“No way, is that a Kia?” was the first impression from most everyone who happened to gaze at our 2022 Stinger test car. Indeed, it is a product of the Korean carmaker’s hard and dedicated work over the years to produce a five-passenger sportback. And it has done an outstanding job.
The rear-wheel-drive (all-wheel drive is also offered) four-door coupe is equipped with a 2.5-liter GDI turbo 4-cylinder engine pumping out 300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 311 pounds-feet of torque @ 4000 rpm. Power reaches the wheels via an 8-speed auto gearbox with eco, smart, comfort, sport and custom drive modes. The independent MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension along with 13.6-inch vented front and 13-inch rear brakes ensure stability on the toughest road surfaces. Zero to 60 is a laudable 5.2 seconds.
Up front, a black/dark chrome surround radiator grille with the centered new Kia emblem in the hood is flanked by revamped LED headlights. On the side of the strikingly bold-appearing car are GT black chrome vents with air surrounds. The cabin provides all the luxe accoutrements you would expect in a similarly priced car in this class. The 8-inch touch display for phone, nav and audio to control via a knob is now 10.2 inches. Total interior capacity is 117.1 cubic feet, even more than a Camry. It is tasteful, functional and attractive with Nappa leather seats, dual auto a/c, 12-way power driver and 6-way manual front-passenger heated seats, power tilt/slide sun roof, flat-bottomed tilt/telescopic steering column, satin chrome door handles, electro- luminescent instrument cluster for speedometer, tachometer, coolant temperature, fuel level, odometer and trip computer gauges, ambient led lights, black gloss/chrome on the instrument panel, aluminum pedals, GT front headrest logos, 60/40 rear seat and more.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, electronic stability and traction control, front/rear parking sensors and crumple zones, rearview camera, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision avoid/warning, lane departure warning/assist, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
With this agile, handsome and thriller of a ride affording an upscale, spacious interior, European competitors such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, among others, should watch out. Base- priced at $36,090 (bargain compared to the offering from its rivals), the Stinger is a winner that will surely take Kia to the next level. And it is a tough act to beat if you consider the Korean automaker’s basic 5-year, 60,000-mile and 10-year, 100,000-mile limited power train warranties.
Wheelbase: 114.4 inches
Length: 190.2 inches
Width: 73.6 inches
Height: 55.1 inches
Weight: 3,829 pounds
Steering: electric power, variable
Fuel capacity: 15.9 gallons
City: 19 mpg
Highway: 25 mpg
Priced as tested: $39,715
Web site: www.kiaiusa.com