Driving the 2018 Kia Stinger GT2

Kia has built some nice products recently, but the all-new, five-door Stinger may be its best yet.

Kia has built some nice products recently, but the all-new, five-door Stinger may be its best yet. The four-door hatchback Stinger comes in five trim levels, with two engine choices: a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four cylinder that produces 255 horsepower, and the 3.3-liter, V-6 turbocharged engine that develops 365 horsepower and 376 foot-pounds of torque. To add to the competitiveness in this segment, the Stinger is offered in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants. My road test was in the all-wheel-drive Stinger GT2 with the turbocharged V-6 engine.

The interior of the Stinger is delightful, with luxury touches throughout. The interior materials are a combination of high-quality leather and soft-touch plastics. The front seats are spacious, comfortable and supportive. The rear seating is also quite good but headroom gets a bit tight for taller passengers because of the sloping roofline. The controls are logical and positioned well for the driver, and overall, the interior looks as good as any premium car, with accent lighting that only further complements the car. The navigation/infotainment screen is positioned to minimize distraction while still being easy to see. Safety is addressed with the latest features, including intelligent cruise control, lane positioning, forward collision control and a new Driver Attention Warning system, which emits a chime and displays a graphic when the car senses the driver is distracted or needs a break.

Performance from the 3.3-liter, V-6 engine is quite good, with an estimated 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds. Our car had the optional all-wheel-drive system that when equipped with the proper tires should be able to handle even the worst weather. The automatic transmission has paddle shifters for a more enthusiastic driving experience. The GT versions of the Stinger have performance Brembo brakes, something generally found in high-performance vehicles around the world. The Stinger GT benefits from electronically controlled suspension that can be tailored to comfort or sporty. The base model is a bit more traditional with suspension that balances handling and ride comfort. The steering is direct, offering almost telepathic response rivaling some of the best automobiles in the world.

The Stinger by Kia has a starting price of $31,500. The price for my fully loaded test model is just over $50,000. That’s certainly not inexpensive, but this car easily compares to vehicles that cost $20,000 more.

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