By on July 13, 2018

Image: Miami Lakes Kia/YouTube

Kia’s Stinger burst onto the automotive landscape in what seems like the rear-drive sedan’s twilight years, enlivening the lower end of the market with its pleasing profile, available twin-turbo V6, and palate of eye-catching colors. It’s one of those colors — Sunset Yellow — that’s causing headaches for the automaker.

Apparently, the Stinger might decide to shed that paint one day. 

As reported by Australia’s Car Advice, the vibrant shade is providing Kia with anything but sunny days. There’s now a global stop-sale order on Stingers dressed up in Big Bird’s preferred ensemble, as an oil residue mixed in with the paint isn’t lending itself to proper adhesion.

In other words, chips, cracking, and flaking are all things to look forward to if you’re the owner of a yellow Stinger. The automaker has offered to respray all affected vehicles under warranty. Thankfully for Kia, Sunset Yellow only appeared on a limited edition GT variant, so the price tag for Operation Topcoat won’t be as consequential as if it were a more popular shade. Just 400 of these Stingers were allocated to the U.S. market.

We should probably use this opportunity to take the Stinger’s sales temperature. The first Stingers trickled onto (and off) U.S. dealer lots last November and reached a monthly high in May, when 1,761 of the rear- or all-wheel-drive Koreans found American suitors. June saw 1,579 sales, bringing the year-to-date total to 8,638 vehicles.

2018 Kia Stinger GT2 RWD - Image: Kia

On a YTD basis, these figures make the Stinger — something of a niche vehicle in today’s market, but one with five-passenger, liftback utility — the third worst-selling vehicle in Kia’s stable, though its sales are more than double that of the front-drive Cadenza, which pulled in 3,301 buyers in 2018. Don’t get us started about the K900.

Put another way, the Stinger’s TYD sales are a tad more than that of the Lexus LS and GS, combined.

In Canada, a country with a population one-tenth that of the U.S., sales are almost exactly one-tenth of America’s tally. Over the first six months of 2018, some 876 Stingers invaded driveways in the Great White North.

[Image: Miami Lakes Kia/YouTube, Kia Motors]

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77 Comments on “Kia’s Stinger Has a Big Yellow Problem...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Stinger eh? Take off.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    Wait, how many K900s are they selling?

    Does the dealer have to talk to Mr. Kia if I order one?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    These don’t look good in yellow, so don’t buy it in yellow

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The worst looking colors are often the best looking cars at night/twilight, some reds for example. But I’ve seen this hideous shade of yellow on Hyundai Velosters and Scoupes.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    “In other words, chips, cracking, and flaking are all things to look forward to if you’re the owner”

    Gee sounds like any model of Subaru. One of the most common complainants on owner forums on an other wise satisfactory automobile.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The one thing the Japanese manufacturers, in particular, seem to fail at getting right is paint quality. I’ve heard plenty of similar complaints about Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. Ford and GM were using really thin paint in the 90s, but quit doing that.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        That was one of my big shockers about my first Toyota.

        My old 2004 F150, rode hard, didn’t own it until it had almost 70,000 miles on it and I kept it to 120,000 miles. Hardly a chip.

        My 2010 Highlander, bought at 46,000 miles (and it had been touched up at that point) is now at roughly 120,000 miles and looks like I drive down gravel roads 3 in off the bumper of a bro-dozer. I look at it cross-eyed and it chips down to the primer.

        WTF Toyota?

        • 0 avatar
          ernest

          A good part of that has to do with the shape of the front end. A high, blunt pickup nose works wonders to shrug off chips. On our Camry and the Charger, the chips go all the way back past the windshield. Once a year mobile touch-up service keeps me sane. (We use gravel, not salt here in the winter).

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Fortunately NM uses grave too.

            The last time I saw a truly rusty vehicle with NM plates it was either very old or had obviously been in an accident.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        I worked several years in OEM coatings (auto paint) for the major German coating manufacturer. Honda came to us in the ’90s and IIRC tried our coating system on Accords – a couple of gray tones I think. They liked it but stopped using us after around 6 months or so. Cost was one issue. Another was support for the JDM coatings manufacturers who really produced crap paint. Interestingly Nissan used our coating systems for several years without problems. It would be interesting to know what company supplies the paint for different manufacturers – that would probably explain a lot at least for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Maksym

        I own a 2006 GMC Sierra SLT with the two-tone White/Doeskin paint. The top half is white, the bottom part of the truck is gold. The white paint, despite being meticulously maintained, has completely lost the clear coat on the hood and roof. Some of the holes in the clear coat have actually begun completely stripping down to the metal and started rusting, especially on the roof. It’s actually really pathetic, every morning when I climb onto the highway I can see a bunch of clear coat flakes fluttering off the hood as if it snowed last night. I’m gonna have to respray the whole damn truck.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      Subaru also has paper thin sheet metal. First week I owned it, it looked like it had been through a hail storm with all the dents.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    The anti-Yellow tone of an article about a Korean car is most intriguing.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Agreed with Subaru and lesser paint / metal quality. OTOH, my ’05 Legacy GT isn’t doing THAT bad. Some dings and scratches, and some faded, fatigued plastic, but, after 13.5 years / 140k miles in the hot CA sun.. not that bad really.

    Actually interested in a Stinger, but no way I touch the Yellow.. It’s not like has “RUF” on the trunk or anything..

  • avatar
    labelnerd

    Hey y’all. It’s not just yellow that has this problem. It is at least the following colors also……..red, blue, black and maybe one or two others. Yellow is only getting the press because of its “limited” production and Kia’s desire to keep this quiet. In reality, every Stinger may have this problem. Go to the stingerforum.org blog to read for yourself.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    I have a bit of experience with Korean paint. Our old XG350, beautiful finish. The 11 & 13 Sonatas? Not so much. Lots of orange peel.

    Believe it or not, my Chevoo Aveo had the nicest coat of paint on it. Real deep and with a coat of wax, shined up like a mirror!

  • avatar
    IBx1

    What? A kia with paint quality problems? Oh no, say it isn’t so. I am simply just so shocked and surprised to hear this.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Yeah, it’s not like this has ever happened with, say, every other known car manufacturer. The ‘man bites dog’ aspect here is a brand actually owning up to the issue, instead of telling their customers to GFY.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    They can sell these in NYS where the paint comes off license plates. I’ve seen several plates with no paint left.

    • 0 avatar

      My truck, a 2008, has a mostly unreadable back plate. The plates from my 2003 car, the same blue and white, are 99 percent intact, so either they changed plate makers or paints. The unreadable plate is on the back of the truck, and I think it has already saved me a Red Light Cam ticket (taxi ahead stops suddenly to discharge passenger and I’m gridlocked). I have no plan to replace a plate owned by the State of NY…..

      Back on topic, I applaud Kia for Yellow. I’d not buy it, but anything not grey, silver, grey-silver, silver-grey or white is worthy of support. I cry when I look at any euro car configurators, because they appear to use colors. My current car is a color shift green, my next car is Emerald Green and my Ace of Base Jetta is a nice medium blue.

      I’ve never had a paint issue with my Germans, OE Germany or Mexico, or my Americans. My MDX is a Canada build, and the paint is still nice after ten years, although silver. :( . MDX had one good color per year, I missed it that year. The orient blue metallic on my BMW was still shiny and pretty when the bottom of the car rusted out……

      The 90’s Accord we all know and love always has falling apart paint on the hood,

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        My ’04 black BMW was still pretty shiny on the hood by the time I sold it almost 3 years ago – no rust either.

        My wife’s 2003 yellow Mini, which she refuses to sell, is just beginning to show some fading… and no rust issues, even though it is driven year around in the salt belt. The vinyl strips – factory applied – are beginning to crackle, show wear on the edges.

        My old 2001 black Honda Accord coupe had a lot of peeling issues, showing the white undercoat underneath. Not happy with that paint job, for sure.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My local dealer has a yellow Stinger on their showroom turntable, which I’ve threatened my wife with buying.

    I guess it will have to be sent back for a repaint.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      What I find interesting is how much faster even the 2.0T Stinger is than the Optima Turbo. It seems like the Koreans finally figured out how to get all of the horses to show up for the party (which has been a past criticism of their engines.)

      At my budget level the choice would be either 2.0T Premium (all the toys and high end audio) or GT Base – big motor plus nothing. I wish you could get the manual trans & limited slip in the 4 cyl Stinger like will be available in the 4 cyl G70.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Still haven’t figured this one out yet. Spend lots of money to make a sporty RWD sedan, spend lots of money to advertise said sedan.

    Force consumers to choose between a hilarious 4 cylinder hamster engine or a bargain basement V6 and then charge ridiculous prices for said embarrassment. They really hyped this one up, to the point I even took notice. But the result was extremely underwhelming.

    • 0 avatar
      Serpens

      How is the TT V6 bargain basement? Care to back your statement up at all?

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        Because it’s not a rip-roaring vee eight. In which case, Hummer would be better off with a Charger Scat Pack in spite of its comparatively terrible interior.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          No thanks on the Charger, I bought the SS sedan with the 6 speed manual.
          I’ll remember next time though that the measure of how good a sports car can be is measured by its interior .

          • 0 avatar
            Meat

            Hey hummer, the Chevy SS isn’t a sports car. Neither is the Stinger.

            And as a side note, interior quality matters in anything that isn’t a racecar because well people drive cars…from the inside.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Yes, sports sedan.

            Interior quality is good but it doesn’t define a car that has a specific mission other than outright luxury.. No one wants a Rolls Royce with a 2.0T engine but there seems to be plenty of buyers for chargers with 6.4L V8s.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Because it’s a V6, it’s an entry level engine no matter how air is fed to it. A proper sports car should have at minimum an inline 6, a V6 should be left for trucks or rental spec cars.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          3.3 TT V6 = 12.2 quarter mile = entry level…

          I’ll keep that in mind.

          FWIW both Stinger engines are driving the rear wheels as god intended.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “3.3 TT V6 = 12.2 quarter mile = entry level”

            The Stinger GT runs more like a 12.9 quarter mile time. 12.2 is Camaro SS territory.

            That’s still a good time for a $40K car with a useable back seat though.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I mentally reversed the last digit of the GTs quarter mile and the GT AWD quarter mile time.

            GT = 12.9
            GT AWD = 13.2

            (Car & Drivers instrumented test times.)

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            You can buy a 12 second, rear or awd car at a KIA dealer. When I was in high school a 12 second car was track only material. We live in a golden era…enjoy it while it lasts, 1974 is on the horizon.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Guess all those Miatas and E30 chassis 4 cylinder BMWs weren’t real sports cars. Pity…I sure liked them.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Ah, so my XC70 is a proper sports car! Good to know!

          (Well, that’s the level of reply that blanket statements about what “proper sports cars” need in terms of cylinders rather than *performance* deserves…)

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, in 2018 I don’t know if I’d call any 6-cylinder “bargain basement” (not even the Outlander). Plus the Stinger GT is not a slow car.

      That said, looking at the Genesis lineup it is plain to see that the 5.0L is positioned as the “premium” option over the 3.3T.

      I’m hoping Kia eventually adds two more cylinders to the Stinger. I think tuned for performance instead of luxury car smoothness the Tau could rival the Lexus 5.0L in the “F” line.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        The way the cars priced as it is now should make the V6 the base engine and the V8 premium.

        V6 is still very much a base engine that I would expect in a rental, not as something contending for my money and a spot in my driveway.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Well, it’s your money, but for my checkbook I consider a RWD car with a 365hp V6 for a little over $40K to be an acceptable market position.

          The full-whack $51K trim would be too much of a reach though.

        • 0 avatar
          9Exponent

          I expect a CRT display, as that was the common technology when my brain was still young and malleable.

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          I remember when a V6 was considered a “secretary’s car”.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            And I remember when the new Lincoln Mark XIII came out and Hot Rod Magazine put a little blurb in their pages to warn the readership that it was capable of a 15 quarter mile. They didn’t want anyone to get embarrassed in a stoplight drag race.

            Now a Lacrosse Avenir with V6 + 9 speed auto will do standing ¼-mile: 14.1 sec @ 101 mph. My old V8 1987 Cutlass Supreme wouldn’t do a 14 sec quarter mile if you threw it off a cliff that was a mile high.

            Times change.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            With 3.73 to 4.10 gears and limited slip, it….well OK it still wouldn’t do 15’s, but it would feel like it, and still pin you to the seat a bit.

            It was Malaise Era (leftover), so it had to suck from the factory, V8 embarrassed by Hot Hatches, and all.

          • 0 avatar
            Bimmer

            @Principal Dan

            When exactly did Lincoln Mark 13 come out?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Sorry I meant the last Mark

            Mark VIII I meant. The Intec V8 wonder.

            Looking online I’m seeing 14.8 listed as a stock time.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            The Mark 13…I think it became the 6000 SUX of RoboCop fame

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            And for the record, my Fiesta ST would outrun that Mk VII in the 1/4. Awesome time to be alive.

          • 0 avatar

            Americans Drive a V8 ! The six (usually inline) is the secretary/skinflint uncle’s car. A four ? Isn’t that an MG or Triumph ?

            I agree times change, but I still won’t pay over 40K for a 4 banger….sorry. You can toss in two more pistons at that price…..

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          12 second rental cars are not really something rental companies are interested in. Believe me, I try to get every rental I’ve ever had to run a 12 second quarter…sometimes in reverse. They don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Just wrestled with the login/commenting system to say – Art gets it.

            If anyone ever says to me “___ cyl or ____ blank configuration means it’s not worthy” the first question out of my mouth is: “What are the performance stats, what is it capable of?”

    • 0 avatar
      Carroll Prescott

      Hummer hasn’t yet found reality. Try Bill Clinton.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    Its a Korean copy of a Dodge Charger R/T 5.7L (in its top dawg model) and the R/T is quicker! Then you have the scat pack 392 and the hellcat on top of them.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Having driven both the Charger may be faster but the Stinger has better handling. It really depends on what you want out of your car-brute strength or nimbleness.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The R/T 5.7L is slower than the RWD Stinger GT. The Kia’s acceleration is about the same as the Chevy SS so its numbers fall in between the 5.7L and 6.4L Chargers.

      There’s a nice chart at this link:
      caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-chevrolet-ss-in-depth-model-review-2017-chevrolet-ss-performance-and-driving-impressions-review-car-and-driver-page-4

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        I would buy another R/T, I’d rather be slower and have Uconnect. I do like that red paint on the Kia though.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

          Give UVO a chance, Sub-600. Uconnect is a great system but in my experience Kia’s infotainment is just as quick, and carries the additional benefit of using hard buttons for seat heat, etc. versus burying them behind sub-menus. I don’t know how they compare in voice-activation as I only use it when using CarPlay.

    • 0 avatar
      ozzypriest

      What? Charger R/T is not anywhere near the 3.3 Stinger’s speed – it is way quicker to 60, and way faster top end. And the 396 engine is barely faster than the Kia 3.3. I know not of what you speak, except it’s wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “way quicker”
        “way faster top end”
        “barely faster”

        No need to fanboy out on the Stinger. I’d say the Kia is a nontrivial amount faster than the R/T, but then the 392 is also a nontrivial amount faster than the Stinger GT.

        caranddriver.com/reviews/2018-kia-stinger-gt-test-review

        caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-r-t-scat-pack-test-review

        We aren’t talking about just 1 tenth or 1 MPH here.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Of my 2000s-era cars, the only one that had really bad paint was the Forester. It looked nice when waxed but chipped and scratched super easily. Both Lexuses are excellent and the Ford C-Max is quite good (although couldn’t withstand the cyclist who crashed into it while it was parked last week, causing a $1000 dent/set of to-the-metal scratches to the rear quarter panel :( ).

  • avatar
    carguy67

    Yellow has always been the ‘wild hair’ color. You see that one yellow one on the lot and think “I’m going to be different, bold, and go for yellow.” A month later you hate yourself.

    Blue: Sky
    Green: Grass, trees
    Black: Badass, but you get to wash it three times a week
    Red: Great if your persona matches the color
    Silver, grey, white: Hide in plain sight, but … resale
    Yellow: Urine

    Disclosure: Been tempted a couple times but … nah.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Paint issues are probably one of the more annoying things I’m dealing with on my Crown Vic, that “fleet white” paint ford used at that time flakes just standing still. The front end isnt too chipped up weirdly enough, its the back end, roof, and pillars that flake like a snake with old skin.

    That 90’s Chrysler-esque hidden-hatch trunk is something more modern cars should have with all the short trunks and slopey roofs. Its completely absurd just how tiny modern trunk openings have become.

    Note to TTAC:
    I had to log in several times to post this, the website must be bugged again.

  • avatar
    BryanC

    I was at the mall last night here in San Jose, California, and walked by the Kia Stinger store. That’s right – they have an entire store dedicated to showing off this car. I was surprised they would go to the effort and expense. But evidently this is a strategically important model for them.

    The car in the store was red.

  • avatar
    Weskyvet

    Eh. Doesn’t matter NO sports car looks good in yellow. Even very few muscle cars could actually pull off yellow. The only things I’ve ever seen look good in yellow are the Buick GSX, the GTO, and the Cuda. Everything else just looks odd in yellow.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      OG Boss 302, OG Mach 1, and the NA Miata pulled off yellow IMHO. I think the last Fox Body Mustangs (93?) With the chrome 5 spokes wore it well too. The Stinger I don’t think would.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    This is a car I really wanted to like. I drove it, a 330, an S3, and an Alfa the same day. It just felt bigger and heavier than the other 3. However it definitely won on bang for your buck. I like the looks of the G70 so much more though…enough I would have waited.

  • avatar
    mzr

    Kia paint is bad all-around,my Sedona scratches if you look at it the wrong way. And the people who already have a yellow Stinger, good luck getting anything fixed by Kia.

    • 0 avatar
      labelnerd

      Kia is currently repainting every yellow Stinger. If not acceptable, the owner can get another color or a full refund of all monies spent. When would BMW, Audi, Ford or anyone else in the mainstream market do this??

  • avatar
    arach

    This article makes me want to cry!

    I HATE HOW UGLY SO MANY CARS ARE TODAY.

    I hate black cars, blue cars, red cars…

    Give me Yellow, Orange, Bright Green…

    This car’s most compelling feature to me was actually the color. Now I find out the one thing that made this car amazing and different from all the ugly cars everyone else makes is 1. going to be discontinued and 2. isn’t even going to be a good used value…

    I was really counting on the 2.0t coming out next year in the beautiful yellow, and now its not :(

    URGH.

  • avatar
    labelnerd

    I actually own a silver 2.0 and it is the extremely fun to drive with no paint issues. I’ve seen the yellow up close and it is just a plain, dull yellow, not metallic, pearlescent or otherwise appealing in any way. But then again I guess those getting yellow don’t necessarily care about that detail since it is definitely eye-catching regardless. Also…..Kia is sending offers to the yellow owners offering to repaint the entire car or buy it back plus extra cash. I don’t think BMW or Audi would do that without being sued first.

  • avatar
    hifi

    It’s a Kia. When they’re good, they’re good. But when they’re bad, watch out. All of them deteriorate at a very fast clip.


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