Long-Term Review

2018 Kia Stinger Ownership: Kia Is Serious About Handling

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Brian M May 2018

For some, it might be easy to dismiss the 2018 Kia Stinger as not a "real" performance car. However, even on the surface, Kia got a lot right. For one, it's a rear-wheel-drive car. Rear-wheel drive is exactly what it sounds like -- the car is propelled by power sent to the back wheels instead of the front. Most cars today -- even Kias -- are front-wheel-drive.

Packaging

But rear-wheel drive is preferred by driving enthusiasts, as it delivers a purer driving experience and generally equals better handling, because the car is balanced and the work of steering and pushing the car forward is split between the front and rear wheels. Most cars from brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are rear-wheel-drive. Most police cars are rear-wheel-drive. Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini vehicles are rear-wheel-drive. See where this is going?

While there are some compelling and quick front- or all-wheel-drive performance cars (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, Subaru WRX, Ford Focus ST, VW GTI, Renault Megane RS), it's really rear-wheel drive that most (though not all) performance enthusiasts look for.

Second, the 2018 Kia Stinger has an available 365 hp twin-turbo V6. That certainly helps with performance credibility. But I found something even more telling with the Kia Stinger. Having not been to a formal presentation for the Stinger, I was surprised to find what was lurking in the cargo area.

Hatch Power

Recently, a friend needed to jump-start her car after having left the lights on overnight. (Yes, it's an older car.) When I went to jump the car, I could not find the battery under the hood. That's because it's actually in the cargo area, under the spare tire. It's easy enough to get to, but the factory worker or machine used to tighten the nut that holds the spare tire in place was more aggressive than my thumb and index finger could handle. I had to use a towel to help get it loose.

Either way, the point is Kia is so serious about the Stinger's balance and handling, they took the unusual step of putting the battery in the rear of the car, placing it at the lowest point in the cargo area. This clearly adds to the Stinger's cost of construction and had to have impacted the price. Still, it's a good sign that Kia thought balanced handling was more important than having the absolute lowest price.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Kia Stinger Ownership: Kia Is Serious About Handling - Autotrader