It’s been a long time coming, but the 2018 Kia Stinger has finally been released by Kia Motors, and we couldn’t be happier. Since the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, when the Kia Stinger first debuted, it set up a whole new path for Kia Motors in terms of design and performance. It then had what one would call a “failure to launch” when in May, the Kia Stinger was supposed to go global. Now, it’s finally heading to dealerships and soon the streets, and we have a solid starting MSRP of $31,900.
Prior to the release of the Kia Stinger, Kia started introducing the model to the public with two large promotions. The first was the “The Curve Ahead,” an online promotion (similar to the “If You Know, You Know” campaign for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon) where inklings of the Kia Stinger specs were bled out over several weeks until the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Once it finally debuted at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, Kia Motors was set on designing cars that looked as good as they performed, and with new enticing designs coming up, that’s a tall order to fill.
The new designs come from Peter Schreyer, the current chief design officer at Kia Motors since 2006. In the spirit of new design, Kia Motors created their second promotional event, the Stinger Runway Racing Challenge during New York Fashion Week in September 2017. The racing challenge basically converted a chunk of New York City into a fully functioning race track to test and display the true power of the Kia Stinger, and the drivers behind the wheel were some of the biggest names in fashion, music, sports, and entertainment.
“[I love] the sound [of the Stinger]. It’s so sexy, and it’s like a heavy roar.” – Joan Smalls
Driving the Stinger around the track were fashion designer Brandon Maxwell, supermodels Candice Swanepoel and Joan Smalls, baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, writer and TV host Derek Blasberg, and social media personality Cameron Dallas. Candice Swanepoel smoked them all with the fastest time for completing the 1,000-foot race, having shown off the speed of the 2018 Kia Stinger.
“The car felt so good. I hit the gas and it went really fast immediately…I showed them the performance side [of the car].” – Candice Swanepoel
The most recent recording of its acceleration is 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
Around the same time that the price of the 2018 Kia Stinger was announced, it also got some spotlight from the Auto Guide. Possibly the biggest surprise for the automotive world this year, the Kia Stinger won the 2018 AutoGuide.com Reader’s Choice Car of the Year Award. Six different vehicle categories were voted for in this year’s 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards, and Kia Motors won this award not just because of its power, 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, but everything the vehicle has to offer across the lineup.
Trims and Performance
There are five trims that make up the 2018 Kia Stinger lineup – the 2.0L, Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2 trims. The names may change as we go later into the 2018 model year, possibly with the Premium being an early release trim like the Touring Launch Edition for the 2018 Kia Niro. For now, there are still just two engines powering the 2018 Kia Stinger lineup.
The first two trims, the 2.0L and Premium, are powered by a twin scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, capable of generating 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the standard fuel economy is 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. If consumers opt in for the available all-wheel drivetrain (AWD), the driver will be able to enjoy super driving in various road conditions without having to sacrifice its fuel economy – 21/29 mpg city/highway.
Under the hood of the GT trims is the twin turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine. This is the engine that accelerated from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds. Aside from power, both engines have been designed and integrated with systems to optimize them to their full potential. Both engines have:
– A double overhead camshaft to take the stress off of the engine’s cylinders during the intake of gas and air and the exhaust of fumes
– Continuously variable valve timing that can alter the timing of such events at any speed
– Gasoline direct injection; gets its fuel via highly pressurized gasoline injected directly into the combustion chamber
– Idle Stop and Go technology to conserve fuel when the engine idles
The engine design and systems aren’t the only thing shared across all of the 2018 Kia Stinger trims. Surprisingly enough, aside from aesthetic features, almost all features are standard, inside and out. Standard for the entire lineup are functional side vents, heated exterior mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, smart key entry, solar control glass, sound-absorbing front door windows, and automatic on/off headlights. The only differences are some GT-exclusive style, a smart power trunk found on the GT2, dual lens full LED headlights on all trims but the base (2.0L), and whether the trim has 18-inch alloy wheels or 19-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, even more features are shared across the trims. Leather upholstery is the standard! No extra fees for that kind of luxurious comfort. All trims also come with heated front seats, a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift handle, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone automatic temperature control with smart ventilation, and an engine immobilizer. A heads-up display is neat, only found on the GT2, but not really a deal breaker. Ventilated front seats are also only found on the GT2, and a heated steering wheel is an available option across the lineup.
When it comes to technology, no trim is without UVO eServices. The main difference is whether it comes with a 7-inch touchscreen display or an 8-inch touchscreen display with voice-command navigation. All infotainment systems come with Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities, Bluetooth wireless technology with voice command, and steering wheel-mounted controls for audio, phone, and cruise control. A six-speaker system is the standard for the base, the Premium automatically gets the Harman/Kardon Premium surround sound 15-speaker system (found on the GT1 and GT2), and a 9-speaker system is found on the GT trim.
For safety, a rear-camera display with dynamic guidelines and a front & rear parking system come standard. Several automatic advanced safety features are available via the Kia Drive Wise Package. This package adds on the following advanced safety features – Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA), Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), High Beam Assist (HBA), Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), and Rain Sensing Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers.