2018 Kia Stinger: An All-New Entry In The Compact Luxury Segment














The 2018 Kia Stinger sport sedan is Kia’s latest attempt to be taken seriously as an upscale vehicle. Having established itself in the US as a value-oriented brand, the Korean carmaker has just released a well-engineered, rear-wheel drive luxury sports sedan.

The new Kia Stinger will attempt to take on the top two tiers of luxury-oriented compact sedans. The top tier, in terms of both image and sales, consists of the BMW 3/4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4/A5, and Lexus IS. The second tier includes the Acura TLX, Cadillac, ATS, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Infiniti Q50, and Jaguar XE. Can Kia gain acceptance and sales in this high-class segment?

Unlike these esteemed brands, the Stinger will be living with its low-priced cousins on the Kia showroom floor. It will have to share space with the Forte and Optima sedans, and the Soul, Sportage, and Sorento SUVs.

A Five-Door Hatch In A World Of Four-Door Sedans

The 2018 Kia Stinger comes in a single body style, a five-door sportback. Its large hatch and sloping rear window make it different from most of its luxury-branded competition, and more versatile.

Those coming closest are the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe (starting price: $43,100) or the Audi A5 Sportback (starting price: $42,600). As a comparison, the starting price on the 2018 Kia Stinger is $31,900. That should get your attention!

2018 Kia Stinger Trim Levels And Pricing

The new Kia Stinger is available in five trim levels: Stinger, Stinger Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2. Pricing starts at $31,900 for the base Stinger with rear-wheel drive, and goes up to $51,400 for the GT2 with all-wheel drive.

Two High Performance Kia Stinger Engines

Stinger and Stinger Premium come with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an output of 255 horsepower. The three GT trims come with the uprated 3.3L twin-turbo V6 engine, which produces 365 horsepower. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with all-wheel drive available on all trims as a $2,200 option.

Styled And Tuned By Europeans

Chief Designer Peter Schreyer led the Stinger’s styling team. He was previously a designer at Volkswagen and Audi. The Stinger was designed in Frankfurt, Germany, at Kia’s Technical Center there. Its performance was developed on Germany’s famed Nurburgring racetrack. Kia’s new Head of High Performance Development, Albert Biermann, was formerly the Chief Engineer of BMW’s high-performance M Division. His considerable input is reflected in the Stinger’s performance and handling capabilities.

A Long List Of Standard Equipment On The Stinger

You may have noticed that many luxury sedans lure you in with a seemingly low price. Then they hit you with expensive options packages, which you have to add to get the equipment you want. The base 2018 Kia Stinger includes all these items as standard equipment:

  • 18” Alloy wheels

  • Leather seats

  • 12-Way powered driver’s seat

  • 8-Way powered passenger’s seat

  • Heated front seats

  • Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters

  • Multi-color LED interior accent lighting

  • Leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel with audio controls

  • Six-speaker AM/FM/MP3/HD/Satellite radio audio system with 7” touchscreen

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

  • Parking distance warning, front and rear

Some features that are available on higher Stinger trim levels include LED headlights, power sunroof, 720-watt Harmon Kardon audio system with 15 speakers, ventilated front seats, G-force meter, chrono timer, heads-up display, and a suite of driver assistance systems such as smart cruise control, forward collision warning, and rear cross traffic alert.

The 2018 Kia Stinger Is A Value-Packed Luxury/Performance Car

The 2018 Kia Stinger is an excellent value. It starts out well equipped, and with an extremely competitive price. It looks good, drives like a German car, and gives you the bonus of five-door functionality. For those who select a vehicle based strictly on merit, and not badge status, the Stinger has a lot to like!

About The Author

Stephen Fogel

Stephen follows the global automotive industry on a daily basis, including new model announcements, new technologies, sales trends, and the latest in "green" cars.