2018 Kia Stinger GT Muscle Car SEMA Show Drift

2018 Kia Stinger

2018 Kia Stinger Review

I traveled a few months ago to the SEMA show in Las Vegas with one of my favorite companies, Kia. I was there to drift in their new Stinger. I got to drive the course and get the feel of the car. A few weeks later, I traveled to California for the National Press Introduction of the Stinger to drive it through the hills in California. It was an amazing experience that I walked away from thinking I found my next car. We hope that this 2018 Kia Stinger review post inspires you. 

When I got back home, one of my friends asked me how much horsepower. I had no idea. He laughed and said, “Don't you think you should know that kind of thing?” I laughed because it did seem a little funny to me. I am a lifestyle blogger. I sometimes write about my three kids. I frequently write about fashion, travel, beauty, food and more. I share with you guys what is going in in my life. I don't care about the horsepower. I mean I do in that it completely enhances the experience of driving this amazing machine.

2018 Kia Stinger

2018 Kia Stinger 2018 Kia Stinger rear view of muscle car When I first sat in the seat of the 2018 Kia Stinger, my first thought was I felt hugged. Is it a bucket seat? No clue but I like it. A lot. I started adjusting the seat and mirrors. I put the seatbelt on and sat there for a few moments checking everything out. I put my hands on the steering wheel and the race car driver in the passenger seat said, “that is the biggest smile ever. I can tell you are going to love this.” He was completely right.

“The Kia Stinger is a prime example of Kia’s commitment to surpassing consumers’ expectations in everything we do. Although the Stinger is unlike any other Kia that has come before it in terms of pure driving enjoyment, it is still very much a traditional Kia in that it offers consumers a very compelling value proposition, providing excellent performance and handling, premium features and functionality when compared to its much higher-priced competitors.”

~ Orth Hedrick, VP of product planning, Kia Motors America

In the past decade, Kia has steadfastly improved and expanded its lineup. The Korean automaker has had to fight with the widespread perception that its offerings are merely inexpensive alternatives to those with more established names. But what it lacks in heritage, as compared to the German marques, it has in boldness and realism. And that is why the Stinger exists.

2018 Kia StingerThe Stinger was first sighted at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show as a concept, and after three years of improvements, the first examples were displayed and tested at SEMA in Las Vegas. Kia's latest 5-door sports hatchback is what automotive experts refer to as a tweener, splitting the size difference between compact and mid-size sedans. It is classified as a sports sedan and is meant to tackle the likes of Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. It is available in four primary trim levels: the base, the Premium, the GT, and the GT2.

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The 2018 Kia Stinger is rakishly drawn with compelling styling thanks to the design genius responsible for the original Audi TT. It is low-slung with a fierce face, a long hood, and badass-looking grilles and slots – just enough to draw attention, in a good way. However, the fastback roofline, just like in its competitors, bites on hatchback practicality. The cockpit boasts aircraft-inspired designs complete with upscale detailing. Kia's inherent generosity is seen in the standard and available wood and chrome trims, and in some models, lush Nappa leather seating. All controls are logically-placed and work intuitively.

2018 Kia Stinger

Photo courtesy of Kia

The base model's comprehensive list of standard equipment includes a 3.5-inch LCD driver information screen, leather upholstery, two USB chargers, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, electronically-adjustable heated front seats, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen.

Upgrading to the Premium trim adds a power sunroof, LED headlights, and taillights, a 15-speaker audio system, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a navigation system, a larger infotainment screen and driver information display, and more. The GT trim adds 19-inch wheels and upgraded instrumentation alongside many of the Premium trim's features.

The top-of-the-range GT2 installs a limited-slip differential, an electronic shift-by-wire transmission selector, Nappa leather, dynamic headlights, ventilated front seats, a hands-free Smart Trunk opener, and a head-up display. The GT2 also offers most driver assistance technologies as standard equipment, otherwise optional on the lesser trims.

2018 Kia Stinger

Photo courtesy of Kia

A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine delivering 255 hp @6,200 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque from 1,400 to 4,000 rpm is standard in the Kia Stinger. It powers the base and Premium models. The GT and GT2 trims upgrade to a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 mill cranking out 365 horsepower @6,000 rpm and 376 lb-ft of torque from 1,300 rpm and 4,500 rpm. The V-6 made a spectacular 4.7-second dash from 0-60 mph when tested at the SEMA show.

Both engines link to an 8-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels and optionally to all wheels. The all-wheel-drive system is capable of sending up to 50 percent of the total power output to the front axle if necessary. It also comes with dynamic torque vectoring capability. The GT receives Brembo 4-piston front brake disks, 2-piston rear-calipers clamping brake discs, variable-ratio steering, and available adaptive damping shocks.

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Safety equipment and technologies standard on the GT2 and available on the rest include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, lane change assist, a blind spot monitoring system, high-beam headlights, and a Driver Attention Warning system. The Stinger also carries an updated version of Kia's Your Voice (UVO) technology integrated with the UVO eServices package that eases access to roadside assistance. The 911 Connect automatic collision notification and teen driving systems are also complimentary on the Stinger.

2018 Kia Stinger

Photo courtesy of Kia

2018 Kia Stinger

Photo courtesy of Kia

front of muscle cars in a row

Photo courtesy of Kia

Kia Stinger Cost

The Stinger is the highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history and is offered in five trim levels – Stinger, Stinger Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2.

  • Stinger starts at $31,900 2
  • Stinger Premium starts at $37,100 2
  • GT starts at $38,350 2
  • GT1 starts at $43,250 2
  • GT2 starts at $49,200 2
  • All-wheel drive: $2,200
  • Destination: $900
2018 Kia Stinger

Photo courtesy of Kia

Drifting in the Kia Stinger at SEMA in Las Vegas

I am close to the stage in my life where I can sell my “mom” car. Our Ford Flex has been good to us for many years but it has over 100,000 miles so I have begun considering my next car. My oldest child just started driving with his permit and this Ford is a beast to navigate. Grief (over my babies growing up) and excitement co-mingle inside me constantly like a storm brewing. I am torn between wanting to shield my children forever and wanting to see them grow into the amazing adults I know they will be. I am seriously considering smothering that grief with a Stinger. I mean what better way to watch my beautiful children growing up than behind the wheel of a hot car like a Stinger, right? We hope that this 2018 Kia Stinger review post inspires you. Happy driving!

Kia hosted me on a trip to Las Vegas for the SEMA show and then again in North Hollywood for the NPI. All opinions are my own. We hope that you enjoyed this Meet the Kia Stinger post. 


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17 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Jeanine

    What a nice looking vehicle. I have become a big fan of Kia over the last little while and this Stinger looks amazing!

  2. Amy

    I love the bold colors and style of these cars. I have a Kia Soul and Sorrento, but these are way funner!

  3. Reesa

    This car has so much personality. I would love to give it a whirl.

  4. I find Kias are really stepping up their game! My friend recently leased one and she absolutely loves it – has a beautiful leather interior. The Stinger looks really impressive as well!

  5. Another great car from Kia! I love how they always have fresh new designs!

  6. Wow Kia has definitely evolved and I am loving this. This vehicle makes me want to hit the road and take a road trip

  7. Wow that looks so sporty! I’m loving the way it looks. I’m not ready to sell my “mom” car yet, but one day a sporty car like this would be nice.

  8. Jennifer Van Huss

    That is one sexy car! I didn’t realize that Kia was in the sport car category! The colours it comes in are amazing too!

  9. I drive a huge van and stuff it with kiddos, but I kinda need to get behind the wheel of a Kia now!

  10. That is a gorgeous car! I would love to drive one of these bad boys! What a gorgeous car and color!

  11. Mary Edwards

    I LOVE the Kia brand already. We have the Sedona.. and it was a tough choice between the Sorento and the Sedona. I have my eye on this beauty once the kids are out of the house. The Stinger is HOT!

  12. I had no idea Kia made such sporty or beefy looking cars! I really like that, and I like the variety of colors it comes in.

  13. Kathy

    Those are some very beautiful cars. I really like the color of the blue one. That’s my kind of car too!

  14. What a beautiful vehicle! It looks like a great ride! So much fun!

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