USED: 2018 Kia Stinger AWD Review: Yes, This is a Sporty Luxury Sedan. And it’s Full-On F.U.N.

Kia Stinger Luxury Sedan

What Happens When an SUV-Driving Mom Looks at Something Sportier?

Sure, the smart, stylish, and sporty 2018 Kia Stinger luxury sedan is perfect for a single driver looking for an affordable sports car. But it might also be the perfect car for a soon-to-be empty-nester looking for a super fun drive experience!

Coming from a big SUV that served me well during my taxi-driving mom years, the Kia Stinger is a change of pace and an absolute delight. This car is comfortable, drives like a dream, and has all the amenities you want in a new car at a surprisingly affordable price. And the smaller engine model, the 2.0, which I drove, is amply powered, has paddle shifters, all wheel drive or rear wheel drive and multiple drive modes – all to make sure it’s packed with fun.

Who This Car is For

  • Singles, couples or small families
  • Drivers who want a luxury car
  • Buyers who love new technology and design
  • Drivers looking for a fun, performance car experience
  • Drivers who want or need all wheel drive both for added performance and for challenging weather and terrain
  • Buyers who want a luxury car for under $50,000

What it Costs

  • 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo with 255 horsepower starts at $31,900
  • Premium starts at $37,100 and adds a sunroof, 8” color touchscreen display (up from 7” in the 2.0L), and Harman/Kardon premium audio.
  • GT with V6 turbo and 365 horse power starts at $38,350 and includes 19” alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, and a 9-speaker audio system.
  • GT1 starts at $43,250 and includes the same upgrades as Premium trim.
  • GT2 starts at $49,200 and adds in Kia Drive Wise (advanced driver assistance system) and a heads-up display.
  • AWD option available on all trims for $2,200.

The model I drove is the 2.0L AWD with the 2T Advanced Driver Assistance System Package at an MSRP of $37,000.

Further Reading: Meet the Kia Stinger, and what inspired it! 

Kia Stinger

Kia says smile! Photo: Shannon Entin.

The Stinger is All About Style

Let’s first take a look at the exterior of the car. It’s got that classic Kia grille that looks like it’s smiling at you.

It also features stylish vents on the hood and accents near the front tires. There’s a fin on top and exhaust pipes that give it a look reminiscent of a muscle car.

The interior is luxurious. With adjustable, back-cradling, heated seats, you’ll ride in comfort. The storage spaces in the cabin are the perfect size for your phone or sunglasses. The USB and AUX ports are easily accessible and not hidden inside the center console. And one of the many things Kia always gets right is the interior layout of all the controls. Somehow, everything is intuitive and right at your fingertips.

Further reading: Need more luxury? Is the Kia Cadenza the best luxury car on the road … and for this price? 

Kia Stinger Trunk

Serious cargo space for a sports car! Photo: Shannon Entin.

You Don’t Have to Give Up the Important Things for Sporty Style: Space and Sound Abound

There’s an impressive amount of trunk space in this car. The cargo space is 23.3 cubic feet, a good deal more than the Optima, Sorento, or Soul. And with the 60/40 split folding rear seats down, you get nearly 41 cubic feet of space. So even if you’re giving up your SUV, you have room for luggage, Costco or the Home Depot runs when you decide it’s time to convert your son’s room into a yoga studio.

There’s also the amazing Harman/Kardon sound system. This brand sets itself apart from the competition by offering crisp, super clean and harmonious sound, making your listing experience truly incredible.

Read More: The best sound systems in today’s cars

Kia Stinger Interior

The beautiful interior of the Kia Stinger. Photo: Shannon Entin.

Abundant Technology and So Many Standard Features

The Kia Stinger offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in addition to its UVO Infotainment System. The 7” display had just the right sensitivity to touch and everything was easy to find.

There are two USBs in the front and we were happy that there was no conflict when my daughter and I used both. Hers charged, while mine remained paired to Apple CarPlay with no interference.

My old SUV doesn’t have a lot of extras, and I know what I want in a new car. The Kia Stinger has many of my must-haves included as standard.

  • Heated front seats and steering wheel
  • Power adjustable drive and passenger seats
  • USB inputs in the front seat (2) and back (1)
  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror
  • Front and rear park assistance
  • Front door handle pocket illumination

The car I drove also had Kia’s 2T Advanced Driver Assistance System Package for $2,000. This gave me additional much-loved features such as forward collision avoidance, smart cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, rain-sensing wipers, and more.

Yes, a compact car can be refined and spirited! Check out the Kia Forte

Exhaust Of Kia Stinger.

Vroom vroom! Photo: Shannon Entin.

Driving the Stinger is F.U.N.

OK, raise your hand if you love to drive. I mean, really, love to drive. I do love driving and would choose it every time over any other mode of transportation. The Kia Stinger plays right into my desire for a fun driving experience.

If you get into a car like the Stinger and just drive, you’re missing out. The Stinger has five drive modes. Simply rotate a button and choose from:

  • Comfort: Standard drive mode. Car will always start up in this mode.
  • Eco: Provides greater fuel efficiency.
  • Smart: Adjusts in accordance with the driver’s habits.
  • Sport: Sporty but firm riding.
  • Custom: You can adjust your own settings for transmission, steering and AWD.

I spent a lot of my time in the car driving in sport mode. In this drive mode, you feel like you are holding the car back. It wants to GO! I was happily zipping along, hugging curves and feeling one with the road.

Here’s my video review of the Kia Stinger:

Admittedly, I haven’t had as much experience with sports cars as I’d like. That’s gotta change.

What We Loved

  • The Kia Stinger is super fun to drive. Definitely play with the drive modes!
  • Luxury feel at an affordable price
  • Many amenities come standard
  • Great trunk space for a car this size
  • Sporty, stylish look

What You Should Know

  • This is a rear wheel drive car, which can be fast but challenging in rough weather or uneven ground, such as gravel; buyers should consider the AWD model
  • 10 year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
  • 5 year/60,000 mile limited basic warranty
  • 5 year/60,000 mile roadside assistance
  • 24 MPG combined: 21 city / 29 highway

Kia Stinger Monroney

Disclosure: Kia provided the Stinger on loan to me for the purposes of this review. Opinions – and all the fun – are strictly my own!

Feeling most at home when on the road, Shannon Entin grew up under the impression that the highest form... More about Shannon Entin