2018 Kia Stinger GT: Monthly Update for June 2018
by Will Kaufman, Staff Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
In June, our long-term 2018 Kia Stinger GT went on a 2,400-mile road trip to scenic Idaho with me, Edmunds Staff Writer Will Kaufman, and my lovely and talented wife, Mrs. Staff Writer. That means this month's update is a special one-off, featuring 100 percent fewer contributions from other Edmunds editors. Yup, it's all Staff Writer Will Kaufman, all the time.
We drove from L.A. to Las Vegas, and thence to Boise, McCall, Ketchum, and Twin Falls (with a detour to Craters of the Moon National Monument) before heading home. Idaho is gorgeous and the burgers are delicious. Unfortunately, we also discovered we were delicious to the local mosquitoes. All in all, the trip was a rousing and relaxing success, and it's a road trip I'd encourage anyone to take. If you have an adventure van or junky Jeep Grand Wagoneer, you'll fit right in.
But how was the sporty Stinger GT as a road-trip companion? I'm glad you asked. I'm also glad you asked me, because no one else is going to get to talk this month.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Take the Stinger GT out of Sport mode, set the cruise control to within a reasonable margin of error of the posted speed limit, and this car will easily beat its stated highway mileage. Out of nine fill-ups, only one came in at less than 25 mpg. It doesn't hurt that, in spite of some inspiring roads, Idaho drivers tend toward the respectful end of the spectrum, which encouraged me to behave myself.
We set a new mileage record at 29.1 mpg and a new range record at 395.8 miles on a single tank (at 28 mpg). All these frugal miles bumped our lifetime average up quite a bit, from 17.8 mpg to 21 mpg — right in line with the car's EPA-estimated combined mileage.
It's worth noting that I filled our Stinger with 91 octane fuel each time even though it's not required. We'll have to try a road trip-length tank on 87 octane to see if it makes a difference.
Average lifetime mpg: 21
EPA mpg rating: 21 combined (19 city/25 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.1
Best range: 395.8 miles
Current odometer: 6,283 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"We know the Stinger is a lot of fun on a twisty road, but I rarely had a chance to cut loose in Idaho. Mostly I just cruised along. And you know what? I was fine with that. One of the great things about the Stinger is how different Sport mode feels from Comfort. Even better, in Comfort mode the Stinger calms down in a way that doesn't make it feel numb or flat. Its character in Comfort is just right for a road trip." — Will Kaufman, staff writer
"I really, really like the driver's seat and driving position. The driver's seat balances cushioning and support, comes with plenty of adjustability, and has both a four-way adjustable lumbar and headrest. The armrests are usable, the steering wheel has enough telescoping range, and you feel low and close to the ground. Once I had my settings dialed in, I was able to put in hours of seat time without major complaints. My wife was less happy in the passenger seat. I don't know why, but both the front passenger seat and the rear bench feel firmer than the driver's seat. It makes a big difference in terms of road-trip comfort. Maybe this is just because they've had less butt time and aren't broken in yet." — Will Kaufman
"My wife's least favorite thing about the Stinger has got to be the forward visibility. We were driving through some of the most picturesque country in the U.S. and she was giving herself neck and back strain leaning forward to get a better view. The top border of the front windshield is pretty low, and if you're paying attention to it, it's actually kind of claustrophobic. Visibility in general isn't great (rear visibility is particularly bad), but it's the short windshield that's most problematic when you've got a pretty view." — Will Kaufman
"Every once in a while, the Stinger would just outright drop the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay connection. Switching cables and phones didn't make a difference; the problem still occurred at random intervals. Pretty much every infotainment system has issues, and as far as the Stinger goes, this is the only bug I've come across. It's a pretty mild annoyance compared to some of what we've experienced in other cars, and generally this infotainment system is easy to live with." — Will Kaufman
"I'm not thrilled with our Stinger's stereo. It can handle lots of volume without any distortion, and the sound quality is good, but the bass is really overboosted. Compensating for super-loud bass means the treble is cranked up enough that certain songs are harsh until you go back in and dial it down. One of the best things about the Stinger's looks is that it's sleek and sporty without being shouty and gauche. But if you're listening to anything with a bassline, you're going to be driving around with the doors shaking. It makes the listening experience less pleasant and is an overtly unrefined trait in an otherwise pretty refined car." — Will Kaufman, again
"The front parking sensors beep at you even when you're in reverse. This isn't just useless, it's also kind of dangerous because you train yourself to ignore a warning when backing up. Luckily, the rear cross-traffic alert sound is different from the proximity warning sound." — Will Kaufman
"I love that Kia clearly labeled the front-seat USB ports and made them easily accessible. They live right above a handy cubby in the center console, and their location and accessibility made it easy to charge two phones and switch which one was being projected on the infotainment system. No digging around in the dark console box in this car." — yep, Will Kaufman
"The Stinger's claimed 23.3 cubic feet of trunk space is only achievable if you remove the cargo cover. Packing the car for a nearly two-week road trip required some creative arranging of bags and suitcases. The space between the floor of the trunk and the cargo cover isn't very deep; you'll find sedans with more vertical space in their trunks. The hatch does make loading and unloading easy (an important upside), but in practice this trunk isn't quite as useful as it sounds on paper. My wife was quick to point out we could fit two large roller suitcases side by side in the trunk of our 2012 Ford Focus." — Will Kaufman
"Don't put anything in the trunk of the Stinger on a sunny day that you don't want to bake. Light shines straight through the rear window and onto the black cargo cover, creating an ovenlike heat. There's also no airflow to the space under the cover. After a drive through the desert, our suitcases came out hot to the touch, which is less of an issue with a metal trunklid or an SUV with an open space in the back that shares air with the cabin." — you guessed it, Will Kaufman
"The Stinger has been giving me some issues when trying to shift into gear right after starting the car. Every once in a while, I'll select Drive with the shifter, which is basically an electronic toggle that lacks any mechanical linkage, and the car will just go into Neutral. The first few times this manifested, it was after I'd put the car in Reverse and backed out of a parking space and was trying to get into Drive. Sometimes it went into gear on my second try, sometimes it took five or six tries. It always eventually went into gear, but it's a bit unnerving to be sitting in a parking lot in Neutral, and has me worrying that one day it's just not going to go into gear at all." — yep, Will Kaufman
"Some cars just get attention. The Stinger not only got a lot of stares, more people wanted to talk to me about the Stinger than any car I've driven but the Lexus LC 500. Not bad for a Kia." — Still Will
"My job is to try to help other people figure out if a car is right for them. As such, there are a lot of vehicles that I would recommend, because they're objectively good at all the things someone else might want from a car, but that I wouldn't own myself. After about 2,500 miles over two weeks, I can say that even though I have my criticisms, the Stinger is a car I'd be happy to own." — faithfully yours, Will Kaufman