The Worst Thing About Kia’s Stinger GT Is Its Non-Luxury Badge

The new Kia Stinger GT is a game-changer in the sports sedan establishment. For years, BMW was the go-to automaker for consumers that were looking to get into a premium sports sedan. That’s no longer the case, as Doug DeMuro got behind the wheel of the sedan and found little to complain about.

The current 3-Series is far from a head-turner. There’s nothing particularly off-putting about the car, but there’s nothing exciting about its styling, either. The Stinger GT is a breath of fresh air, as its design is striking, especially when you take in all of the minute details.

That doesn’t mean the South Korean’s design is faultless, as it has an odd rear-taillight design that incorporates enormous reflectors for no obvious reason. But if that’s the worst part of the vehicle’s design, then Kia obviously has done a lot of things right.

The trend continues on into the interior, where DeMuro claims the Stinger GT is one of the nicest Kias he’s ever been in. And unlike BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz that will charge you dearly for every little feature, Kia offers a ton of stuff as standard. And for those that want the extra goodies, the packages are a lot more affordable than any of the German competitors.

Even though the Stinger GT isn’t a performance car, it still packs a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that generates 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque and allows the sedan to get to 60 mph (96 km/h) from a standstill in a brisk 4.7 seconds.

Those figures don’t just look good on paper, but they hold up in the real world, too. It seems that the only thing the Stinger is missing compared to the competition is a bona-fide premium badge, which might be a put-off for some buyers. Anyhow, you can watch the full review of the hot Kia by checking out the video below.


  • Research Janitor

    The only problem is that you have to go into a Kia dealership.

    • LWOAP

      Hopefully they’ll fix that.

      • LeStori

        Then it would not be a KIA. So no KIA Stinger. Mean while I will continue to walk past. The car might be fast but it looks like a KIA.Whilst you may smile whilst driving one, you will not look back and smile once you get out of one.

        Fast cars these days are a dime a dozen. Cars that put a smile on your face even when you just look at them is another thing altogether. An “affordable” fast car that puts a smile on your face is a rarity indeed. The KIA Stinger is not one of them.

    • Alter Ego

      I went to a Hyundai dealer today and it was pretty good. Though I don’t really know what a BMW/Kia dealership could do to be that much better/worse.

    • Tinky-Winky

      Please share your bad experience.

      • brn

        Kia dealer near me lies about car specs. MPG is right there on the sticker, but they’ll claim the sticker is incorrect.

        They’re infamous for advertising deals that don’t exist. Get a XX for $YY, but nothing on their lot is near that price.

        I never got further than that.

        Other dealers can be scummy, but not usually that obvious.

  • BlackPegasus

    I heard a rumor Kia plans on making a higher spec version with a V8. Is that true?

    • john1168

      Anything is possible but I highly doubt that. I read that rumor a while ago too.

  • IFDU

    The VW Passat I believe you can change the number of times the auto turn signal flashes. Not sure who else, but I know VW does it. (but it does not go up to 7 like here in the Stinger).

    • brn

      It can be done on darn near any modern Ford, if you use Forscan.

      It should be a setting on every car, without having to pull tricks.

  • Zed68

    It’s not the fact that it’s a Kia… it’s the fact that the Kia Badge (the logo, the badge itself) is awful. We’ve been saying that for ages, are Kia execs idiots?

    • ErnieB

      Agree.. they should have gone with the Stinger as the brand and created a new logo.

  • dumblikeyou2

    I wouldn’t mind renting one of these on my next trip. Loss/Damage Waiver: Check

  • john1168

    Good review. It has some interesting quirks too that I didn’t know about:) I really like the Stinger and I’m seriously considering one for purchase. I’m also considering an S5 Sportback and the VW Arteon (when it’s available). I agree with others that KIA’s biggest problem is their badge. That needs to change and maybe it will in the future. KIA also needs to start advertising for the Stinger too. I’ve seen commercials in Sydney, Australia but I haven’t seen any in the US yet. But that will change with the Super Bowl. The US roll out has been problematic too. Some missing features that are available elsewhere in the world and lack of choice with exterior/interior color choices is proving to be extremely frustrating. Some people have ordered cars a while ago and while other Stingers trickle in to the US, their Stingers still don’t show up. Hopefully as the 2019’s roll out this coming summer, a lot of these issues will be resolved but until then KIA USA has some work to do to get their act together.

  • SteersUright

    Gotta say, Doug changed my mind on this car quite a bit. Now Im intrigued to at least go see them.

    For me, thought, the issue isnt just that it’s a Kia, its also the lofty price tag for the most desirable loaded version shown here. Sure, it still compares well to pricey German alternatives, but it does not reflect the sort of bargain you’d expect from a Kia. At $40k and perhaps as a break-even halo proposition, I think it would fare much better with consumers. Many automakers have sold halo cars at no profit or even a technical loss to drive traffic and elevate the brand. Lexus did it with its first LS, Nissan with the first GTR, Acura with the NSX, and so on. But at $40k, this car would simple be impossible to ignore and I think they’d sell as many as they could make. At $52k, they’ll end up turning some or even many people off and eventually discounting steeply to move them off the lot anyhow. Bad move.

    • john1168

      The fully loaded GT2 with AWD will hit $52k. I think you can get a turbo six for about $40k and the turbo sixes go up from there. Unfortunately some dealers are marking up the msrp’s, some as high as $15k! I think in 6 months or so that will go away.

  • brn

    Interesting review. Doug can do that to you.

    Both Kia and Lincoln are trying to make a name for themselves in this space. Both are similarly priced. I’d love to see a review of a Stinger vs an MKZ, given an understanding of their individual target markets. Doug, are you up to comparisons?

    Btw: My one turn-off is the infotainment screen. They shouldn’t be that high on the dash. When driving at night, it’s distracting. That absolutely needs to change. OK, not a fan of the shiny exterior mirrors either, but that may be just me. Looks good otherwise.

  • Harry Nimmergut

    Right, the Kia badge and its slimy, sketchy dealers will prevent this car from selling, no matter the media darling status its become. Kia is still the poor stepchild to Hyundai, as far as dealership professionalism. Hyundai just wants Kia to add to the bottom line, with minimal investment. Kia doesn’t sell much of anything in price above the Optima and Sorento (sales of the Cadenza and K900 are non-existant), and won’t at this rate. Why oh why are they even going to try to sell the Telluride? Not as smart as Koreans are thought to be. They’re certainly not the Japanese…

  • AnaIvanovic

    I’d personally call it:

    S t i n g e r 1
    by Kia

    The car does look too good to be a Kia, kinda like when 2010 Kia Sportage came out and it made CUVs like the BMW X3 look like turd. I remember my cousin saying “what the fuck?” after seeing the Sportage I bought shortly after he bought his X3. He wasn’t a car guy so he was very surprised.

  • Craig

    If it was running things at KIA I would NEVER apologize for ‘the badge’. [Not that they are…. yet] In fact – I would be in everyone’s face with it. “That’s a KIA?” – “You’re damn right it is!”

    • Nordschleife

      Absolutely apologize for what. You either like the car or not.

  • Tinky-Winky

    I couldn’t care less about the badge. It’s just 3 stylized letters on the bonnet. It doesn’t really matter who makes the car as long as it looks good and is reliable and fun to drive.

    • Nordschleife

      Extra point for saying couldn’t care less versus could care less.

  • thenoodler

    Actually Kia is pretty smart to badge this as a Kia. It will bring people into the dealership to look and buy other econo s-boxes. They just need to have 1 or 2 on the lot to attract curious customers, they don’t even have to sell any.

    • Honda NSX-R

      Even if it doesn’t sell it’ll bring people into showrooms to check out their cars…just like the Stinger made me do

  • Honda NSX-R

    Funnily enough Doug posted this two days ago, and I was thinking about visiting the local dealer to check out the Stinger in person yesterday (which I did).

    • Nordschleife

      Did you like it?

      • Honda NSX-R

        Yeah I liked it, the vents reminded me of a Mercedes-Benz (yes I have sat in them too) and the interior is pretty nice overall. It is a fitting interior design in comparison to the A5/S5 Sportback, 4 Series GC, etc. I personally have to duck my head a little if I wanted to sit in the backseat, but the legroom is pretty good though. I didn’t drive one though, but I will eventually. I’ll also mention that it looks even better in person

        • Nordschleife

          Lol I am not one of those people who assume you never sat in another vehicle but I get why you said that lol. I sat in one at the LA auto show. I am with you I thought it was nice place to be if not a bit somber. I usually prefer other interior colors than black. They had Stingers to test drive at the auto show but I didn’t make it to that part.

          • Honda NSX-R

            I do wish that strip between the taillights was functional though, feels a bit cheap if you ask me but overall it’s still a cool car.

          • Nordschleife

            I agree with you on that as well especially since it’s alresdy there. Would have have given it a nice rear signature.

  • Nordschleife

    I really do want the Stinger to win everything. I am really rooting for the underdog.

  • notkia4you

    kia dealerships are straight up shit. not even kidding. worse than a used car dealer next to a chopshop. kia management / dealer management needs overhauled.

  • Jay

    They could’ve done better with the rear reflector but they need something to change to the F/L

  • Romanovich

    Finally, advertise from youtube

  • accolade

    This thing would steal the show if it’s offered in naturally aspirated V8 and in exotic colors and price competitively to the twin-turbo V6 models.

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