One of the auto industry’s biggest surprises this year has been the 2018 Kia Stinger. Kia has been working for years on how to expand upon its value-oriented market positioning, and the Stinger should be a great way to help change customer perceptions. The rear- or all-wheel drive five-door grand tourer carries either a 255-horsepower four-cylinder or a hearty 365-hp 3.3-liter V6. It also packs a ton of content and room into a pretty slick wrapper.
Kia has been nothing short of ambitious, inviting the media to compare its Stinger with far costlier European models from Audi, BMW, Lexus and even Porsche. Remarkably, it fares well by the numbers, but lacks some of the interior refinement and brand cachet of those cars. However, it’s still plenty nice, and it’s also worlds cheaper, starting at $31,900 and topping out in the mid-$50,000 range for a loaded GT2. With sharp handling, surprising cargo space and easy-to-use cabin tech, we honored the Stinger with our 2018 Roadshow Shift Vehicle of the Year Award.
We don't always agree on everything, but the entire Roadshow staff concurs that the Kia Stinger is totally rad. Our love affair with the Korean sporty liftback sedan started with ourand has endured through multiple followups over the years. For 2022, the new base GT-Line model sees a new engine and substantial upgrades, but V6-powered GT models only see modest improvements and tweaks. Even so, this top-spec 2022 Kia Stinger GT2 is still as good as I remember -- better, even -- and is easy to recommend for sport-sedan shoppers looking to maximize value without compromising driving enjoyment.
The Stinger's engine bay is home to the same 3.3-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 that's powered GT1 and GT2 models since this model's inception. With a mild bump to 368 horsepower (just 3 more than before) and 376 pound-feet of torque on tap, the V6 remains a fantastic powerplant boasting excellent responsiveness and thrust for days to go along with the rich sound piped through its valved exhaust system at full chat. An 8-speed automatic is standard equipment and is about as good as I could hope a torque-converter transmission could be, delivering quick, smooth shifts and fairly responsive paddle shifters.
Shoppers have a choice between rear-wheel drive with a limited-slip differential or brake-based torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. Having driven both configurations, rear-drive is the more fun of the two and the way to go, unless you live in an area where the climate calls for the extra stability of AWD. The rear-wheel-driven Stinger just feels much more alive during dynamic driving thanks to a combination of a slightly lighter chassis and a simpler, more direct drivetrain. The way the RWD Stinger puts its power down -- squatting slightly onto its drive wheels and digging in as I roll onto the throttle at corner exit -- creates a more dramatic feeling of rotation and a more direct connection with the road than the more neutral AWD performance. Plus, being able to scoot out the rear end a touch with the right pedal is just fun.
The Good ~ Powerful V6 engine ~ Upgraded and improved standard tech ~ Excellent value
The Bad ~ Brake fade when pushed hard ~ Noticeable body roll, squat and dive
The Bottom Line The 2022 Kia Stinger GT hasn't changed much since its inception, but it remains one of the best performance values in the biz.
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