2018 Kia Stinger Review

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty and graceful appearance stands out
  • Entertaining levels of performance
  • Refined interior with hatchback utility
  • Generous warranty coverage
  • Limited space for rear-seat passengers
  • Ride quality can get a little jittery at times
Other years
2018
Kia Stinger for Sale
2018
List Price Range
$19,995 - $34,495

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Which Stinger does Edmunds recommend?

The 2018 Kia Stinger is at its best when it has the performance to back up its sporty appearance. As such, we recommend the more potent GT with its V6 engine. Stick with the classic rear-wheel-drive powertrain unless you live in a region with frequent bad weather. The standard Stinger GT has enough additional features to skip the GT1 and GT2 upgrades. We like that all of the advanced safety features are available throughout the lineup.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

8.2 / 10

As stylish as the latest Kias have become, they typically haven't had the performance and handling to match. That all changes with the all-new Kia Stinger.

The Stinger represents a significant step forward for the South Korean manufacturer. Its aggressive yet graceful design stands out among the relatively anonymous sedans with similar pricing. Even better, the Stinger performs on a level that is well above our expectations for its modest price. It's about the same size as Kia's Optima sedan but is lower, sleeker and more powerful. In the top-spec GT trim, the Stinger boasts 365 horsepower, available all-wheel drive, and a refined and comfortable interior.

Whether it's by numbers or appearance, Kia's Stinger impressively challenges similar luxury-branded vehicles. Yet there are still going to be some traditional Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz shoppers who won't bother with the Stinger because it lacks enough prestige. That's their loss. The Stinger isn't just good for a Kia — it's good compared to anything at or well above its price.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Kia Stinger as one of Edmunds' Best AWD Sedans, and the 2018 Kia Stinger GT as one of the Best Sport Sedans for 2018.

What's it like to live with?

Want to know even more about the Kia Stinger? Check out our editorial experts' long-term test of a Kia Stinger GT2. How was the interior and visibility from inside this fastback sedan? Was the cargo room big enough for road trips? How was our Stinger GT test car's reliability? Learn this and more from our yearlong, 20,000-mile test.

2018 Kia Stinger models

The 2018 Kia Stinger is a four-door sedan with a fastback-like hatch that is available in five trim levels. The base rear-wheel-drive Stinger is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (255 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque) and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on all models as an option.

Standard features for the base Stinger include 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, heated and power-folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, selectable drive modes, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, 60/40-split folding rear seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen, three USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay-Android Auto, and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio. All-wheel-drive models also include a heated steering wheel.

The Premium trim adds LED headlights, a sunroof, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a larger driver information display, a universal garage door opener, driver memory functions, an 8-inch touchscreen and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

The Kia Stinger GT employs a turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 (365 hp, 376 lb-ft). Feature content is similar to the base Stinger but upgrades to 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, adaptive suspension dampers, a launch control system, variable steering ratios, a few exterior embellishments, aluminum pedals and scuff plates, a flat-bottom steering wheel and a nine-speaker audio system.

The GT1 trim adds the Premium features along with auto-dimming exterior mirrors and additional performance meters. At the top of the lineup is the GT2 trim that finishes it off with a limited-slip differential, a hands-free trunklid, a head-up display, premium leather upholstery, and upgraded front seats with ventilation. Automatic wipers are also available as an option for all Stingers.

The GT2 also comes with these advanced safety features that are optional on supporting trims: adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, a driver attention monitor, automatic high-beams, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 Sedan (turbo 3.3L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Driving

8.5
The Stinger GT has performance chops to back up its striking looks. Acceleration is strong at any speed, and the engine is well-behaved when you aren't hammering the pedal. Handling and steering are great at this price point. Paddle shifters won't keep the transmission in manual mode indefinitely.

Acceleration

8.5
The Stinger GT doesn't launch very hard from a full stop, but nail the accelerator at speed and you'll be impressed by the thrust from the twin-turbo V6. Even with a car full of people, it's quick. We posted a 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds, slightly slower than performance-minded luxury sport sedans.

Braking

8.5
The brakes activate high in the pedal stroke, but braking force is gradual and isn't grabby, which makes them easy to modulate in traffic. In performance driving, you'll have to hit the pedal harder than you think to slow the Stinger quickly, but the sticky summer tires perform exceptionally well.

Steering

8.5
The steering effort is moderate, in contrast with the too-light feeling in other Kias, and does not increase appreciably in the Sport mode. The Stinger responds the moment you start moving the wheel, but it never feels darty, which is welcome and appropriate for a sporty sedan.

Handling

8.0
This big hatch exhibits some body roll, even when the dampers are in their Sport setting. Still, the Stinger GT handles well and is pretty fun to hustle around corners, especially when you reduce the amount of stability control intervention.

Drivability

8.0
The engine exhibits predictable acceleration in the standard Comfort driving mode. Eco mode dulls acceleration with light to moderate pedal application, while Sport makes the Stinger feel a bit more energetic. Sport also introduces harsher shifts to the otherwise smooth-shifting transmission.

Comfort

8.0
The sport seats keep you in place and have many adjustments but aren't comfortable for everyone. The ride is amicable, even in Sport mode, and exterior noise is filtered out. Heated front seats are standard (as is a heated steering wheel on AWD models), but heated rear seats aren't available at all.

Seat comfort

7.0
The front seats are supportive and offer multiple adjustments, including the side bolsters, but the padding might feel overly firm for some. The seat bottom is also on the narrow side, which will have most pressing against the thigh bolsters. Rear seats are also stiff and the bench is pretty flat.

Ride comfort

8.5
The Stinger's ride is indeed pleasant in the standard Comfort driving mode, thanks to adaptive dampers (standard on all GT models) that smooth out road imperfections. Road undulations are the car's only weak point, causing some floatiness. The ride is firmer, but still livable, in Sport mode.

Noise & vibration

8.5
The thrum of the engine is always present, but you won't notice it much during light-throttle conditions. Dig into the pedal or put it into Sport mode and augmented engine noise filters into the cabin. It sounds good but not addictive. Road noise is mostly quiet; wind noise is nearly nonexistent.

Climate control

8.0
Dual-zone climate control is in the front, with a separate temp dial for the rear vents. Normally, the climate system keeps the cabin appropriately warm/cool, though the engine stop-start system significantly reduces fan speed when the engine is off, which could make the cabin momentarily unpleasant.

Interior

7.0
The Stinger isn't a small car, but it feels tight inside. Rear passengers have the toughest time, with a low roof and limited toe room. Rear visibility is not as good as in other midsize sedans. The driver has it the best, with an excellent seating position and ergonomic control layout.

Ease of use

8.0
The driver's armrests are just the right height so you can rest your elbows while holding the wheel at 3 and 9 o'clock. Buttons are clearly labeled and easy to understand. The touchscreen is a bit of a reach, almost as if Kia planned to use a dial controller and changed its mind at the last minute.

Getting in/getting out

7.0
The deep-set pedal and wide door sill can make for an awkward exit for tall drivers or those with limited flexibility. The rear sloping roofline means most passengers will have to duck to get into the back. The doors are light and easy to open.

Driving position

9.5
The seats in the GT2 trim are more configurable than those in other trims, with adjustable side bolsters and thigh extension. A wide range of vertical and horizontal range ensures that drivers of all sizes can find an agreeable position. The steering wheel has lots of tilt-and-telescoping range.

Roominess

7.0
There's a good sense of space up front, with plenty of legroom and a wide center armrest. Tall drivers might brush against the headliner, especially since a sunroof comes standard on all but the base Stinger. There's less headroom in the back due to the sloping roofline. Rear legroom is just OK.

Visibility

6.5
The narrow front pillars promote decent forward visibility, but the high hood and low-slung seating position can make it difficult to place the front of the car. The upward sloping beltline toward the rear and the large rear pillar compromise the three-quarter view.

Quality

8.5
Some buttons are shared with other vehicles in Kia's lineup, but some of this trim is unique. There are faux leather coverings on the doors, and the aluminum-looking trim on the doors and dash looks good. The armrest pads are a little hard, but it's difficult not to be impressed by this Kia.

Utility

8.5
There's more space in the Stinger's cargo area than any like-minded sedans, though it's smaller in size than the Buick Regal Sportback and the BMW 3 Series GT. The rear seats don't quite drop flat, but the high pivot point means you won't have to move the front seats forward to fold them.

Small-item storage

8.5
There are two decent-size cupholders in front, along with a small tray below the center stack and a shallow, wide bin under the armrest. The door pockets are smaller in back, but the armrest's cupholders are just as accommodating as those in the front. You also get nets behind each front seat.

Cargo space

8.5
As a hatchback, the Stinger offers greater cargo flexibility than a comparable sedan. The cargo area is wide and rectangular, with small pockets behind the rear wheels. The GT2 also comes with a hands-free hatch; simply stand behind the bumper for a few seconds. The rear seats don't quite fold flat.

Child safety seat accommodation

7.5
Four LATCH anchors are hidden behind covers that fold as you press down on them. The anchors themselves are inset pretty far from the front of the covers. The tethers are located about halfway down the seatback. You'll have to move the cargo cover to reach the tether points.

Technology

8.5
The Stinger is brimming with tech, starting with a sharp touchscreen and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A suite of the latest driving aids is available, and it doesn't cost too much on trims where it isn't standard. Destination input strangely doesn't use predictive text.

Audio & navigation

8.5
Most models come with a 15-speaker Harman Kardon audio system that, for the most part, sounds darn good. No trim, window or speaker rattles when turning the bass and volume all the way up. Good volume output with radio and most connected media, though Spotify was surprisingly restrained.

Smartphone integration

8.0
There are two USB ports below the center stack: one for data and one charge-only. There's another charge-only port behind the console for rear passengers. The system should be able to play audio files from a USB drive, but it didn't work on our tester. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

Driver aids

8.5
A rearview camera and front/rear parking sensors are standard. All additional driving aids (blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, etc.) are included in the comprehensive and reasonably priced Kia Drive Wise package. It can be ordered on any trim except the GT2, where it's standard.

Voice control

7.5
Although the system prompts you to use a set menu of voice commands, it also has limited natural speech detection. It can navigate to general locations (the nearest coffee shop or Starbucks, for example) but doesn't understand specific POIs (e.g., Disneyland).

EdmundsScorecard

Overall8.2 / 10
Driving8.5
Comfort8.0
Interior7.0
Utility8.5
Technology8.5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Kia Stinger.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great Sport sedan and GT car. KIA Quattroporte.
Ramesh,01/29/2018
GT2 4dr Sedan AWD (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
Before anybody buys this car, they should know that, this is not a sports car, this is a sports sedan. This is not a luxury / premium car, this is a sports sedan. This is not a status defining car, this is just a sports sedan. And, Stinger does this job impeccably. When you shop for 50K car, you sure would have researched or test driven, audi, BMW, Merc or lexus. But you have to decide can you pass the above luxury brand dealers, and go to Kia dealer to buy this car. I did, and glad I did it. It has gorgeous looks.. Believe me, every day (yes, every day), people, either on traffic signals or in gas station or in parking lot, have asked me about this car and complemented a lot. It has Maserati look. Drive is amazing. For me, after test driving, S5, BMW 440Xi and C43 AMG, there was something in this car, I fell in love with. It is for sure, at least (if not more) 15K less than similarly equipped above brands. They have great materials in and out overall, even though there is some lack of achieving the level of above premium brands. I cannot write how much I like about this car, as it may take a lot of space. I can write little about what I don't like in it (very few, if any). I don't like the KIA label (I have always owned BMWs), fuel economy (but for this level of performance, it is acceptable) and major one being, the interior noise which can be refined a bit (I think this is common to all sports sedans like S5, AMGC43 and BMW 440Xi with M sport).
Thrilled with this car!
nystrokedoc,06/08/2018
GT1 4dr Sedan AWD (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
I will focus on the only negatives I can find --- the dealer experience is sub par. They "lost" the 2nd key fob. A replacement is "being sent from Korea" but this was just unacceptable. Also, the check out process was a hours long wait. Emails to my salesperson (which were answered asap before I bought the car) seemed to take lower priority after I drove out of the lot. It is too bad that Kia made a car comparable to luxury vehicles (even the Porsche Panamera), but cannot deliver the dealer experience. I own an Optima (which has been an excellent car), but dread the idea of going to the dealer for maintenance, because they are just too rough around the edges. That said, the Stinger itself lives up to the hype and more. It is has amazing acceleration, handling, breaking and comfort. I get lots of admirers, with thumbs up signs from random passers by..... A couple of minor things.....Kia might consider a redesign of the Video screen which sticks up a bit awkwardly in the upper middle console. It still need to work on changing the display to emphasize the clock and radio station functions and not the GPS, but these are minor quibbles. I am also VERY happy with the Driver Assist package (which was loaded on the model I bought off the lot) and would have been something I might have skipped to save $. The blind spot detection and lane departure warnings can be customized to provide just enough sensitivity to assure protection, without annoying constant beeping for minor normal safe driving lane departures/changes. Also, I have been driving on Econ mode while sitting in traffic, and I'm fairly certain that it has enhanced my gas mileage.
GT-R done
DJ,01/13/2018
GT2 4dr Sedan AWD (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
The overall design of this car is thoughtful, yet stunning and atheletic at the same time. The vevicle performs well on all road surfaces. ( I will say that the GT2 has 19" tires that roughen the ride, but find acceptable in lieu of performance) The car handles well and provides amazing accelleration even if cruising speed has been acheived, steering is responsive and the car hold the roads well. The exterior lines are awesome with few flaws. (One noticeable is the wind dams that cool the breaks accumulate sand and small rocks due to winter snow maintenace. The interior is comfortable as the front seats provided 18 adjustments. The side bolsters hug your sides. The heated seats and steering wheel work well. The cabon layout is good and controls are placed logically , with the exception of the 8" touch screen (slightly out of arms reach) and the volume control is placed low and without looking I find myself operating the passenger vent. The interior materials seem of good quality with some hard plastics. (Which should be expected at this price point. I personally feel that KIA is going in the right direction, but probably should have created an up line badging due to badge bius of shoppers. Or perhaps the manufacturer is looking to take an I told you so approach, in order to dispel past negativity of their brand overall. This is my second KIA and hope that the reliability measures up to my first one which was 80k miles with no issues at all. Unfortunately the seats are wearing out after 1 year
Impressive first sports sedan for Kia
Rob Weaver,08/30/2018
GT2 4dr Sedan AWD (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
Ever since this car was revealed, my interest was piqued. I previously had a WRX, and wanted a car that had a better interior, features, and more space, without sacrificing much performance and the fun to drive factor. The Stringer GT2 looks like it fit the bill. Pros - The best feature of this car is what you get for your money. The MSRP is $10-15k less than comparable Audi's and BMWs and currently the dealers seem to be giving pretty decent discounts (I got $8500 off the MSRP). The engine makes this 4000 lbs car a true rocket. It is fast off the line, but the most surprising power is when you are moving at 30-40 MPH and you put your foot down. You quickly will be rocketing toward "arrest me" speeds. The gearbox is responsive and shifts quickly. The suite of driving features leaves little want for more, especially at this price point. The interior is nicely put together with actual button controls, which is a large plus for me. The seats are very adjustable, comfortable, and low (once again, that is a plus for me). I mostly use Android Auto, and that integration is done well. The sound system is very good for a stock system. For the exterior, I find the car to be one of the most handsome on the road. It is long, low, and wide, with an aggressive appearance without being, for a lack of a better term, "Type R"ish. The lines flow to a wonderful hatch shape. The 5 year standard/10 year powertrain warranty reassures me a lot since this is a new design. Cons - Gas mileage is pretty disappointing, but somewhat expected for the weight and power of the engine. I average about 18 MPG mostly commuting to work in the inner suburbs while trying not to drive too much like a goon. No manual transmission is available for those of us who enjoy rowing our own gears. The adjustable suspension can get a little floaty around corners, even in sport mode. I wish they built in a sport+ mode that firmed up the sport mode a little more. The leather seats are prone to getting depressions if you rest something heavy on them (like seat belt imprints if you fold down the rear seats). The exterior has a few silly non-functional fake vents. I worry a bit about the resale value of the car, but I plan on keeping it for awhile to take advantage of the warranty. Conclusion - Kia built themselves a really good value GT car that has most of the features and driving experience of the more expensive luxury brands at a much lower price point. You could get roughly the same features or a more powerful engine at the same price of the Stinger from an Audi 5 series Sportback or a BMW 4 series Granturismo, but you would spend a lot more if you wanted both. If you are not a badge snob, this car should be on your short list if you wanted a powerful GT car with a lot of space and good features.

Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
365 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
22 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
255 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
22 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
255 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
365 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2018 Kia Stinger features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Stinger models:

Forward Collision Avoidance Assistance
Warns if a front impact is imminent and will apply the brakes if you don't react in time.
Lane Keep Assist
Warns if you are drifting out of your lane and gently nudges you back.
Blind-Spot Collision Warning System
Illuminates a warning light if a car is in your blind spot, and beeps if you activate your turn signal in that direction.

More about the 2018 Kia Stinger

Used 2018 Kia Stinger Overview

The Used 2018 Kia Stinger is offered in the following submodels: Stinger Sedan. Available styles include GT2 4dr Sedan AWD (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A), Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), GT1 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A), Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), GT2 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A), GT 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A), GT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A), 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), and GT1 4dr Sedan AWD (3.3L 6cyl Turbo 8A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Kia Stinger?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Kia Stinger trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Kia Stinger GT1 is priced between $21,995 and$27,997 with odometer readings between 20167 and20295 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 is priced between $31,999 and$34,495 with odometer readings between 9285 and31276 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Kia Stinger Premium is priced between $24,995 and$25,883 with odometer readings between 19744 and35280 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Kia Stinger Base is priced between $19,995 and$19,995 with odometer readings between 23411 and23411 miles.

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Which used 2018 Kia Stingers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Kia Stinger for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2018 Stingers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $19,995 and mileage as low as 9285 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Kia Stinger.

Can't find a used 2018 Kia Stingers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Stinger for sale - 4 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $16,751.

Find a used Kia for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $20,437.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Stinger for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $23,785.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $9,671.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Kia Stinger?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Kia lease specials
Check out Kia Stinger lease specials