2018 Kia Stinger GT long-term review winter update



I look forward to the Detroit Auto Show almost every year. I moved out west, so traveling back for the show offers me a chance to visit the place I grew up, to see what some automakers are bringing to the roads in the upcoming year and to drive some of the long-termers that call our Birmingham office home. This year, that meant our sporty fastback, the Kia Stinger GT.

As a senior video producer, I don’t pack lightly. There’s tons of photo and video equipment to haul around in addition to my luggage. Although the Stinger’s hatchback cargo area has plenty of space, I still needed the back seat, which isn’t as spacious as I expected for such a large car. Confirming that, when I offered to drive my family around, they took one look at the back seat and instead chose to sit in the third row of their Buick.

Our Stinger is also shockingly red. The exterior is a gorgeous shade named HiChroma Red, but the interior’s Nappa leather is red, too. This is a bit much for me and apparently I’m not alone since this combo is no longer available for 2019. After getting over the color, though, I found the interior to be quite comfortable. Both the front seats and steering wheel are heated, which is a blessing in frigid January Michigan weather. My only gripe is that, even on freshly paved Michigan roads, the rear window tends to rattle.

Speaking of unwanted noises, after only 10,000 miles, the Stinger has a creak in the front passenger side door that can only be described as painful. I had been warned ahead of time by Associate Editor Reese Counts, but I was still taken aback by how bad it is. Expect an update on a potential remedy to that soon.

The roads in western Michigan look nothing like those on the state’s east side, with twisty, modestly hilly roads in favor of the flat, grid-like structures typical of Metro Detroit and other eastern cities. This made driving the Stinger a real treat. Its 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque is refreshing, and the eight-speed automatic disappears into the background, almost unnoticeable, which is the way I prefer automatic transmissions to perform. The Stinger’s 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 sounds quite good, too. Starting it up every morning put a smile on my face.

A price of $46,620 may seem like a lot to pay for a Kia, but the Stinger feels worth it. That said, the MSRP isn’t the only high cost associated with this car. In my time with it, time primarily spent on the highway, I averaged right around 21 mpg, which is consistent with our overall average of 20.7 mpg. That also jibes with the EPA’s combined estimate of 21 mpg. Not bad for a performance-oriented car, but be warned if/when gas prices go up again.

In total, the Stinger didn’t disappoint. Next time I’m in town, I’ll gladly get behind the wheel again.

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