The Kia Stinger has been around for the better part of four years and has revolutionized the way people look at the Kia brand. Most would never have imagined that this humble Korean manufacturer would ever be capable of building a luxury sport sedan that serves as actual competition for German rivals, yet here it is. Styled as a distinctive liftback sedan, the Stinger offers both style and practicality and packs a mean punch too. For 2022, the base model gets a larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing more power and torque, but the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 with 368 horsepower and 376 lb-ft remains the most potent option with a small power bump.
The Stinger goes up against luxury vehicles such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, which both offer similar refinement and more premium badges, but at much higher prices. In the mainstream category, Kia's only competition comes from the Volkswagen Arteon, which is focused more on comfort and less on sporty driving. The Stinger has long been one of our all-time favorite sport sedans on the market, and the latest 2022 refresh keeps it at the top.
The 2022 Kia Stinger is a changed car thanks to numerous styling updates and a power plant replacement in base form. The 255-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot in last year's base model is replaced with a 2.5-liter turbo-four producing an impressive 300 hp. The 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 also makes more power, up from 365 hp to 368 hp, and it sounds better with a new electronic variable exhaust system. The exterior now features redesigned lights, exhaust tips, and wheels. The interior shows off more refined materials, an ambient lighting system, and a standard 10.25-inch infotainment display. The GT trim falls away for 2022, while auto emergency braking, blind-spot collision avoidance, and lane keeping assist are made standard for the remaining three trims. The Scorpion Special Edition is set to arrive in Spring and will only be available in limited batches of 250 cars per month.
See trim levels and configurations:
Kia has gone the route of so many German sport sedans before it. Its RWD chassis strikes a balance between dynamic handling and comfort, and driving this machine on a daily basis reveals a slight bias towards sporty driving. Driven at slower speeds, the Stinger does a phenomenal job of absorbing bumps, but the suspension setup has a notable firmness compared to an average midsize sedan. The good news is, the Stinger is softly sprung by sports sedan standards and the cabin is well insulated on the highway. Buyers who've never forayed outside the realm of Honda and Toyota cars may find the Stinger too stiff, but luxury customers coming from BMW and Mercedes should come away impressed by the car's ride quality.
Driving with more vigor reveals the Stinger is a genuine sports sedan that wasn't built with track duty in mind. The suspension is softer than you'd want for extreme driving, but the chassis offers enough flex to keep the driver feeling in control. Kia's development boss Albert Biermann has taken his know-how from BMW, and created a car that offers a more natural connection to the road than his former employer's current crop of vehicles. Yes, an M5 will spank the Stinger around a track, but we genuinely prefer the talkative steering and communicative chassis in the Kia. Praise doesn't get much higher. The Stinger is as eager to stop as it is to go thanks to a set of highly competent Brembo brakes on GT models, but the brakes on the base model are more than capable too.
We've sampled the RWD Stinger GT in the past, and found it highly pleasing to drive quickly with the ability to light up the rear tires on-demand. This time Kia sent us a V6-powered GT2 trim with AWD, and we are pleased to report that the addition of two driven wheels hasn't numbed the excitement. Sure, burnouts are tougher to execute, but the stability added through the corners is worth the trade-off, especially if you live in a cold climate. With AWD, we'd happily drive the Stinger in the snowy winter months. Overall, the Kia Stinger is a competent all-rounder that's nearly impossible to fault.
From the first moment we drove it, we knew the Kia Stinger was special. Here's a car that goes toe-to-toe with Germany's finest, and bests them in dynamic feel. How did a humble automaker like Kia manage this feat? By hiring the best in the business to beat BMW at its own game. The result is a handsome looking sports sedan that only looks more premium for the 2022 model year. Inside, the cabin looks luxurious enough to wear four rings or a three-pointed star. But no matter how many times Kia redesigns its logo, there will always be shoppers who will never consider the Stinger over an Audi A5 Sportback or a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, even if those models are more expensive. To those buyers we say, "your loss."
Kia's updates for 2022 remind us why we loved this car in the first place, and give shoppers more reasons to choose one. The V6-powered GT1 and GT2 models are total sweethearts to drive, but the upgraded 2.5-liter four-cylinder would make us seriously consider saving some cash on the GT-Line. No matter which Stinger model you choose, know you are getting one of the definitive sports sedans of this decade.
These two stylish luxury sedans might look significantly different, but they share the same platform developed by Hyundai and Kia. The G70 offers a more traditional sedan design and a slightly more mature look. Unlike the Stinger, which scores that new 2.5-liter engine, the 2022 Genesis G70 is stuck with a 2.0-liter engine producing only 252 hp and 260 lb-ft, but the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 is also on offer and produces 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. The G70 offers significantly less cargo space at only 10.5 cubic feet but provides a better headroom in the front. These cars share the same infotainment system, and the overall experience is very similar. The Genesis offers slightly more sophistication but at a higher price than the Kia Stinger. We'll stick with the Kia.
When Kia retired the famed Optima in 2020, the globally-used K5 moniker took its place, and this midsize sedan looks fantastic. The K5 slots in below the Stinger in Kia's sedan lineup and sits above the Rio and Forte. The K5 is longer than the Stinger, and on the inside, offers more front legroom but slightly less rear legroom. Due to its sedan body shape, it offers less cargo space at 16 cubic feet. The K5 is a comfortable car to drive but fails to entertain the same way the Stinger does, primarily due to its FWD or AWD-only configuration. The more economical turbocharged 1.6-liter engine in the K5 offers enough go for city driving and returns good gas mileage figures, but the 2.5-liter engine is the one to go for. In the K5, the specs on this motor are 290 hp and 311 lb-ft. If you're not too phased by handling dynamics and can settle for a slightly less sophisticated interior, the K5 makes a lot of sense.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Kia Stinger: