) 
Seating: 5 Adults
Wheelbase: 114.4 Inches (2.89 Meters) 
0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH): 5.1 Seconds (est.)
Base Price: $30,000 (est.)


Sum It Up:

The 2018 Kia Stinger has an uphill climb, but on paper it looks to have what it takes to really get up the Germans nose.  The exterior is incredibly cool, and I do think when get around the point of a mid-cycle refresh, we’ll really see what the Stinger GT can do.  I just wish they went with a better name.


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