It seems like just yesterday that I was handed the keys to our 2018 Kia Stinger, probably because I’ve been having way too much fun behind the wheel for the last few weeks. Thankfully, the Kia sport sedan has been everything I’d hoped for, delivering thrills on typically boring grocery store runs while turning heads virtually everywhere I drive. It’s something special for sure, and while it’s not completely perfect, the experience so far has been remarkable.
Let’s cut to the chase. The Stinger is fast — faster than you’d even expect given Kia’s stated 0-to-60 time of 4.7 seconds. It feels faster than an Infiniti Q60 Red Sport, yet much less visceral and more refined. The engine note isn’t raucous, but rather a composed, bass-filled "zoom" that belies the ridiculous acceleration that’s occurring. The entire experience feels more like an athletic German sport sedan than an Asian import/tuner’s dream.
It’s smooth, and nimble, and oh so much fun — but be warned, there’s a lot of power going to those rear wheels. Apply too much gas and the rear end will loosen up in an instant as the wheels spin freely. One second you’re turning sharply, applying throttle during the apex of a tight turn, the next you’re countersteering in a full drift. This can be either thoroughly exhilarating or utterly terrifying, depending entirely on what you’re doing at the time.
Usually any type of "Eco" driving mode is pretty terrible to drive in. Acceleration is reduced in lieu of conserving fuel, leaving you with a diminished drive experience in order to achieve higher mpgs. While the Kia’s Eco mode only returns modest fuel economy of around 24 mpg, the Stinger is still great fun to tool around in. In fact, I’ve been piloting the Stinger primarily in Eco mode because it limits gas consumption but doesn’t take away from my enjoyment behind the wheel — especially during commutes. There’s still more than enough power when I need it, but it feels much more restrained, as if the direct-injected twin-turbocharged V6 has been leashed, therefore taming the 365-hp beast that lies beneath the hood.
I’d be lying if I said the Stinger is naturally photogenic. It’s a unique and striking vehicle, but by no stretch of the imagination does it photograph well — that is, compared to how it looks in person. There are some angles, especially the rear, where the Stinger looks just mediocre in two dimensions. In real life, however, it’s a completely different story. The Stinger’s aggressive front end is a sight to behold, the type of car you see and wish you were driving. It’s objectively gorgeous, from the lines of the hood to the slope of the sportback, making not just a fashion statement but an exclamation. In fact, the Stinger is the only car I’ve driven that causes random people to take videos of it on their phones, something that never happened even when I was driving the gorgeous Lexus LC.
Time Keeps on Slippin’
With only a few more days left behind the wheel of the 2018 Kia Stinger, I’ll have to savor every second. Luckily, the keys will eventually make their way back, but that could be several months down the road. Until then, thankfully, I have some fond memories to hold on to. Find a Kia Stinger for sale
Check out our 2018 Kia Stinger New Car Review