Remember when any Kia model was a hoy, steamy load of garbage? The quality was junk, the performance was junk and buying one would get you laughed at. I mean, my grandmother had two of them. She first had the Sportage, which she had to trade in due to mechanical issues, for a Sorento which wasn’t terrible, but still wasn’t the best.
Those days are long gone, although the perception still remains. The cars Kia offers now are comprable to the best. The Cadenza and K900 offer copious amounts of luxury for a decent price. The Sportage and Sorento have became contenders, which is a far cry from the past and the Soul, Forte and Optima give you a decent car for a decent price. The onslaught of improvement continues with the Stinger GT, which was a highlight of NAIAS 2017 and the car we never thought Kia was capable of.
On the outside, the Stinger GT looks more like something from BMW or Audi than a Kia. The design, overall, is sleek and subtle but it is simultaneously aggressive. It doesn’t look like it’s primary objective is to assault your senses, but if it wanted to it could. From the front/side view it resembles an Optima, just with a few air scoops. The 19″ wheels look amazing and perfectly complement the design, filling the fenders with a touch of beauty. The rear feature blacked out tail lamps and quad tip exhaust. Again, this doesn’t resemble the average Kia.
On the performance side, we have the 2.0L turbo four cranking out an average 255HP/260lbs-ft torque. The 3. 3L twin turbo six would probably be the weapon of choice. When compared to some it’s rivals, the 365HP engine seems competitive and the 8 speed automatic transmission should provide a pretty decent balance between fuel economy and speed. You also get the option between rear and al wheel drive. The Stinger seems like it won’t torch the pavement, but it’s going to be athletic.
The performance is probably the brain child of the head of Kia’s “Vehicle Test and High Performance” division, Albert Beirmann. Mr. Beirmann was the former head of BMW’s M division, which says a lot about the standard the Stinger would have to meet.
On the inside, the Stinger doesn’t seem to disappoint. The design of the inside seems to be well-crafted. The touchscreen seems to imitate what Mercedes uses, but is a good touch. The layout seems to be driver oriented and the shifter looks bulky and a nice fit for the interior. My favorite part about the interior is the fact that it’s not overwhelming. Like Apple, Kia seems to have taken a minimalist approach, while still providing ample luxurious touch.
The Stinger also features a hatchback. This was a good move on Kia’s part. Most of the cars the Stinger would compete against, don’t have rather large trunks. The Stinger is Kia’s premium car fighter, due to the fact that most of the cars it’s being compared to, are on the higher end of the spectrum.
The main advantage the Stinger would have, is the fact that Kia is an automaker that makes cars for any and everyone. That’s also it’s disadvantage. Like I mentioned in the beginning, even though the brand has came a long way from it’s earliest days, the stigma still remains. I mean, let’s say the Stinger’s price point is in the $50-60k range, most people might not look the Stinger’s way. The prospective buyers would probably say, “That’s nice…for a Kia.” Or their buddies might not even know what it is.
The Stinger will be Kia’s door into breaking away from the old stigma. They have already came a long way from he past. With the introduction of the Stinger, Kia is accelerating itself into a different category. The success of the Stinger might not only shed the old brand image. It might bring more similar models to the Kia line.