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2018 Kia Stinger Review

The 2018 Kia Stinger has dynamic performance and a roomy, upscale interior, but it ranks midpack among luxury small cars. Its rivals earn higher predicted reliability ratings and better fuel economy estimates.

Pros & Cons

  • Strong engine lineup
  • Balanced handling
  • Cavernous cargo hold
  • User-friendly features
  • So-so fuel economy
  • Rivals have better predicted reliability ratings




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 9.0
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Kia Stinger Overview

Is the 2018 Kia Stinger a Good Used Car?

The 2018 Kia Stinger is the brand's first foray into the competitive luxury small car class that has long been dominated by brands like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. The Stinger has enough power to thrill you with either of its two peppy engine choice, and its road manners balance athleticism with comfort. Infotainment features are user-friendly, and this Kia has ample passenger room and a ton of cargo space. All of that makes this a good used car to buy.

As a segment challenger, the 2018 Stinger has several strengths:

  • Strong base engine and thrilling twin-turbo V6 option
  • Balanced ride and handling
  • Long list of standard features
  • Easy-to-use technology
  • Two rows of roomy, comfortable seats
  • Tons of cargo space
  • Low average list prices for class

However, it also has couple key weaknesses:

  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Rivals have higher predicted reliability ratings
Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 18 Kia Stinger reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has decades of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Kia Stinger?

Based on listings for the 2018 Kia Stinger on our site, the average list price is around $35,100. Prices range from about $25,900 to about $44,200 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Kia Stinger Cost to Own?

The 2018 Stinger’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $27,500, or around $5,500 per year. That’s below average for a luxury small car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Stinger?

The Kia Stinger was an all-new car for the 2018 model year. For 2019, the Stinger gained standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, and a surround-view parking camera was introduced as optional equipment. If these driver assistance features aren't that important to you, stick with a used Stinger. Doing so will likely save you lots of money. Prices for a 2018 Stinger range from around $26,000 to over $44,000, while a 2019 Stinger starts at around $33,000 and reaches over $50,000.

Read about the new Kia Stinger »

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Stinger »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Kia Stinger?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Stinger a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average. Many rivals in the class earn better ratings.

Read more about Stinger reliability »

2018 Kia Stinger Recalls

At the time of writing, one recall has been issued for the 2018 Kia Stinger:

  • A wiring harness may be damaged by coming into contact with the left front fender, increasing the risk of a short circuit and fire

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Kia Stinger safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Stinger Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Kia Stinger comes in five trims: base, Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2. Base and Premium models come with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while GT models feature a twin-turbocharged V6. All models have an eight-speed automatic transmission and are available with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive models also come equipped with a standard heated steering wheel.

Your first decision comes down to the engine you want, then you can narrow your search down based on the features you prioritize. Most trims are available with a package that includes lots of driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an electronic parking brake, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and driver attention monitoring.

  • Kia Stinger: The 2018 Kia Stinger comes standard with genuine leather seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, HD Radio, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, USB ports, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
  • Kia Stinger Premium: The Stinger Premium adds LED headlights, a sunroof, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, an electronic parking brake, driver’s seat memory function, an 8-inch infotainment touch screen, navigation, and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound stereo.
  • Kia Stinger GT: The Kia Stinger GT adds launch control, variable gear steering, Brembo brakes, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a nine-speaker stereo. A limited-slip differential is available.
  • Kia Stinger GT1: The Stinger GT1 comes with an electronically controlled suspension, auto-dimming outside mirrors, and performance gauges.
  • Kia Stinger GT2: The Stinger GT2 features a standard limited-slip differential, shift-by-wire transmission, adaptive headlights, a hands-free power trunk, Nappa leather upholstery, a 16-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 12-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and ventilated front seats. It also comes with many advanced safety features, including a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and driver attention monitoring.

See 2018 Kia Stinger trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty, plus a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts after the five-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Stinger?

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2018 Stinger.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • front and rear parking sensors

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • pedestrian detection
  • automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane departure warning
  • lane keep assist
  • driver attention monitoring
  • head-up display
  • adaptive headlights
  • automatic high beams
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

See Stinger safety scores »

2018 Kia Stinger Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Stinger or 2018 BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series has more engaging handling than the Stinger, but its base engine is pretty tame, in contrast with the Kia’s two capable engines. Both cars have ample passenger room, but the 3 Series is available in two different hatchback versions that have more cargo space than the Stinger. The BMW’s interior is a little nicer, but you’ll get more intuitive technology with the Kia. These are two solid choices for a sporty yet comfortable luxury small car, so check them both out and see which one you like more. The BMW’s average list prices and direct five-year costs are a little higher, so that may influence your decision.

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Stinger or 2018 Audi A5?

The 2018 Audi A5's performance is among the best in the class, with its standard all-wheel drive, deft corner-carving abilities, and a trio of potent engines. Enthusiasts will appreciate that the A5 is available with a manual transmission. This Audi comes in coupe, convertible, and hatchback body styles. The Audi A5 Sportback matches up well with the Stinger for rear legroom and cargo space. Both cars feature straightforward infotainment systems, but the A5 has the edge in overall interior quality. It’s hard to argue against the A5 – if you can afford it. List prices are several thousand dollars higher on average for the A5 than for the Stinger, and owning the Audi is projected to cost around $3,000 more over five years in operating expenses.

Compare the Stinger, 3 Series, and A5 »

2018 Stinger Performance

How Does the 2018 Kia Stinger Drive?

The 2018 Kia Stinger is available with one of two engine choices. The standard offering is a turbocharged four-cylinder that holds its own against most rivals. Stinger GT models have a twin-turbocharged V6 under the hood. With this engine, the Stinger can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Both engines are paired with a polished and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Stinger exhibits a magical balance of comfort and sportiness. When pushed hard in twisty canyons, test drivers say it stays glued to the road and absorbs pavement imperfections to keep the ride smooth. Steering and braking are similarly responsive and predictable.

  • Base engine: 255-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic transmission
Does the 2018 Kia Stinger Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2018 Stinger’s fuel economy is a little below average for a luxury small car.

  • Four-cylinder, RWD: 22/29 mpg city/highway
  • Four-cylinder, AWD: 21/29 mpg
  • V6, RWD: 17/25 mpg
  • V6, AWD: 17/25 mpg

Read more about Stinger performance »

2018 Stinger Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Stinger Seat?

The 2018 Stinger seats five people in two rows, with ample space and good seating comfort all around. The front seats are supportive for both long trips and spirited driving, and back-seat passengers have plenty of legroom.

Standard seating features:

  • genuine leather upholstery
  • 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat
  • heated front seats
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • leather-wrapped shift knob

Available seating features:

  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • ventilated front seats
  • 16-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • 12-way power-adjustable passenger seat
  • driver’s seat memory setting
  • flat-bottom steering wheel
  • power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Kia Stinger?

The 2018 Stinger has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat.

2018 Kia Stinger Features

Compared to the complex tech from Lexus and BMW, the Stinger’s UVO infotainment system is a breath of fresh air. Touch-screen menus are straightforward, and physical buttons allow the driver to access a variety of controls without taking eyes off the road. A 7-inch screen is standard, and some models have an 8-inch screen. All Stingers also have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a nine-speaker stereo, and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start
  • Other available features: a sunroof, performance gauges, and a 7-inch digital instrument display

See 2018 Kia Stinger specs »

Read more about Stinger interior »

2018 Kia Stinger Dimensions

Kia Stinger Cargo Space

The fastback Kia Stinger has 23.3 cubic feet of space behind its back seat, and 40.9 cubic feet with the second row folded down. Those are the highest cargo figures in the luxury small car class.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Kia Stinger Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 10 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,611 to 4,023 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Kia Stinger Built?

Kia built the Stinger in South Korea.


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