2020 Kia Stinger

2020 Kia Stinger Review: Kia's Underrated Hot-Rod

by Michael Butler

Now going for its third lap around the sun, the head-turning Kia Stinger continues to impress with its performance capability, good looks, and affordability, and has convinced a good amount of people that this Korean automaker can do sporty and fast sedans. Both the 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four motor producing 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque , and the 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 which produces 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque offer impressive performance, with the latter offering a good dollop of power, and makes the zero to sixty sprint in only 4.7 seconds. Some interior quality and high-speed handling issues remain, but for the price, the Stinger is a seriously impressive piece of compact executive four-door fastback kit that takes the fight directly to its more established European rivals such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Read in this review:

2020 Kia Stinger Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Stinger?

The Kia Stinger has become a surprisingly big hit amongst the executive sedan buying market, so much so that Kia has done some pretty extensive reshuffling of trim levels and features for 2020, which means more bang for your buck, and happier customers. All 2020 Stingers get a centrally-mounted rear Stinger badge in place of a Kia one. The trim formerly known as the Stinger 2.0L, has been renamed as the GT-Line. With it comes a number of design changes which includes the addition of a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, an exclusive GT grille, and a new D-shaped steering wheel. The Stinger GT now gets a wireless charging pad, and The Stinger GT/GT1/GT2 (AWD) are now fitted with a set of 19-inch Michelin all-season tires that replace the standard 19-inch summer tires.

Pros and Cons

  • The turbocharged V6 is still a favorite
  • It's a good looker
  • Lots of value for the price
  • High level of standard safety features
  • Endearing chassis is a driver's delight
  • Give us a manual transmission
  • It's not the best handling in its class on the limit
  • The interior isn't up to class-leading levels of refinement
  • The brand image is still off-putting to some

2020 Kia Stinger Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
GT-Line
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$33,090
GT
3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,500
GT1
3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$45,400
GT2
3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$50,300

Stinger Exterior

The Stinger has been in production since 2017 and has somehow managed to remain a good looking car in a class where manufacturers are constantly chasing the latest look. The Stinger definitely looks the part, especially in the more hardcore GT1 and GT2 trim levels, where you'll start to see hood vents and other kinds of muscular boasting. The base GT-Line car gets single projector-beam headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels, but shares features such as a GT front grille and hood trim finished off in black chrome, mirror-mounted LED turn signal indicators and LED daytime running lights with the rest of the range. GT, GT1, and GT2 cars get a set of 19-inch GT-style alloy wheels. GT1 and GT2 cars get rain-sensing window wipers, high beam assist, and auto-dimming outside mirrors. The range-topping GT2 car gets exclusive rights to low beam dynamic assistance and a smart power trunk.

2020 Kia Stinger Front Angle View Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Front View Driving Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Rear View Driving Kia
See All 2020 Kia Stinger Exterior Photos

Dimensions

This Korean compact executive is quite the lengthy car, measuring in at 190.2 inches, almost six inches longer than the Genesis G70. Total width comes in at a wide 73.6 inches, and the Stinger stands 55.1 inches tall. The wheelbase is a lengthy 114.4 inches, with the front and rear track coming in at 62.8/64.8 for the GT-Line car, and 62.8/63.7 for cars with 19-inch wheels fitted. The 2020 Kia Stinger weighs in at 3,611 lbs in its lightest form, and the range-topping GT2 tipping the scales at a hefty 4,023 pounds with AWD.

  • Length 190.2 in
  • Wheelbase 114.4 in
  • Height 55.1 in
  • Max Width 73.6 in
  • Front Width 62.8 in
  • Rear Width 64.8 in

Exterior Colors

Having a dual personality can land you up in divorce, court, or in the case of the Kia Stinger, a palette of wide-ranging exterior paint options. One of the things we love most about the Stinger is the fact that it can be a perfectly nondescript executive sedan in base trim or a serious muscle car in GT trim, and the color options on offer perfectly match that duality. Base models are offered in basics such as Snow White Pearl and Aurora Black Pearl, but Kia also offers some radical colors such as Ceramic Silver, which is a sort of off-white, gray, and Federation Orange, something that belongs in a Star Trek movie, which is only available on GT2 cars. If it were up to us, we'd get one in Micro Blue Pearl, which highlights the sporty curves of the Stinger but respects its low-flying personality.

  • Snow White Pearl
  • HiChroma Red
  • Ceramic Silver
  • Aurora Black
  • Micro Blue
  • Panthera Metal
  • Federation Orange, Late Availability

Stinger Performance

It's performance that has drawn fans to the Stinger brand, and it's the performance of this Korean exec that continues to impress us. GT-Line cars get a small capacity force-fed motor, while GT cars and above get the well-loved V6, which continues to impress three years later. The GT-Line car, with its four-pot motor, offers excellent pull and will be the perfect city and suburban companion, thanks to a big dose of low-down torque. Out on the open road, the base model car still has enough urge to power pass slow drivers, and we think that it offers more than enough go for most. The fact that Kia has built the Stinger on a RWD platform (AWD available) shows the car-buying public that it's serious about the Stinger's driving dynamics. For those who want the true Jekyll and Hyde experience, only the V6 car will do; it's a sleeper of note, and will accelerate to sixty in as low as 4.7 seconds. Acceleration in the V6 car is quite brutal, and the sound ain't so bad either.

2020 Kia Stinger Front View Driving 1 Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Rear View Driving 1 Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Engine Kia

Engine and Transmission

Kia offers two engines, a single transmission, and the option of going rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The base model is powered by a twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that features direct fuel injection and variable valve timing. This engine produces 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This engine is a strong performer and offers most of its torque over a wide rev range. GT cars and above are motivated by a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 engine that kicks out an impressive 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, according to Kia, but independent tests have revealed numbers much higher than quoted. Both engines are matched to an eight-speed automatic that can hunt for gears at lower speeds, but once on the go, offers seamless shifts and is rather responsive for a non-dual-clutch transmission.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Kia Stinger has most certainly proven its straight-line capabilities, but how does it fare out in the real world? Cruising in a straight line at legal speeds is a pleasure; the Stinger feels well set up for comfortable cruising without feeling sloppy and low speed bumps are conquered without undue harshness, but the Stinger does lean towards the harder side. When it comes to cornering, we were left wanting. The Kia can't match its more established competitors when tackling serious twisties; at the edge, the Stinger loses its composure, and we noticed a side step from the rear suspension during cornering that will unnerve less experienced drivers. The good news is that GT trim cars all get powerful Brembo brakes that perform flawlessly, and can be compared to class-leading German rivals. The all-season tires should be avoided, as they tend to wash out when pushing even remotely hard through corners. It's not all bad for the Stinger as it's an adept handler at about eight-tenths. It's only when pushing beyond that point that a BMW 3 Series offers more composure.

Stinger Gas Mileage

The significant differences in power and displacement between the two engine options, as well as the two different drivetrain configurations, will play a large part in the outcome of gas mileage figures, and the choice here is really simple: if you are mindful of your gas usage, then go for the four-cylinder, and if you're all about performance, the V6's numbers won't bother you.

The 2.0-liter car in RWD guise will achieve a best of 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined. Opting for the AWD version will see that number drop down to 21/29/24 mpg. The more powerful 3.3-liter V6 car will manage 17/25/20 mpg in both RWD and AWD spec. The 2020 Stinger is fitted with a 15.9-gallon fuel tank, which means you'll be able to travel between 318 and 398 miles on a tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2020 Kia Stinger GT-Line RWD

Stinger Interior

Kia has done a lot of R&D when it comes to their interiors, and the Stinger shows off some of the better work this Korean manufacturer has done in recent years, but alas, it doesn't feel as sophisticated or refined as its German equivalents. One of the first things you'll notice once you step inside is the Mercedes-Benz inspired circular vents and curved dashboard. It looks nice, but Mercedes-Benz does it better. The list of standard features is absolutely massive: standard on all cars is a wireless phone charging pad, dual-zone automatic climate control, as well as keyless entry and push-button start. GT-Line and GT cars get an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and GT1 and 2 cars add HomeLink. All cars get leather seats, and below GT2 trim, all cars get a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat with four-way lumbar support and an eight-way adjustable passenger seat. GT2 cars are offered with a standard surround-view monitor system, 16-way power-adjustable driver's seat with two-way side bolster, and Nappa leather seats.

2020 Kia Stinger Dashboard Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Dashboard 1 Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Driver Seat Kia
See All 2020 Kia Stinger Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

As a performance-oriented car, the Kia Stinger's seats are naturally more bolstered than your average sedan, and while the front seats offer good support, we were most impressed by the uber comfortable rear seats. The Stinger's relatively low-slung roofline doesn't afford taller drivers masses of headroom, but six-footers will still be able to comfortably fit inside. Headroom is measured at 38.3 in the front, and 37 inches in the rear. Legroom is a generous 42.6 inches in the front and 36.4 in the back. Shoulder room is 56.4/54.8 front to rear, accommodating those of broader stature, but while the Stinger is rated as a five-seater, three adults in the rear will be a somewhat uncomfortable squeeze.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.6 in
  • Front Head Room 38.3 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.0 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The interior of the Stinger feels like a proper executive space, but upon closer inspection we've noticed that the quality of materials and general fit and finish wasn't as good as its rivals. We enjoyed gripping the hand-stitched leather steering wheel that's finished off with a good-looking diamond-shaped pattern, and the alloy foot pedals feel solid underfoot. The Stinger also offers high gloss black interior trim on the center console and door panels. The leather seats are of a high quality, and should last the lifetime of the car if taken care of, but we would suggest going with the supple Nappa leather. GT-Line cars are available with black or red leather, and Black or Red Nappa leather is available on GT2 cars only.

Stinger Trunk and Cargo Space

Not only is the Stinger an entertaining car to drive, but it's practical too. Compared to its rivals, the Stinger offers one of the largest trunk sizes. Open up the trunk lid, and you'll be presented with 23.3 cubic feet of space. A car like the Audi A5 Sportback with a similar liftback style trunk lid as the stinger will manage 21.8 cubic feet, and the comparable Genesis G70 gets a paltry 10.5 cubic feet. The trunk lid of the Kia Stinger has a wide opening and goes on for miles. Thankfully it comes with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat with a center armrest that, when folded flat, opens up a good amount of space. Small items can be stored in the large center console storage box, but the front door pockets are on the skinny side. In the rear, there's a set of handy seatback pockets.

2020 Kia Stinger Trunk Space Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Rear Passenger Seats Kia
2020 Kia Stinger Rear Passenger Seats 1 Kia

Stinger Infotainment and Features

Features

One of the factors that make the 2020 Kia Stinger such a good buy is the fact that even in base trim, it comes stacked with a bunch of premium features, which on many other competitors would have been relegated to the options list. The exterior of the 2020 Kia Stinger features LED daytime running lights and LED headlights with high beam assist, and a smart power trunk lid on GT2 cars. On the inside, all Stinger cars get a leather interior, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, as well as a wireless phone charging pad. All cars also get keyless entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, with auto-dimming exterior mirrors from the GT1. All cars get power-adjustable and heated seats (ventilation from GT1 models and heated rears on the GT2), as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, which is power-adjustable from the GT1 onwards. Driver assistance features include blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic assist, while a head-up display is standard fare on the uppermost trim along with a surround-view camera.

Infotainment

The UVO infotainment system in the Stinger is a passable effort, and does all the things a modern-day infotainment system is expected to. All models come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as Bluetooth streaming with voice recognition. GT-Line and GT cars are equipped with a seven-inch touch-screen display which we found to be too small for any real touch screen action, and response times on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay were on the slower side. GT-Line cars get a six-speaker sound system, while GT cars are fitted with a more powerful nine-speaker system. GT1 and GT2 cars enjoy a larger eight-inch touchscreen display with a voice-command navigation system, as well as an impressive Harman Kardon QuantumLogic premium sound system with Clari-Fi, 720 watts of power, and 15 speakers.

Stinger Problems and Reliability

Kia is yet to offer a car in the US that is even remotely unreliable: the Kia Stinger has only been recalled once in the past three years (back in 2018), and the fine folk at J.D. Power awarded the Kia with awards for quality, dependability, and performance for the 2019 production year. On top of this, there's more good news: Kia will cover the Stinger with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a five-year/100,000-mile corrosion warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan, and a phenomenal ten-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

Stinger Safety

The Stinger is a bit of a low-volume oddball in the States, and despite its sales numbers improving over the last couple of years, the NHTSA hasn't put it through its paces around their crash test course. The IIHS has, however, taken it upon themselves to smash a few of these Korean beauties, and the results are impressive. The 2020 Kia Stinger managed to bag itself a sought after Top Safety Pick award and only missed out on a Top Safety Pick + award due to a poor showing by the base model's headlights.

Key Safety Features

Bagging a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS is a sure indication that the car in question is packing some serious safety features, and that is exactly the case with the 2020 Kia Stinger: besides getting all the traditional safety features such as seven airbags (including a driver knee airbag), electronic stability control, and traction control, it also gets a number of advanced driver assistance features. From the GT-Line car up, drivers get the added protection of blind-spot warning, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic control. GT1 and GT2 cars also get driver attention warning for when that 3.3-liter twin-turbo engine isn't enough of a wakeup call, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, smart cruise control, and lane keep assist.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Kia Stinger a good car?

Kia, the Korean car manufacturer responsible for building fun little cars such as the Soul has decided to take the plunge into the executive performance sedan market; one which has been dominated by German brands, some of which have been around for over a century. So what Kia has accomplished with the Stinger is a truly admirable act of confidence and brand growth. The Kia still looks good after being around for a few years now, and still delivers exhilarating performance. While the 2.0T is average for the segment, the 3.3T V6 is a stellar powertrain, and the Stinger is an agile handler - although we'd rather have a 3 Series or Alfa Giulia when hunting the limits. But you get a serious warranty from Kia, as well as a lower price tag than most German and American rivals. Interior quality isn't as great as some of the premium brands, and at the limit the Stinger doesn't handle as well, but that doesn't detract from the fact that the Stinger is an underappreciated performance bombshell that deserves to be looked at.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Kia Stinger?

The Kia Stinger gets split into eight different levels when it comes to pricing and starts with the Stinger GT-Line, which goes for an MSRP of $33,090, which excludes tax, registration, and a $1,035 destination fee. The Stinger GT, the first trim level in the range to be made available with the larger V6 engine, starts at $39,500. GT1 cars will set you back $45,400 in RWD guise and at the top, the GT2 goes for a cool $50,300. Adding AWD to any trim adds an extra $2,200 to the asking price.

2020 Kia Stinger Models

You can have your Stinger in four different flavors, starting with the base-spec GT-Line, which replaces the original 2.0L base model for 2020. The remaining trims are the GT, GT1, and GT2. GT-Line cars are powered by a spicy 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, while GT cars get a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 with 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. Power in all trim levels can be sent to either the rear or to all four corners.

The base model GT-Line features 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats with 12-way power adjustment for the driver and eight-way power adjustment for the passenger with heating, park distance control, as well as an infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Safety features also include blind-spot collision warning, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic collision warning.

Next up is the GT, which gets a set of dual-lens full LED headlights, and 19-inch alloys on the outside, while the cabin sports a nine-speaker sound system, front and rear park distance control, as well as an electronic parking brake.

GT1 cars offer a truly premium experience by including features such as auto-dimming side-view mirrors, a power sunroof, high beam assist, and rain-sensitive window wipers, and that's only the exterior. On the inside, the GT1 sports an eight-inch display with integrated navigation, a Harman Kardon premium sound system with 15 speakers, as well as sporty gauges. You now get a 12-way power adjustable driver's seat, both front seats gain ventilation, and the safety takes a bump with the inclusion of forward collision assist with pedestrian warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot warning with lane change assist, as well as rear cross-traffic warning, driver attention assist, and rain-sensing wipers.

The exterior of the GT2 car offers dynamic low beam assist on the headlights and a smart power trunk for ease of access, while the interior gets a set of Nappa-trimmed leather seats with a 16-way power adjustable driver's seat as well as a 12-way power-adjustable front passenger seat. The GT2 also gets heated rear seats, a surround-view camera system, and a head-up display unit.

See All 2020 Kia Stinger Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The base model of the 2020 lineup is available with a Sun and Sound package, which, for $2,900, adds a sunroof with power sunshade, a UVO eServices infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen display and integrated voice-command system. The package also adds a Harman Kardon QuantumLogic premium sound system with 15 speakers and 720 watts of raw power, and eight-way power adjustment for the front passenger seat. All of these become standard on higher trims, and upper trims don't really offer many packages.

Smaller accessories such as an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink goes for $350 on GT-Line and GT models (standard from the GT1), and to remotely start the engine of your Stinger will cost an extra $495. The rest of the Stinger range are self-contained trims, so if you're interested in getting a head-up display system, you'll have no other choice than to stretch for the top-of-the-line GT2 car.

🚗What Kia Stinger Model Should I Buy?

One of the main reasons we like the Stinger so much is because of what lies beneath the hood. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder is more than capable of pulling the Stinger around town and is actually quite punchy, but we'd skip over it and go straight for the 3.3-liter turbo powerhouse. In this guise, new owners have the option of going with the GT, GT1, or GT2. All of these trims progressively build up features over the last. We think that the GT1 offers the best balance of features and price, so what do you get when you pay $5,900 over the price of the GT? The exterior of the GT1 gains auto-dimming side mirrors, a sunroof with power shade, and high-beam assist. Inside, GT1 cars offer a standard eight-inch display with navigation, a 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, as well as a seven-inch driver display, sport gauges and an auto-dimming rearview with HomeLink. With other features unmentioned, we think that the GT1 offers great value over the GT, and should be the one to go for.

2020 Kia Stinger Comparisons

Genesis G70 CarBuzz
Ford Mustang Coupe Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Kia Stinger255 hp22/29 mpg$33,090
Genesis G70 252 hp20/27 mpg$35,450
Ford Mustang Coupe 310 hp21/30 mpg$26,670

2020 Kia Stinger vs Genesis G70

As some of you may know, the Kia Stinger and Genesis G70 share the same platform, as well as engine and suspension setups. The only major difference here is the styling. So, what's the Genesis G70 all about? Well, its mostly an image thing; the Genesis, in theory, should appeal to a more mature market who will appreciate its upmarket interior and refinement. It also misses out on the Stinger's more obvious sporty appeal. Other than that, the G70 and Stinger are both blessed by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot and beastly 3.3-liter V6. Inside the cabin of the G70, there is a marked difference in the quality of materials used, and we love the quilted effect on the door panels and seats of the higher trim cars. As you can expect, the interior space on offer is similar to that of the Stinger, although with a traditional trunk, the G70 falls behind in terms of cargo capacity. We prefer the Stinger for its sportier appeal, but the Genesis G70 is as sporty but is more refined, justifying the few thousand dollars extra you'll have to fork out for one.

See Genesis G70 Review

2020 Kia Stinger vs Ford Mustang Coupe

The Mustang is one of the most famous American sports cars of all time, and is the polar opposite of the Kia Stinger, especially in terms of body design and, well, overall purpose. The 2020 Ford Mustang is available in turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder guise, which is the most appropriate comparison here. The Ford produces 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Performance is impressive, although many complain that the 2.3-liter engine isn't as vocal as a traditional V8. On the road, the Mustang displays excellent road manners and is easy to drive fast, even by beginners. The interior of the 'Stang won't blow you over as it's decidedly cheap in comparison, but everything is there, and the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system is one of the better ones on the market. The Mustang isn't as practical as the Stinger, not by a longshot, and the Stinger should also keep you safer in case of an accident. The choice here is really simple: if you want a Mustang, buy a Mustang - you won't cross-shop these two for anything other than an emotional buy.

See Ford Mustang Coupe Review

Kia Stinger Popular Comparisons

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2020 Kia Stinger Video Reviews

Check out some informative Kia Stinger video reviews below.

$33,090 - $52,500
Price Range (MSRP)
Kia Stinger