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MSRP: $32,990 - 52,400

2019 Kia Stinger Review

The 2019 Kia Stinger ranks near the top of the luxury small car class, thanks in part to its refined driving dynamics, strong engine performance, and great safety score. The Stinger also has a well-made interior with plenty of space and user-friendly features.

Pros & Cons

  • Dynamic handling
  • Large trunk
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Potent engine lineup
  • Subpar fuel economy

New for 2019

  • Blind-spot monitoring now standard
  • Surround-view camera now available

Is the Kia Stinger a Good Car?

The Kia Stinger is a great luxury small car that makes few compromises. The Stinger is a blast to drive, courtesy of its taut suspension and muscular turbocharged engine options, yet it still rides comfortably even over imperfect pavement. This Kia's cabin is elegantly styled and dressed to the nines with high-end materials. Better still, the Stinger comes packed with standard features, and it offers plenty of seating and cargo space. We named the Stinger the winner of our 2019 Best Luxury Small Car for the Money award because it has the best combination of quality and value in its class.

Should I Buy the Kia Stinger?

You should definitely consider the Kia Stinger if you’re shopping for a luxury small car. It offers excellent performance and refinement at a starting price that few others can match. That said, you may want to check out other highly rated competitors like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series if fuel economy is a primary concern. Mediocre gas mileage is one of the Stinger’s few blemishes.

Compare the Stinger, C-Class, and 3-Series »

Should I Buy a New or Used Kia Stinger?

Kia released the Stinger as an all-new car for the 2018 model year. The 2019 model gains a few standard safety features such as blind spot monitoring, as well as newly available features such as a surround-view camera. If those upgrades aren’t important to you, consider the 2018 Stinger to likely save some money.

Read our 2018 Kia Stinger review to help you decide if an older model is right for you.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Stinger »

We Did the Research for You: 30 Reviews Analyzed

To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as crash test results and reliability ratings, as well as the opinions of the automotive press. This Kia Stinger review draws on 30 reviews and incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which includes the 2018 and 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Kia Stinger Cost?

The 2019 Kia Stinger has a base MSRP of $32,900. That’s more affordable than most rival luxury small cars. The GT trim, with the powerful V6 engine, starts at $39,300. The top-of-the-line GT2 starts at just over $50,000, and all-wheel drive can be added to any trim for between $2,200 to $2,400, depending on the model.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

Kia Stinger Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Kia Stinger or Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the most elegant luxury small cars. It is brimming with opulence and offers a long list of features. The Mercedes-Benz has a brawnier engine lineup than the Kia, especially the performance-oriented AMG models. Its seats are plush, and it has a silky smooth ride, as well as better fuel economy than the Stinger. That said, the Kia is a better pick. The Stinger has more cargo space than the C-Class, sharper handling, more standard comfort features, and a lower base price by about $9,500. Additionally, its infotainment system is easier to use.

Which Is Better: Kia Stinger or BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series is a great luxury small car. BMW fully redesigned the 3 Series sedan for the 2019 model year, giving it several mechanical and technological updates. The wagon and Gran Turismo body styles carry over unchanged. Regardless of body style, the Kia offers more cargo space than the BMW, as well as more standard features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The BMW is more of a high-performance car, offering a quicker zero-to-60-mph acceleration time and more horsepower in some models. While BMW has not released pricing as of this writing, the redesigned 3 Series is expected to be a little more expensive than the Stinger. Both are great vehicles with agile rides and premium cabins. Choosing between them is a matter of preference.

Compare the Stinger, C-Class, and 3-Series »

Stinger Interior

How Many People Does the Stinger Seat?

The 2019 Stinger seats five people. Leather seats come standard, as do heated, power-adjustable front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Legroom is good in both rows, though headroom in the rear draws mixed reviews. Some think there’s ample space, while others say the sloping roofline intrudes on taller adults. The seats themselves are comfortable.

Stinger and Child Car Seats

For installing child safety seats, each of the Stinger's rear outboard seats have a complete set of LATCH connectors, and the middle seat has a tether-only connection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Stinger's setup the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use.

Stinger Interior Quality

Despite being more affordable than many rivals, this Kia sedan doesn’t skimp on interior quality. Standard leather seats and top-notch finishes help this car look and feel like a luxury sedan.

Stinger Cargo Space

The Kia Stinger is technically a hatchback (also called a sportback), and it has 23.3 cubic feet of trunk space. That’s excellent for the class. Folding down the rear seats opens up 40.9 cubic feet of space, exceeding rivals such as the Audi A5 Sportback and Genesis G70.

Stinger Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

This vehicle comes standard with the UVO infotainment system, along with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. An 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a nine-speaker stereo, a 15-speaker premium sound system, and a sunroof are available.

The Stinger's infotainment system is more straightforward than those in most luxury cars. The system is responsive and logically arranged, and redundant buttons let drivers control functions with minimal distraction. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are a plus.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Stinger Performance

Stinger Engine: Turbos All Around

Kia offers two engine options with this vehicle. The first is a four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger and a 255-horsepower output. The second, found in Kia Stinger GT cars, is a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 365 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic is the only available transmission.

Both engines are punchy, delivering more than enough power for most driving situations. As you might expect, the V6 delivers brisker acceleration, launching the Stinger from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

Stinger Gas Mileage: A Sting of Disappointment

With its base engine and rear-wheel drive, the Kia Stinger gets 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Models with the turbocharged V6 engine get 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Both are slightly below average for the class. You’ll save around $150 per year at the pump with the Audi A5 Sportback or BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, both of which have all-wheel drive.

Stinger Ride and Handling: Sleek and Nimble

The Stinger expertly blends a comfortable ride with engaging performance. Its suspension absorbs road blemishes while remaining composed on twisty roads. Steering and braking are responsive. Outfitting the Stinger GT with sporty upgrades such as Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential makes this vehicle even more fun to drive. Rear-wheel drive comes standard; all-wheel drive is available.

Read more about performance »

Stinger Reliability

Is the Kia Stinger Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Stinger a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Kia Stinger Warranty

Kia covers the Stinger with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That’s longer than the basic and powertrain warranties of most other luxury small cars.

Read more about reliability »

Stinger Safety

Stinger Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Kia Stinger a 2019 Top Safety Pick+, the organization's highest accolade. The Stinger received a top rating of Good in all six crash test areas, as well as the highest score of Superior for the effectiveness of its optional front crash prevention system. However, the Stinger received mixed ratings for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead. Models with the standard halogen headlights earned the lowest rating of Poor, while models with the available LED headlights received ratings of Acceptable and Good.

As of this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested the 2019 Stinger.

Stinger Safety Features

Standard safety features in this Kia include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, lane change alert, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. Available safety tech includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, high-beam assist, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, a driver attention monitor, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and a surround-view camera.

Read more about safety »

Which Kia Stinger Model Is Right for Me?

Kia offers the 2019 Stinger in six trim levels: 2.0L (base), Premium, GT, GTS, GT1, and GT2. The 2.0L and Premium trims feature the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while all GT models come with a more powerful twin-turbocharged V6. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available in each trim for between $2,200 and $2,300, depending on the trim. Adding all-wheel drive also adds a heated steering wheel.

Shoppers seeking sports-sedan-worthy performance should stick with one of the V6-powered Stinger GT trims. If you want performance of the GT plus active safety features, look to the GT1 or GT2.

Kia Stinger 2.0L

The base Kia Stinger has an MSRP of $32,900. Standard equipment includes a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.

A Sun and Sound package is available for $3,000. It adds a sunroof, a power sunshade, a 15-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo, and a larger 8-inch touch screen with a built-in navigation system. Remote start is available for $495.

Kia Stinger Premium

With a starting MSRP of $39,190, the Kia Stinger Premium adds the contents of the Sun and Sound package and several safety features, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a driver attention monitor. Ventilated front seats and a wireless device charger come standard too.

No notable packages are available with this trim.

Kia Stinger GT

Like the Premium trim, the Kia Stinger GT starts at $39,300. Instead of the Sun and Sound features it comes with a series of sporty upgrades, such as a twin-turbo V6 engine, a limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, sporty exterior styling bits, and larger alloy wheels with summer tires. Inside it adds a nine-speaker stereo, aluminum pedals, and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

As with the Premium, no packages are available.

Kia Stinger GTS

The limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS ($44,000) shares its standard features with the GT trim, but it adds exclusive Federation Orange paint, carbon fiber accents, and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. Only 800 units are available nationwide.

Kia Stinger GT1

The Kia Stinger GT1 ($45,300) builds on the GT trim with the contents of the Sun and Sound package and all the features added in the Premium trim. It also gets an adaptive suspension that automatically adjusts to optimize ride and handling in changing road conditions.

Kia Stinger GT2

The Kia Stinger GT2 has a starting price of $50,200. GT2 vehicles gain a head-up display, Nappa leather seats, additional front-seat power adjustments, heated rear seats, and a surround-view camera.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia Deals page.

See 2019 Kia Stinger specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Kia Stinger is a well-rounded luxury small car that goes toe-to-toe with sporty classmates like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. The Stinger has more cargo room than many competitors, and its spirited handling helps make it a joy to drive. Its cabin is roomy and upscale, and the Stinger’s generous features list, below-class-average price, and lengthy warranty make it a great value.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "In a world overrun by SUVs, a car like the 2019 Kia Stinger is a welcome change of pace. While some might still think of Kia as a builder of quality family transportation, the Stinger is set to change hearts and minds, one thrilling mile after another." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The concept of 'grand touring' has been around for centuries, and the moniker has been applied to cars since the 1940s, but it's a term we tend to associate with exotic sports cars. The formula, though, is pretty simple: stylish, comfortable on a long drive, and plenty of power. But there's no rule that says it has to cost a fortune, and the Kia Stinger GT is absolutely taking advantage of this exception." -- Motor Trend (2018)
  • "Few, if any, buyers will cross-shop the Stinger against the likes of the Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS or the Porsche Panamera. Still, the Kia's attractive package and promising performance reinforce the idea that if you can divorce yourself from brand snobbery, this fresh-faced newcomer just might be the sleeper bargain performance sedan of the year." -- Autoblog (2018)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: September 12, 2019

Cooling Sales: After strong sales in 2018, its first full year on the market, demand for the Kia Stinger has begun to slow. Dealerships have sold 18.8 percent fewer Stinger models so far this year compared to the same period in 2018. The BMW 4-Series, another fastback-style competitor in the luxury small car segment, is outselling the Stinger nearly 2 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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