In a world rapidly filling with crossovers and big SUVs, it’s nice to know a car like the 2020 Kia Stinger still exists. One might say something similar about the BMW 4 Series or the Audi A5 Sportback, but a Kia? In this case, absolutely. In the Stinger, Kia has created a performance sedan with adept handling, a potent twin-turbocharged engine and all the luxury you might expect from a car in this class — but with a price tag that lays waste to just about every competitor, foreign and domestic.
The Stinger is a stunning looker of a car, but it’s also a pretty practical and sensible car. Its larger exterior dimensions allow for generous back-seat space, and its hatchback trunk is more versatile than a traditional sedan’s. It’s also a Kia, so it comes with a superb warranty. Now, you may raise an eyebrow at a Kia that can cross the $50,000 barrier, but a comparable Audi or BMW would be at least $10,000 more. Plus, you don’t need to pay anywhere near $50,000, as even the base Stinger is plenty of fun, and it still comes with more equipment and power than more humble luxury car competitors.
What’s New for 2020?
The Premium trim has been dropped and the base trim is now called the GT-Line.
What We Like
Precise and engaging to drive
GT engine outdoes pricier competitors
Generous standard features for the money
Ample passenger and cargo space
What We Don’t
Steering can be nervous on certain highway surfaces
No manual transmission available
The base Kia Stinger is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. On every Stinger, an 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional as well. Fuel economy is 22 miles per gallon in city driving, 29 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving. AWD effectively lowers the city fuel economy by one mpg, but the highway mileage remains the same.
The Kia Stinger GT has a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 good for 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. of torque. Its fuel economy is 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined for both RWD and AWD configurations. During a 1,400-mile road trip in a GT AWD, we achieved 26 mpg.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Kia Stinger is available in four trim levels: the 4-cylinder-powered GT-Line and the V6-powered GT, GT1 and GT2. All can be optioned with AWD for an extra $2,200. All pricing listed below includes a $995 destination charge.
The base Stinger GT-Line ($33,895) is very well equipped. It comes standard with 18-in wheels, black chrome exterior trim, metal sport pedals, a temporary spare tire, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, LED running lights, heated power-folding mirrors, proximity entry and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless charging, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, heated 8-way power front seats (with 4-way driver lumbar), leather upholstery, a heated leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-in touchscreen, three USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, UVO eServices emergency communications, a 6-speaker sound system with satellite and HD Radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a media player interface.
There’s a GT-Line Sun & Sound package ($2,900) available that adds an 8-in color display with navigation, a sunroof, Harman/Kardon premium audio, and an 8-way passenger seat.
The Stinger GT ($39,500) effectively reverts to the base equipment level but adds the more powerful engine, 19-in wheels, launch control, electronic limited-slip rear differential, variable ratio steering, a different exterior trim and an aluminum interior trim. Exceptions would include standard bi-LED headlights and a 9-speaker sound system.
The Stinger GT1 ($45,400) adds bi-LED headlights, a sunroof, a power-adjustable steering wheel, an electronic parking brake, Advanced Driver Assist System (forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency automatic braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning, a driver-inattention warning system, automatic high beams and automatic wipers), ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, driver memory functions, a 7-in color instrument cluster screen, an 8-in touchscreen interface, integrated navigation and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. It also adds an adaptive suspension and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.
The Stinger GT2 ($50,300) includes the heated outboard rear seats, a Surround View monitor plus a limited-slip differential, an electronic shifter, a power hatchback, a 12-way power driver seat with adjustable side bolsters and thigh extension, 4-way passenger lumbar, ventilated front seats, premium Nappa leather and a head-up display.
Every Stinger comes standard with front-side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, a driver’s-side knee airbag, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot and rear cross-traffic warning, a rearview camera and UVO eServices emergency communications (automatic collision notification, an emergency call button, stolen vehicle location). The Advance Driver Assistance System package adds forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency automatic braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning and a driver-inattention warning system.
The Stinger had not been crash-tested by a third party at the time of writing.
Behind the Wheel
Even the 4-cylinder Stinger should be plenty of fun, but the GT represents the Stinger at its absolute best. Its adaptive suspension, variable ratio steering (it’s ultra-quick), bigger wheels and limited-slip differential (GT2) combine with a gutsy 365-hp engine to create a car that’s highly proficient and precise, yet rewarding for the driver with plenty of feedback. Even the available AWD system has been tuned to be rear-biased, allowing the Stinger to maintain the feel of a rear-drive car, while still providing all-weather reassurance. That adaptive suspension also provides a surprisingly comfortable ride — anyone used to German sport sedans should feel right at home.
The interior is a handsome, well-made space that cossets you with ample equipment and a surprising amount of noise isolation. Are the materials as premium as what you’d find in an Audi or a Mercedes? No, but there’s still a massive price difference here, and honestly, there’s not much of a drop off (if any) from luxury brands like Acura or Infiniti. We also like the easy-to-use touchscreen interface and its wealth of features, though we wish it was easier to reach.
Space up front is excellent, with a lower, hunkered driving position that’s more like a Mustang or a Camaro than a sport sedan. That definitely adds to the cool factor. Adding to the practicality factor is a back seat more akin to an Audi A7 than an A5 Sportback. The hatchback’s trunk is comparable with both, as it boasts 23.3 cu ft. with the back seat raised — a typical sedan has between 13 and 16 — and 40.9 cu ft. with it lowered — a typical wagon has between 50 and 60.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Buick Regal Sportback — Comparable in price and trunk design, the Regal Sportback lines up well with the base Stinger in most respects, but even the Regal GS can’t match the GT’s power. This is another good choice for those seeking a more budget-friendly alternative to European luxury models.
2020 Audi A5 and A5 Sportback — As for European luxury models, the A5 and A5 Sportback are effectively the targets the Stinger is intended to hit. They line up well in terms of body style and performance. Read our Stinger review to know more about how it stacks up against these Audis.
2020 Dodge Charger — Perhaps something like an Acura TLX or an Infiniti Q50 would be a more logical "competitor," but with its rear-wheel drive, high-powered engines, flashy styling and budget pricing, the Charger sure seems like more of a spiritual equal to the Stinger.
Used Audi A7 — With its sleek proportions, comparable size and hatchback trunk, the A7 is arguably the car that inspired the Stinger. It’s far more expensive, however, so you might consider a used or certified pre-owned one.
If you’re just looking for a cool, fun-to-drive car with lots of space and equipment, you really don’t need anything more than the Stinger GT-Line. The GT1 is probably the smartest bet among the V6-powered models. Sure, if you’ve got the cash for the GT2, go for it, but the GT1’s adaptive suspension and ample extra niceties make it a good compromise. Find a Kia Stinger for sale