Sporty, niche sedan that has helped redefine Kia
Roseville, Calif.- A stranger approached me in a golf course parking lot this summer, saying he had never heard of the attractive sedan I was driving.
From our perspective, it was a welcome-to-the-club moment. Judging by sales since its 2018 debut, apparently many people don’t recognize the Kia Stinger. Sales were a tepid 16,806 for 2018 and didn’t reach 14,000 the past three years.
Not surprisingly, reports surfaced as early as last year that Kia would be discontinuing the Stinger in December 2022. Yet the South Korean automaker has already introduced a 2023 model, quelling those rumors for now. Judging by the changes (i.e., Investments) made to the 2022 Kia Stinger, it’s hard to believe the company is giving up just yet.
The Stinger is a sporty sedan that has helped redefine Kia. It’s a niche sedan for people who want something that’s sportier and more fun to drive, yet don’t have the budget to buy a luxury sedan.
The Kia is an attractive five-seat, midsize liftback sedan that has coupe-like styling. In our opinion, it’s more fun to drive than any vehicle that conservative Kia manufactures and provides an option for folks who don’t want to purchase a typical midsize sedan.
However, we understand the company’s dilemma. If people aren’t buying, it becomes hard to justify continued production. And it comes at a time when Kia is starting to make a push toward electric vehicles. It has a good one in the new Kia EV6 that shares the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV. Note that Kia is part of the Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai is the parent company).
Bold & Aggressive Design
The 2022 Kia Stinger arrived with a new exterior, making subtle styling changes to the taillights and headlights. The Stinger was already a looker, featuring a bold and aggressive design, highlighted by its sloping roofline and long hood that make it appear fast.
And yes, it can do some serious accelerating, aided by an upgrade this year in its standard and optional engines. It doesn’t just look like a vehicle with tons of get-up-and-go; it is one. That’s a great asset for a midsize sedan that starts at around $36,000.
The standard engine is a new rear-wheel drive, turbocharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. It added 50 horsepower more than the 2021 model and now goes 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The downside is fuel economy is not so great at 22-32 mpg.
The optional engine is a twin turbo 3.3-liter, V6 that generates 368 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. It has an exhaust that roars a bit and goes a second faster than the standard model – 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Gas mileage is even worse than the base model at 21.29 mpg. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
We found the Stinger could navigate well around corners, grips the road well, and is surprisingly quiet with virtually no wind noise. The steering is light and offers good feedback.
Every Stinger comes with driver aids that include navigation-based adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, lane keeping assist, line-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse, rear passenger safe-exit system, and parking sensors.
At a Glance – 2022 KIA Stinger
- Performance: turbocharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 300 horsepower; twin turbo 3.3-liter, V6, 368 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 22-32 mpg; 21-29 mpg
- Estimated price: $36,400 to $53,800
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000; corrosion 5 years/100,000
From an overall perspective, the Stinger has an appealing interior look and provides solid comfort and a good mix of technology. It features a 10.25-inch touchscreen that is very intuitive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is standard, along with a wireless charging pad.
Front seat passengers can expect good leg room and overall comfort. Thanks to the sunroof, which comes standard, the head room might be a bit low for taller drivers. In the back seat, head room is also an issue due to the sloping roofline. Cargo space is sizable at 23.3 cubic feet.
Although its future remains a bit murky, the 2022 Kia Stinger remains a solid choice for anyone seeking an energetic, appealing sedan with lots of upside.