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2019 Kia Stinger

$32,990 - $52,400
Price Range (MSRP)
Kia Stinger

2019 Kia Stinger Review

by Roger Biermann

Many heads turned last year when the South Korean manufacturer introduced the world to the Stinger, captivating the curious and leaving the skeptical behind. Here to do it again, the 2019 Kia Stinger is in for round two with a choice of a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four-cylinder motor producing 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque and the impressive 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 boasting 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. Capable of 0-60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds, the Stinger rubs shoulders with automotive giants, offering an unlikely alternative to American and European luxury sports sedans such as the Ford Mustang and Audi S5 Sportback.

Read in this review:

2019 Kia Stinger Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Stinger?

Styling has remained the same since the first iteration last year, with changes in the form of a new Panthera Metal (Gray) exterior color choice. Trim levels see a change in standard and optional features too, such as coasting neutral control, surround-view monitor, and a wireless phone charger. Lane change assist and blind spot warning are now standard across all trim levels, and the entry-level Stinger now benefits from 18-inch machined alloy wheels as standard, and an optional sunroof. The GT trim also gets high-beam assist, while Premium trim levels and up, enjoy cooled front seats, a wireless phone charger, and rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers as standard.

Pros and Cons

  • Two strong motors available
  • Agile handling
  • Spacious trunk
  • Remarkable warranty
  • High-quality interior
  • Sporty/aggressive styling
  • Average fuel economy
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Cramped rear legroom

Stinger Exterior

The Stinger's looks are nothing short of exuberant, sporting 18-inch alloy wheels with a machined finish, low-swept functional side vents, mirror-mounted LED indicators, projector headlights, and dual chrome exhaust tips. Hints of chrome line the door arches and finish in a point at the rear, while large gloss black vents hint at the potential under the hood.

2019 Kia Stinger Front Angle View
2019 Kia Stinger Front View Driving
2019 Kia Stinger Rear View Driving
See All 2019 Kia Stinger Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 2019 Kia Stinger is a sports sedan at heart, at 190.2 inches long and 73.6 inches wide. The body rests comfortably on a 114.4-inch wheelbase and affords it a 'low to the ground' profile with the front and rear tracks at 62.8- and 64.8-inches wide respectively. Depending on your trim of choice, as well as electing for the optional all-wheel-drive system, the 2.0-liter Stinger weighs between 3,611 and 3,792 lbs, and its 3.3-liter counterpart tips the scales between 3,829 and 4,023 lbs.

Exterior Colors

Available on the first three trim levels, the 2.0L, Premium, and GT models have only five colors to choose from, where the GT1 and GT2 models benefit from six colors on their palette. Starting with the first three trim colors, Micro Blue Pearl gives you a metallic high gloss finish, whereas Aurora Black Pearl and the new Panthera Metal close the other end of the spectrum. HiChroma Red nets you a diffused gloss finish, while Snow White Pearl tips the balance to a more subtle note, both at a $495 premium. The GT1 and GT2 models gain an additional color called Ceramic Silver, at $495 extra as well.

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

Stinger Performance

Performance is where the Stinger is expected to shine, standing toe to toe with world-renowned sports sedans. All things considered, it doesn't turn heads for nothing. There are two motors available for the Stinger, with the choice ultimately coming down to how many horses you think you need. The entry-level 2.0L and Premium trims make use of a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four-cylinder motor, producing 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The GT, GT1, and GT2 trims see a 3.3-liter twin turbo V6 turn the wheels, putting out an impressive 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, enough to launch it from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds and carry it on to 167 mph if you felt so inclined. As standard, the entire Stinger range comes in a rear-wheel-drive configuration, with all the models benefiting from an optional all-wheel-drive system at a $2,200 premium. It's Audi S5 Sportback rival gets AWD as standard, where the Ford Mustang seems to be left behind with only RWD available.

2019 Kia Stinger Front View Driving
2019 Kia Stinger Rear View Driving

Engine and Transmission

2019's Kia Stinger gets its pick from two forced induction motors and a single gearbox to mate them with. Exclusive to the 2.0L and Premium trims, is a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four-cylinder motor producing 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The GT, GT1, and GT2 models harness its power from a much more powerful motor, namely a 3.3-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine that delivers 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, or optionally all four wheels with all-wheel-drive available at an additional $2,200 price tag.

The 2.0-liter Stinger is quick to get off the line from a standstill, delivering a reassuring amount of grunt to get it going, while the 3.3-liter just dominates from a traffic light. Getting up to highway speeds is just as effortless for both motors, with the eight-speed auto staying well within its torque band and delivering smooth shifts throughout the speedometer. Overtaking on the highway, the 2.0-liter starts to lose grunt at much higher speeds, but not nearly enough to warrant any concern or deduct points for its effort. The 3.3-liter V6, on the other hand, deals with higher speed overtaking as if its second nature.

  • 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 Stinger is as aggressive and fun packed as it looks, with featherlight steering at lower speeds and taught and focused steering characteristics on the highway or long stretch. The suspension also favors minimal body roll through even the most demanding corners, affording it its nimble and agile approach without severely compromising comfort. That said, comfort is at the below average mark with road imperfections rather apparent in the cabin. If winter climates or the occasional gravel road are part of your daily life, opting for all-wheel-drive ($2,200) is highly recommended.

The Stinger has five adjustable drive modes to choose from, depending on the environment you find yourself in. ECO mode tells the transmission to relax and favor earlier shifts, while Sport mode stiffens up the steering, suspension, and enhances throttle response for a much more aggressive driving style. Comfort mode is where you'd likely spend most of your time, however, to balance driving comfort with mid-level performance. Smart mode monitors driver behavior and creates a profile according to your driving habits, and Custom gives you full control over all the affected parameters to tailor a mode of your own creation.

Stinger Gas Mileage

Gas mileage for the 2019 Kia Stinger is an EPA rated 17/25/20 mpg for city/highway/combined cycles, placing it rather average against its competitors. As a daily driver though, that's still considerably better than the Ford Mustang's 15/24/18 mpg. There are of course smaller, more economical motors on offer for both the Kia and Ford, where the Stinger's 2.0-liter turbocharged motor achieves 22/29/25 mpg, compared to the Mustang's 2.3-liter turbo motor at 21/31/25 mpg. The Germans take the strong lead though, with the S5 Sportback's 3.0-liter V6 achieving 21/30/24 mpg. If the Stinger is your driving companion of choice, you can expect just shy of 398 miles from its 15.9-gallon fuel tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2019 Kia Stinger Base RWD

Stinger Interior

The interior of the Stinger feels like that of a jet fighter cockpit, with the dashboard angled towards the driver and controls set down low. Three round vents are set at the center, with the infotainment touchscreen protruding above and a host of buttons below. A luxurious feel accompanies everything in sight, too, with a blend of satin and gloss finishes all around. Whether it be peaking over the instrument cluster or out the windows, forward and side visibility is excellent, yet sadly very limited at the rear due to the swept roofline. That said, the interior design is well thought out and intuitively implemented, affording it a comfortable and well-equipped finish despite its competitive price tag.

2019 Kia Stinger Dashboard
2019 Kia Stinger Driver Seat
See All 2019 Kia Stinger Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Stinger is labeled as a five-seater luxury sports car, though the passenger at the rear-center might find it a rather unpleasant place to be with the rear armrest against their back and raised center-section underneath. They also lose all side support, having to rely on other rear passengers for some stability when the Kia starts stretching its capable legs. The seats are, however, firm but comfortable and certainly adequate to take you long distances. Headroom is also favorable, with 38.3/37-inches at the front and rear respectively. Shoulder room for rear passengers is a fair 54.8 inches, and a forgiving 56.4 inches at the front should you be a bit on the larger side. Rear legroom leaves enough space for two tall adults and a smaller adult/teenager at the center with 36.4 inches.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Despite its competition-crushing price tag, the interior choice of materials and trim are nothing short of premium. Even at entry-level trim, leather wraps the seats and steering wheel, as well as the base of the gear lever. The dashboard and inner door cards make use of hard plastics, with leather lining most of the surfaces and satin trim accenting the armrest and handles. Most of the center console is covered in gloss plastics, with more satin accents can be found around the controls. Upgraded leather seats are available at higher trims, as well as colored stitching on the steering wheel, accents around the push-button start, and a brushed metallic finish on the center console. Leather is available in red or black, dependant on the exterior paint color.

Stinger Trunk and Cargo Space

Classified as a hatchback or Sportback, trunk space is a surprisingly large 23.3 cubic feet, and 40.9 cubic feet with the rear seats down. That puts it ahead of key rivals and quite high in its class, too, with enough space for a couple of large suitcases or the occasional golf bag, and a medium shopping trip.

Cargo space is also rather reasonable and practical, with cupholders in the folding rear center armrest if no fifth passenger tags along, two dedicated cupholders in the center console for driver and front passenger, front and rear door bottle holders, front seatback pockets, and a rather deep illuminated glove box.

2019 Kia Stinger Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Kia Stinger Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Kia Stinger Second Row Folded

Stinger Infotainment and Features

Features

No stranger to premium features, the Stinger has an extensive list packed as standard, and a whole lot more as optional. Depending on the trim you opt for, features include rear-camera display with dynamic guidelines, parking distance warning for the front and rear, blind spot collision warning, cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls, push-button start/stop, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and dual-zone climate control. Higher trims see additions such as surround view monitor forward collision avoidance assist, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, wireless phone charger, and a head-up display. Power-adjustable front seats, as well as heated and ventilated seats, are also available.

Infotainment

Undeniably one of Kia's most redeeming features is its infotainment systems. The Stinger is certainly no exception, with a seven-inch touchscreen display as standard, blasting audio through either six, nine, or 15 speakers when opting for the Harmon/Kardon premium audio. Connectivity is handled by Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while a USB or auxiliary jack takes care of the more analog approach. SiriusXM satellite radio streaming also comes as standard on all trims. Higher trim models get upgraded to an eight-inch touchscreen display with navigation, too. Both the seven-inch and eight-inch displays are exceptionally easy to use, with the layout very intuitively designed and a very responsive user interface.

Stinger Problems and Reliability

The 2019 Kia Stinger carries an exceptional warranty, leaving the showroom floor with a ten-year/100,00-mile powertrain, as well as a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty with roadside assistance to match, and a five-year/100,000-mile limited anti-perforation warranty. On October 25, 2018, Kia issued a recall on certain late model 2018 Stingers for a wiring harness friction issue against a front fender body panel, which has since been resolved for all 2019 models. At the time of writing, only one incident has been reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving a Stinger catching fire due to a short in the rear fuse box, with the majority of owners reporting no major issues whatsoever.

Stinger Safety

At the time of writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to rate the Stinger, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did award it a 2019 Top Safety Pick Plus rating.

Key Safety Features

Safety features are aplenty on the Stinger, with dual front, front seat-mounted side, driver's knee, and full-length side curtain airbags taking care of the basics. The list kicks off from there, with forward collision-avoidance asist, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, driver attention warning, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot collision warning, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic collision warning, and high beam assist all available on the Stinger. For a car that was designed for the fast lane, the brakes got smart too, with a brake assist system, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake fade compensation.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Kia Stinger a good car?

The 2019 Kia Stinger enters a vehicle segment flooded with your pick of luxury cabins and powerful motors, with years of refinement to build on. It's a stretch to imagine that the company responsible for the reliable Rio, fun Soul, and versatile Sportage can deliver a car that sits toe to toe with the likes of BMW and Audi sports cars. Kia has outdone themselves though, with a car that not only looks fast but acts the part, too. The Stinger brings to the market a formerly exclusive high price tag package at a much lower price point, with power figures soaring high and a car most capable of handling it on the road. The exterior styling brings to mind thoughts of performance and refinement too but stays unique enough to warrant a badge we didn't expect to see. Not only is the Kia Stinger a good car, but an excellent one at that, delivering substantial value for money in the segment for anyone aspiring to go fast in style.

What's the Price of the 2019 Kia Stinger?

The 2019 Kia Stinger is available at five different price points. Starting off at base trim, the Stinger 2.0L has an MSRP of $32,990 excluding licensing, registration, and $995 in destination charges. One bump higher, we get the Premium with an MSRP of $39,190. Next in line are the three GT trim levels, with the GT priced only $110 more than the Premium trim, trading features for the larger 3.3-liter motor. The GT1 sees a rather steep bump in price to $45,300, with the fully loaded GT2 following suit at $50,200.

2019 Kia Stinger Models

The 2019 Kia Stinger range comprises of five trims: 2.0L, Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2.

At base trim, the Stinger 2.0L sports a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged motor paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, producing 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Equipped as standard are 18-inch machined finish alloy wheels, projector beam headlights, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with native support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, push-button start/stop, a rear-camera display, front/rear parking assist system, various safety systems, leather seats, heated front seats, and dual-zone climate control.

The next model up is the Stinger Premium, utilizing the same powertrain, but with the inclusion of additional features, such as LED headlights/rear turn signals, an eight-inch touchscreen display with a Harman/Kardon premium 15-speaker audio system, a seven-inch LCD color instrument cluster, rain-sensing wipers, a wireless phone charger, ventilated front seats, a power sunroof, and a power tilt & telescopic steering wheel.

The GT lineup is next, with packages laid out differently than that of the 2.0L and Premium trims. The GTs make use of a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 motor producing 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, with the entry-level GT trim featuring 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights/rear turn signals, Brembo brakes, launch control, a limited-slip differential (RWD only), a seven-inch touchscreen display, push-button start/stop, a rear-camera display, front/rear parking assist system, leather seats, heated front seats, and dual-zone climate control.

The GT1 builds on that with additional features, namely 19-inch alloy wheels, electronically controlled suspension, an eight-inch touchscreen display with Harman/Kardon premium audio, a seven-inch LCD color instrument cluster, smart cruise control with stop/go, rain-sensing wipers, a wireless phone charger, and a power sunroof.

Topping the range is the GT2, that adds a head-up display, surround-view monitor, smart power trunk, and Nappa leather trim for the interior.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$32,990
Premium
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,190
GT
3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,300
GTS
3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$44,000
GT1
3.3-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$45,300
See All 2019 Kia Stinger Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The base model Stinger 2.0L is the only model that has an additional package available to bolster its equipment, called the Sun and Sound Package. At an additional cost of $3,000, it adds a sunroof with a power sunshade, dual-lens full LED headlights, and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Harman/Kardon premium audio, bumping up the speaker count to 15.

What Kia Stinger Model Should I Buy?

The Kia Stinger has two models that shine above the rest in terms of equipment vs cost. If the Stinger is intended as a daily driver and gas mileage is an important buying factor, then the Premium trim ($39,190) is the one to go for. As standard, it carries a complete list of Kia's safety features as well as all the driver comforts with the exception of a power trunk, head-up display, and the surround-view monitor system. If gravel and snow is part of your daily life, then equipping the AWD at $2,200 is highly recommended. For the more performance inclined, the GT2 ($45,300) is the Premium's near identical match, but with the 3.3-liter V6 motor and a lot of stopping power added.

2019 Kia Stinger Comparisons

2019 Kia Stinger
2019 Kia Stinger

2019 Kia Stinger vs Ford Mustang Coupe

The Kia Stinger outshines the Ford Mustang in a few departments, offering much more usable cargo space than its American rival, 9.8 cubic feet to be exact. The Stinger also seats five people in total, where the Mustang only seats four. The Mustang does have the superior powerplant, however, besting Kia's 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged motor rated at 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque) with its 5.0-liter V8 monster that delivers 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. In more modest configurations, the Stinger's 2.0-liter engine is only slightly behind the Mustang's 2.3-Liter Ecoboost motor, much less than Mustang purists would expect, with economy figures matching up at 25-mpg combined and power figures at 255 hp and 310 hp respectively. The Mustang does have a lower base price than the Stinger, at $26,395, but is significantly less equipped than its $32,990 rival.

See Ford Mustang Coupe Review

2019 Kia Stinger vs Audi S5 Sportback

Value for money is a key point for the Stinger. In GT trim, the 3.3-liter twin turbocharged motor paired with its all-wheel-drive system dominates the Audi S5's price tag at $42,295, a whole $12,105 less than the German rival. The Stinger also offers 1.5 cubic feet more cargo volume than the Audi and 5.9 cubic feet with the seats down. You also get 19-inch machined wheels over Audi's 18-inch alloys, as well as slightly more legroom at the front and rear. In performance metrics, the Stinger has the more powerful motor (365 hp vs 354 hp), as well as a higher top speed, 167 mph compared to the Audi's 155 mph. Warranty is where the Stinger outshines by a significant margin, however, with a ten-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty as standard, six years and 50,000 miles longer than the S5. If German engineering isn't everything for you, the Stinger might be the smarter buy.

See Audi S5 Sportback Review

Kia Stinger Popular Comparisons

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2019 Kia Stinger Video Reviews