2019 Kia Stinger Sets Benchmark For $50K Performance Car Segment

Kia_Stinger_GT2_RWD_V6 Red
We discover Kia’s Corvette slayer

After a week behind the wheel of Kia’s latest and greatest departure into affordable extreme performance, without reservation I believe 2019 Kia Stinger G.T. to be one of if not the best high performance mid size hatchback values on the market today. Read why this low production Kia sets the benchmark in the under $50,000 performance car segment.

A near premium high performance 4-place Grand Turismo without peers  

I love looking at Kia Stinger GT 2. It reminds me of being track side at a Pirelli G.T. event. The body line of this car is most definitely race inspired , and that it is. Dropping in behind the leather covered steering wheel of Kia Stinger, releasing the parking brake, and pushing the gas pedal to the carpet, I’m immediately transported back to the race track for $9,000 less than the closest priced and equipped competitor. This sport hatchback is drive-time magic!

On the posh side: Even when compared to the maker’s luxury Genesis brand , Kia Stinger comes out on top in not only purchase performance value, but overall ride quality, seat comfort, and road handling.

A bit of a mind blower, this electronic managed suspension, Brembo Brake equipped, 368 Horsepower turbocharged V6, comes from a mainstream Korean Automaker known more for bare-bones transportation value than over-the-top race inspired G.T. performance. Yet when compared side by side with all domestic, European, and Asian car offerings in the near premium performance car segment, blows away the competition with solid package value and the best extended warranty available in the business today.

As noted by U.S. News and Reports and others: Kia Stinger presents greater engine, suspension performance, interior comfort, utility, ease of personal electronic connectivity, and trunk space, than Mercedes Benz C Class and BMW 3-series, for a lot less money.

One won’t have a true road tested sense of how far Kia has come in the premium high performance sedan segment before sitting behind the steering wheel of 2019 Kia Stinger G.T. 2. Actually, Kia Stinger is a 5 passenger performance hatchback sporting Pirelli World Challenge inspired racing body language, 20 inch alloy wheels, Michelin high speed radial tires, over-sized Brembo Brakes — and, true dual exhaust and air intakes that actually work.

Under the hood we discover a very refined and relatively quiet, direct injected, turbocharged high output V6 — paired to a very user friendly real-time 9 speed automatic transmission and steering wheel mounted paddle shifting. The downside? Kia Stinger is relatively thirsty claiming a combined MPG of 21.

KIa Stinger inspires performance driving

On the performance side: Stinger takes us back to a day of extreme performance street fighters, with several notable features more akin to civilized long range highway driving. For the sports driver in the family 2019 Kia Stinger may be the perfect do-all daily commuter. And, it’s hella cheaper than a Dodge Charger Hellcat. Yes, we did encounter one sitting at a stop light. Who won the coin toss? Can’t say here — but it was fun!

The Advanced Car takes on the Oregon back roads in Kia’s 5 Door G.T.

Rarely do we find a coupe, hatchback, or sedan, rolling off the showroom floor with track-ready power and handling characteristics equally at home on the track, as it is on the Highway. 2019 Kia Stinger does both exceptionally well with no compromise as to interior cabin quiet, seat comfort, or overall fuel economy.

Kia Stinger Dash Layout, Fit and Finish

While the dash layout of Stinger is rather spartan by premium car standards, I do like the no nonsense dash cluster layout and near intuitive dash top mounted 7 inch, touch-pad monitor display. Stinger’s cabin look while Spartan, is well balanced, quality trimmed, accent lighted, and stretch-out comfortable. I appreciate the leather clad cooled power adjusted driver’s seat, as well as the easily read heads up display. This thing is cool!

The safety side of Stinger: Unlike like many sport hatchbacks on the market today, Kia Stinger GT 2 comes standard with a complement of active driver assist and accident avoidance tech. And, as reported by Consumer Reports and others, a base price, standard premium features, built in performance, and ride quality, that effectively leave Mercedes Benz C Class and BMW 3 in the rear view mirror.

For 2019, changes include blind spot monitoring, and an available surround view back-up camera.   

Looking through the cab we discover a well balance mix of soft and hard surfaces accented with chrome and stainless steel details. In true G.T. style, footrest, brake, and accelerator pedals, come dressed in slotted stainless steel. All dash vent ports sport a vintage spacecraft look.

We appreciate the fat-in-your hand piano black and brushed chrome leather grip smart wheel, featuring instant-on drive-by-wire paddle shifting — no shift delay noted.

Selecting “Sport” mode results in a race-engine exhaust note with performance to match. I damn near broke my face smiling, Kia Stinger is performance impressive, yet when dialed down a notch to cruising speed, as smooth as silk.

3.3 Liter direct and port injected twin turbocharged V6

The magic of Kia Stinger

Kia engineering does an exceptional job in tuning Stinger’s suspension for both road hugging control and smooth long-distance highway travel. While stiff enough to hold the line on a high-speed sweep, at highway speeds. Kia Stinger settles into a very comfortable travel cadence. The cabin grows quiet, with tire, road noise transfer reduced to a pleasant hum. Wind noise generated by mirrors is minimal, if at all noticeable, with rough transitional pavement jarring relatively non existent.

Turn up the volume on Kia’s Stinger GT-2’s Harman Kardon premium stereo and kick back in the heated and cooled Nappa leather covered drivers seat. This is as good as it gets. Claiming a zero to 60 MPH 5 second sprint speed is good. Experiencing 85 MPH on the highway is better.

I recommend Kia Stinger GT for the driving enthusiast that doesn’t have the option of purchasing an exclusive sport or track specific pavement burner. Stinger does all things very well. And may be perfect as your so all daily driver and family hauler.

MSRP: 5 trim levels to choose from, priced from $32,900 to $49,990 * Fully loaded. Add $2200 for optional all-wheel-drive

Fuel economy: 22 to 25 MPG combined * Depending on engine option

What I like: 3.3 L high output V6 twin turbo engine, 9 speed transmission, styling, interior quiet and comfort.

Photo Attributions Parks McCants 2019


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