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2018 Kia Stinger Long-Term Ownership: Fourth of July Road Trip

The Fourth of July is a great time for a road trip, with out-of-town barbecues, beaches and firework displays beckoning Americans to celebrate our independence from Great Britain. This year, my girlfriend and I opted to venture to Charleston, South Carolina in the 2018 Kia Stinger to commemorate our nation’s birthday. The trip — a mere 5-hour jaunt from our home base in the Atlanta metro area — provided a great opportunity to test some of the Stinger’s more practical features, as well as take in some sights in one of the most beautiful American cities I’ve had the chance to visit.

Easy Rider

Long trips behind the wheel can be tough for drivers, especially after hours of piloting a vehicle on roads with very little change in scenery. The monotony can cause carelessness and distraction, and can often lead to unfortunate mishaps. Semi-autonomous features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist are great to have, because they take a little bit of the burden of driving off the driver, helping maintain your lane and the distance from the car in front of you. This translates into a far more enjoyable, less exhausting experience. Luckily, our Stinger came equipped with both of these features and made the ride to Charleston a breeze — something we would soon come to appreciate.

Hot Dang

Atlanta has earned a reputation for being hot and humid, so I expected simply more of the same from Charleston. The heat and humidity we experienced, however, were on a different level completely. The mugginess in the air made it feel thick, almost viscous, and practically inescapable. It was as if a hot towel had been placed over the entire city, making even breathing feel like a chore. With the angry July sun virtually cooking all of Charleston, the Stinger seemed to be one place where we could beat the heat. The ventilated seats came in handy on more than one occasion, making sitting on a slightly baked leather seat with sunburnt legs at least bearable. The air conditioning worked phenomenally well, too, keeping us nice and cool despite the Hades-like conditions outside.

Loving is Easy

I’ve long been a fan of XM radio on road trips for several reasons. First, it makes finding a station that you actually enjoy incredibly easy, given the fact that XM radio stations don’t change every hundred or so miles due to lack of signal range. This means you can travel the entire trip listening to one station continuously. Another great little bit of functionality that XM provides is the ability to rewind the station you’re listening to, just in case you want an encore performance of a song that played previously. This came in handy during our adventure in Charleston. While we were listening to Alt Nation on our way to the Isle of Palms beach in the Kia, a super-catchy song came on the radio just as we were grabbing some frosty beverages at a drive-thru. A few miles down the road, we found ourselves humming the refrain and wondering what the name of the song we had just listened to was. Using the rewind functionality, we went backwards through the tracks and found our new jam — “Loving is Easy,” by Rex Orange County featuring Benny Sings — a happy little ditty reminiscent of a Lionel Richie song from the ’80s, and wholly appropriate for a summer outing with your sweetheart.

Respectable Range and MPG

I’ve previously mentioned how much we appreciate the power of the 2018 Kia Stinger, and the fact that driving in Eco mode is actually tolerable compared to competitors. That being said, the vast majority of the trip was made while in Eco mode to save as much fuel as possible. We were able to make each leg of the journey to and from Charleston on one tank of gas, which is fairly respectable given the 300+ miles between both cities.

The Stinger also returned decent gas mileage, averaging 25.3 miles per gallon for the trip overall, and 26.3 mpg on the way home alone. Take into account highway speeds of around 70 mph and air conditioning cranked up to 11, and the Stinger’s fuel economy begins to seem even more impressive.


The city of Charleston is absolutely breathtaking, and navigating the beautiful historical downtown properly requires not only skill, but style. The eye-catching Kia sedan turned heads nearly everywhere we drove, even in parts of town that seemed exclusively reserved for German luxury vehicles. That says a lot, considering most of those cars’ ticket prices can be up to double that of the Stinger.

We wrapped up our trip after watching several fireworks displays from our fantastic vantage point at Waterfront Park. Being raised in New York City, I’ve seen my share of great fireworks displays, and honestly, Charleston likely has the Big Apple beat when it comes to Fourth of July celebrations (in my opinion). So next year, if you’re looking for place to visit for Independence Day, consider Charleston. And if you’re driving there, consider taking a Kia Stinger. You definitely won’t regret it. Find a Kia Stinger for sale

Check out our 2018 Kia Stinger New Car Review

Rob Nestora
I’ve been working as an editor and content producer on the team for about six years. I love cars and technology, so working on a website with an automotive focus is a perfect fit.

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