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Pour one out for the Kia Stinger. Rumor has it the automaker is discontinuing its beloved sports sedan for good following the 2022 model year. But with a shrinking segment that, really, only has a few sporty mid-sized liftbacks in it, we understand why the Stinger may not be around for much longer. Still, it would be a shame to see it go.
The 2022 Stinger gains a fresh facelift, new equipment, and a streamlined range that now makes the GT-Line standard equipment on the four-cylinder model. That means better styling and a bit more edge for the base Stinger, plus a larger central touchscreen and more active safety features – like Kia’s lauded Highway Driving Assist. As expected, the Stinger looks and feels even better for 2022.
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Gallery: 2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line Review
- Exterior Color: Ascot Green
- Interior Color: Black
- Wheel Size: 18 Inches
The Stinger is still as stylish as ever. Now with the GT-Line standard, the base sedan gets larger vents and a more aggressive bumper treatment for a front fascia that feels properly sporty. A full-width taillight bar now adorns the rear as part of the update, with quad exhaust tips also standard across the board.
One of the new hues is this Ascot Green paint job, which pairs well with the black chrome accents that surround the grille, cover the mirrors, and dot the doors. Kia also equipped the GT-Line with sharper 18-inch wheels, with the full-blown GT getting new 19-inch shoes as well.
New inside, buyers can choose from a basic red, beige, or black leather, with Kia limiting Nappa to the top-end GT model. The seats are trimmed in perforated black leather with a “GT-Line” logo stitched into the headrests – a subtle but stylish touch. The T-shaped shifter from last year carries over, which is still awesome, but not much else changes visually as far as design and materials are concerned.
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 23.3 Cubic Feet
The Kia Stinger is a spacious cruiser, with ample head and legroom in both rows. The front compartment yields 38.3 inches of headroom and 42.6 inches of legroom. That’s more than the Audi A5 Sportback and Volkswagen Arteon, and nearly equal the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe in both respects.
I was more than comfortable sitting in the second row, with plenty of overhead space and tons of room to rest my legs. The Stinger’s 37.0 inches of rear headroom match the A5 and the Arteon while beating the BMW, and Kia’s 36.4 inches of rear legroom are second only to VW (40.2 inches). The Stinger’s 23.3 cubic feet of trunk space is above average too, but still falls short of the Arteon’s 27.2 cubic feet.
Space aside, the Stinger is loud on the highway, with road, tire, and engine noise echoing throughout the cabin at highway speeds. To make matters worse, the four-cylinder doesn’t sound good – it emits an off-putting buzzy sound. And as the company’s sportiest sedan, it does require sacrifices in the ride comfort department; the suspension is harsh over imperfections.
- Center Display: 10.3-Inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 4.2 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: No
A 10.3-inch touchscreen display replaces the Stinger’s outgoing 7.0-inch unit, employing Kia’s latest iteration of the Uvo interface. The layout is clean; the graphics are crisp; and Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation all come standard. That said, the former two are still wired connections, which is a bit disappointing for 2021.
Also new is the 4.2-inch screen positioned between the two analog gauges within the cluster. It offers basic functionality for things like drive mode displays, audio streaming, navigation, and vehicle settings. A new oversized wireless phone charger also joins the fray for 2022, while the Sun And Sound package ($2,300) adds a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon premium audio system that sounds great.
- Engine: Turbocharged 2.5-Liter Four-Cylinder
- Output: 300 Horsepower / 311 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
The new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is more powerful than the turbocharged 2.0-liter it replaces. That upgraded motor makes 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet, compared to 255 horsepower and 260 pound-feet in the previous model. That means the updated Stinger gets to 60 half a second quicker than the old one, managing 4.7 seconds as opposed to 5.2.
That extra oomph is most obvious at higher speeds. The Stinger packs plenty of passing power on the highway and a good amount of mid-range grunt that makes it feel sprightly around town. But at lower speeds it’s less enthusiastic; the Stinger’s new four-cylinder doesn’t deliver low-end torque as quickly as one might hope, and that engine whines and drones all the way to 60.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is the lone gearbox available in the Stinger, and it’s inoffensive in most situations. But it’s also slow to shift, hanging revs when left to its own devices in Sport mode. If you want quicker responses, flick the paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel.
But more than anything, the Kia Stinger is sublime in the corners. The electronic power steering is weighty and responsive, with a quick turn-in and ample road feel. The suspension – as harsh as it can be in everyday situations – is highly responsive when pushed. Because the GT-Line lacks the adaptive dampers of the GT model, there is some body roll, but it’s not nearly enough to be offensive. The Stinger is still fun as heck to fling around.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
- NHTSA Rating: 5 Star
- IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick+
The 2022 Stinger comes standard with an entire suite of advanced active safety equipment. That includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and a lane-departure warning.
Also standard in the Stinger for 2022 is Kia’s much-loved Highway Driving Assist feature, which acts as a more advanced version of adaptive cruise, keeping the car centered in the lane and applying braking and throttle inputs as needed. I activated HDA multiple times on the open road, and it worked well to keep the car composed, only having minor issues staying in the lane.
In crash test ratings, the Stinger is flawless. It scored five stars with the NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick+ according to the IIHS.
- City: 22 MPG
- Highway: 32 MPG
- Combined: 25 MPG
The Kia Stinger GT-Line improves its highway fuel economy by three compared to last year, jumping from 29 mpg in 2021 to 32 mpg this year. But the four-cylinder Stinger maintains its 22 mpg city and 25 combined, same as last year, which makes it the least efficient option in the class alongside the Arteon. During our test, which included hundreds of highway miles, we only recorded 30.5 mpg on average.
By comparison, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe achieves 27 combined with its standard rear-wheel-drive setup, while the all-wheel-drive Audi A5 Sportback offers 28 mpg combined. Both of those cars are admittedly down on power compared to the Stinger.
- Base Price: $36,290 + $1,075 Destination Charge
- Trim Base Price: $37,365
- As-Tested Price: $39,715
The Stinger is the most affordable option in its class, undercutting the Arteon by about two thousand bucks ($38,190), and coming in well under the Audi A5 Sportback ($44,545) and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe ($46,195). With the $2,300 Sun and Sound package equipped – a bigger sunroof, eight-way power-adjustable seats, and a Harman Kardon 15-speaker audio system – this Stinger GT-Line is still a reasonable $39,715.
If you want an Arteon with much of the same equipment as the Stinger, you’ll have to upgrade to the pricier SEL R-Line model. That trim starts at $42,790 after destination and adds adaptive cruise, leather seats, and a handful of other options that Kia offers at no cost. And the Stinger still offers more power.
The A5 Sportback and 4 Series Gran Coupe are considered the more premium alternatives to the Stinger and Arteon, thus the pricier MSRP. But, the A5 has a smaller 10.1-inch touchscreen, asks at least $595 for any hue that isn’t white or black, and still has less power than the Stinger. The BMW suffers from much of the same; the base touchscreen is only 8.8 inches, most paint colors are an optional $550, and power is down considerably compared to the Kia.
So while it most likely won’t be long for this world, if you can grab a Stinger in 2022, it’s easily the best bargain of the bunch. The affordable starting price combined with loads of standard features and some of the best dynamics in the class makes the sleek fastback still one of our favorite cars on sale today.
Stinger Competitor Reviews:
- Audi A5 Sportback: Not Rated
- BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe: 8.7 / 10
- Volkswagen Arteon: Not Rated
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