Class: Premium Midsize Car
Miles driven: 170
Fuel used: 7.8 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 21.8 mpg
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/32/25 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas
Base price: $36,090 (not including $1045 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Sun and Sound Package ($2300), cargo mat ($125), carpeted floor mats for RWD only ($155)
Price as tested: $39,715
The great: High level of features and “presence” for the money; nicely finished interior; cargo utility of hatchback body style
The good: Upscale sport-sedan styling inside and out; respectable power from base 4-cylinder engine
The not so good: Limited rear-seat room; fastback roofline compromises rearward visibility; disappointing observed fuel economy fell short of EPA estimates; handling prowess/finesse isn’t quite at the level of leading sport-sedan rivals
How about the Stinger?
No, thanks. I’m a Manhattan guy.
No, you idiot! The Kia! What’s new with that?
Oh! The Kia Stinger . . . yeah, it is a little early for cocktails, isn’t it?
What is new about the 2022 Stinger, Kia’s sporty, premium-midsize hatchback sedan, is a bigger and juicier turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for the entry-level GT-Line model. The most basic V6 GT has been dropped but a Scorpion Package with unique trim has been added for the top-line GT2. The remaining V6 models get a variable exhaust system that provides a slight horsepower boost. Plus, there’s mildly refreshed styling and a new 10.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system standard throughout the line.
Consumer Guide sampled a rear-wheel-drive GT-Line with the new 2.5-liter four that starts at $37,135 with delivery. (Figure another $2200 for AWD.) That’s a good $7600 behind a similarly driven V6 GT1—the next step up the ladder at the time of our test—but the GT-Line lacks the performance-oriented limited-slip differential, electronically controlled suspension, Brembo brakes, and launch control that come with the GT1 and GT2.
What does come with the GT-Line is black-chrome trim on the grille, bodyside vents, and caps for the heated exterior mirrors; LED headlights and taillights; and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside are leather seats (heated in front), leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless charging, keyless entry and starting, and satellite radio. The “Drive Wise” driver-assistance technology bundle brings blind-spot, rear cross-traffic, and forward collision-avoidance assists; safe-exit warning; GPS-linked adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality; lane-departure warning; and lane-keeping and lane-following assists. The Sun and Sound option package applied to CG’s $39,715 test car added a power-adjustable front passenger seat to match the standard power driver’s seat and it replaced the base 9-speaker audio unit with an excellent 15-speaker Harman Kardon premium system.
The new GT-Line engine comes with 0.5 liter more displacement and 45 additional ponies than the previous Stinger four, discharging its full complement of 300 horsepower at 6200 rpm. While not the sharp performer of the 368-horsepower V6, the four still has enough spice to be fun, it won’t taunt you with turbo lag, and the 8-speed automatic transmission helps out with timely downshifts for drama-free highway driving. The maximum 311 lb-ft of torque arrives at a low 1400 rpm (and sticks around up to 4000 revs), which helps the 4-cylinder Stinger to what Hyundai says is a 5.3-second 0-to-60-mph dash. “Eco” “Smart,” “Comfort,” “Sport,” and “Custom” drive modes allow for nuanced driving experiences, with Sport exhibiting a little crisper throttle response.
V6 or four, the Stinger consistently comes up a bit short in fuel economy in our testing, however. With the GT-Line, this reviewer averaged 21.9 mpg in an 85.9-mile test, which would have been fine if all his driving had been under city conditions. The car is EPA-rated at 22 mpg in city driving. But only 49 percent of his miles were in city-type driving, so observed economy was clearly short of the 25 mpg the feds say the 4-cylinder Stinger should get in mixed driving. The highway projection is 32 mpg.
Steering and handling are agile enough to support the Stinger’s bargain sport-sedan ambitions. Ride quality is firm but not harsh.
In general, the 2022 Stinger is as it was when Kia brought it out as a 2018 model, which means basic accommodations are unchanged. Headroom and legroom are generous enough for good comfort up front, though the seating position is somewhat low—some may not like the sensation of looking up at certain other vehicles in traffic. Part of the Stinger’s appeal is a low, racy profile but the sloping roofline reduces available rear-seat headroom, and legroom isn’t as ample as in front. Indeed, seating for adults is pretty well ruled out if the front seats need to be moved all the way back. Plus, the dramatically sloped rear window produces a slitlike view when seen through the mirror.
Even at the GT-Line’s entry level the cabin makes generous use of attractive soft-touch materials. Easily managed controls include audio-system volume and tuning knobs and physical buttons to enable other infotainment functions. The big new touchscreen is easy to reach and operate. It has typical current Kia graphics, such as a “retro” vacuum-tube display for intuitively programmed radio stations. The system includes navigation (maps show up well on the new display) and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility are standard.
Climate settings still make use of simple-to-use rotary dials to set temperature, though fan-speed and mode selections are subject to repetitive-push buttons. In lieu of the toggle-type shift-by-wire gear selector that was in GT2s we have tested in the past, the GT-Line has a conventional console-mounted shifter with individually selected drive ranges.
There’s nothing special about the cabin storage space for personal items. Both the glovebox and console box are small. Other features are bottle holders in the doors and pouches on the backs of the front seats. There are 12-volt power outlets and USB charge ports front and rear, as well as a USB input in front. A pair of exposed cup holders in the console is matched by twin receptacles in the pull-down center armrest in the back seat.
The hatchback design does open up a larger hold than is available in any sedan. The rear seat backs fold level with the cargo floor, something not all sedans can claim. (It helped this tester to transport a small snow blower turned on its side.) A pivoting cover provides some protection of cargo from prying eyes and there’s some hidden storage under the floor.
In the Stinger, Kia has come up with a delightful-to-drive, affordable alternative to some sport sedans with big reputations. It’s a little ironic, then, that its biggest competitive sales threat probably comes from the SUVs that are crowding out passenger cars.
2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)
2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line
2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line