EngineTwin-turbo 3.3L V6
Power365 HP / 376 LB-FT
0-60 Time4.7 SEC
Top Speed167 MPH
MPG19 CITY / 25 HWY
Warranty5 Year / 60,000 Miles
Base Price$32,800 (Base 2.0T)
As Tested Price$46,620
One of our latest long-term tester departures is our 2018 Kia Stinger GT, and it's one we're sad to see leave. Our really red example was optioned ideally for this group of enthusiasts in southeast Michigan with the twin-turbo 365-horsepower V6, a few extra comfort features with the GT1 package such as a sunroof and heated steering wheel, and of course, all-wheel drive.
And after over 18,000 miles of driving the Stinger, we were thoroughly impressed. The engine felt impressively powerful, delivering a big ol' shove to the back with every stab of the throttle. The handling was confident and quick. While it wasn't our exact long-term car, one of our editors took a Stinger to the track and had a good time with it. The styling never grew old, looking just as low, lean and aggressive as when it first arrived. And it was even comfortable and practical, just look at all the stuff we could stuff in it! Looking at everyone's final thoughts, the Stinger made a near-perfect daily driver.
There were a few snags during our custody, though. A few creaks and rattles appeared, including an issue with a door hinge that had to be fixed by the dealer. We also ended up with a warped brake rotor that needed changing. Something that couldn't be fixed was the Stinger's thirst. We averaged between 19 and 23 mpg in mixed driving plus the occasional long highway slog. That's actually slightly better than the EPA's combined estimate of 20 mpg, but it's still not stellar. The four-cylinder is the way to go if you'll be racking up a lot of miles.
Gripes aside, the Stinger GT was a welcome part of the Autoblog fleet. See what we all had to say about it in more detail below.
Editor-in-Chief, Greg Migliore: I really enjoyed our long-term Stinger. It had guts. It had plenty of power. It was fun to drive. It had emotion in a way only a few non-luxury sedans have. Frankly, it's this and the Dodge Charger as far as large sedans go for enthusiasts. I loved how the Stinger sounded; guttural and deep. It looked the part, too, though some of the accents weren't to my taste. The steering was excellent, the right balance of precision and pliability. It offered confidence to push the car in corners and the necessary feedback to do so with skill. I really liked the Stinger. It offered a great value, though the interior did start to show some aging after a year in our fleet. Otherwise, it was basically a riot, not to mention a milestone for Kia and its entry into this image-building segment.
Senior Editor, Green, John Snyder: I really enjoyed driving the Stinger. It was a comfortable car for throwing a few bags in and taking off for a weekend. It was happy to calmly but aggressively unleash the full potential of its twin-turbo V6 when a passing lane opened up, then lock back into a comfortably swift pace as the country highway unfurled before it. I guess that “GT” in our tester’s name really is apt.
I loved the way this thing felt when hauling down speed — that is, except for that week or two when a rotor had some sort of imperfection in it that made it thumpity-thump to a stop. That was fixed after a trip to the dealer. Otherwise, my favorite thing to do, was the old brake-and-corner exercise. So simple, yet so satisfying. The feeling of the brake pedal was smooth and forgiving, and easy to modulate. Then, I’d let up as I dialed in a little steering angle. The body would roll a bit to give a tactile sense of balance without getting unstable. It felt fantastic getting back on the power as the steering started to straighten back out. It’s not quite as slick and sharp as the shark-like and mechanically related Genesis G70, but not so doughy as, say, a Dodge Charger.
Lastly, I was surprised by the amount of attention this car garnered in parking lots. People would comment on its looks all the time, saying it looked badass, asking how fast it was, and almost always tacking on a “That’s a Kia?!” when the reveal came. There are still people out there who think of Kia as a discount brand lacking substance and excitement. The Stinger should help change that.
Associate Editor, Joel Stocksdale: I was unprepared for how much I was going to miss this car. I miss its huge power. I miss its aggressive design. I miss its easy-to-use infotainment system. I miss its quick, eager handling. This was a car I could always look forward to bringing home, and always made for a fun escape during weeks we were stuck with drab crossovers. The fuel economy is a bummer, but I did discover that with careful driving on the highway, high-20-mpg numbers are possible. It is hard to be easy on the throttle pedal, though. All-in-all, the Stinger is a fabulous daily, and I don't know when we'll have a long-termer that gets under my skin like this one did.
Assistant Editor, Zac Palmer: My opinion on the Stinger GT hardly budged throughout our time with the slick four-door sportback. It’s easy to pick nits on a car that you’ve practically lived in for a number of months, but I came away from the experience knowing that it’s a car I’m going to be recommending to folks for a long while.
Even though it’s the high-performance Stinger, Kia didn’t tune the suspension for a Nurburgring lap time. Instead, the chassis is friendly enough to soak up Michigan-sized potholes. Not every performance car needs to be a track car, and Kia appears to have understood that perfectly with the Stinger's suspension tuning.
Ultimately, the Stinger GT is a car I’d be happy to drive to work every day, so long as gas prices stay cheap. It has the right combination of elements for a daily driver, and it’s even versatile enough to be someone’s only car. Getting on the highway is always an event, and any curve I met was followed by a smile on my face. It’s no Civic Type R in the handling department, but you’ll keep up just fine with your friends on a back road.
If there was one thing I’d change about our particular tester, I would’ve opted for rear-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive. The tail will misbehave ever so slightly given the right conditions, but a true rear-wheel-drive Stinger sounds like it would ramp up the fun by a considerable amount. Only get all-wheel drive if you absolutely need it. The Nokian winter tires we mounted to ours transformed it into an unstoppable force in winter, but I imagine the same tires on a rear-wheel drive Stinger will be entirely serviceable, so long as you don’t live in a place like Buffalo or the Yukon.
Video Production Manager, Eddie Sabatini: As time with our longterm Stinger passed so did my enthusiasm for it. I was excited to drive it at first but the quality didn't seem to hold up for me. The major touchpoints (infotainment buttons and shifter specifically) started to feel cheaper and the ride quality seemed to degrade. Perhaps that's more to do with how we drove the thing rather than Kia's dependability but my impressions changed and that can't be ignored.