Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Stinger 2.0L

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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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 Guy
Matthew Guy

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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6 of 53 comments
  • Bd2 Bd2 on Oct 11, 2018

    Kia is probably pretty pleased w/ sales of the GT (demand for the GT is stronger than they anticipated); the 2.0T, otoh, hasn't exactly been running off the lots. The 2.0T getting replaced by the 2.5T (300 HP), however, should boost sales of the base engine trims.

  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Oct 11, 2018

    Just too many things working against it for me. The Germans are faster and get better gas mileage while not being much smaller inside. It looks an awful lot like my '13 Optima. And IIRC it has no LSD.

    • See 3 previous
    • Bd2 Bd2 on Oct 11, 2018

      Only part that looks like the '13 Optima is the greenhouse (front and rear fascias are completely different). And the greenhouse of the current Optima is not nearly as sleek.

  • Tassos Unlike Tim, I don't use this space as a wastebasket for ANYTHING BUT a proper used car.If you seriously need a car AND you are as destitute as Tim's finds imply, HERE IS A PROPER ONE FOR YOUR NEEDS:You can probably get it for only $4k, WITH Leather, Factory Navigation, plenty of room and a V6. even considered getting it myself as an extra reliable car.
  • Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.