Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Stinger 2.0L
This is an interesting one. The Stinger is new territory for Kia, venturing into the sporty sedan marketplace generally inhabited by ze Germans and perhaps a few other fringe players. Certainly, in a world where the general public thirsts for crossovers and SUVs, it’ll never be the brand’s top seller.
Hasn’t stopped them from trying, though, and for this I applaud their efforts. Kia decided to give Stinger shoppers a choice of engines, allowing the base model to plunge into the low-$30,000 range. Is it worth a look? Or should one simply upgrade to the tasty 3.3-liter twin-turbo?
Having driven both, there’s no doubt in my mind the bigger mill is a lot more fun. An extra 110 horsepower has that effect, you know. Still, 255 hp in a car tipping the scales at about 3,600 lbs isn’t exactly pokey. For comparison, it should be noted a four-cylinder Camry XSE weighs only about 200 lbs less but makes 50 fewer horses.
For the sum of $32,900, the base 2.0L spec comes with that forced induction inline-four hooked to an eight-speed automatic endowed with paddle shifters. More importantly, that little mill makes 260 lb-ft of twist at a barely-off-idle 1,400 rpm, giving the four-banger Stinger a sprightly feel around town.
Its rear-drive manners play well with enthusiastic driving, although any attempt to race Tran for slips should be left to the twin-turbo V6. It’s a good looking car, even in its base trim, with projector headlamps and LED running lights. Chrome spears dash along the side of the Stinger like flights on a dart while the 18-inch wheels give the impression you spent more money than you actually did. Micro Blue Pearl shown here is a no-charge color.
Your humble author, a human measuring 6’6” in his size 13 stocking feet, has always found it a challenge to enter and exit the Stinger, thanks to a narrow driver’s door opening, a low roofline, and seats that are more heavily bolstered than the average bear. This was the first car in ages in which I hammered my noggin upon entry.
Once inside, though, the Kia cabin is more than welcoming, featuring a large touchscreen (7-inches in the base car) housing Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Select your level of aggo through the dashboard menu, cycling through five drive modes from Eco to Sport. Dual-zone climate control and a raft of charging points keep all hands happy. The base spec chairs are trimmed in leather, adjusting 12 ways for the driver.
Is the 365 hp 3.3L twin-turbo car with its launch control a better engine? You bet it is. At a savings of $6,200, however, the base Stinger is a compelling package. It might not be an Ace of Base winner compared to the other trims in its lineup, but it’s still a damn good sedan. With the way buyer’s tastes are going, we may not see many more of ‘em. Appreciate them while you can.
[Images: Kia Motors]
Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options absent of destination or discounts and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.
Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.
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