The 2023 Stinger is a mid-cycle update of Kia’s sports sedan. What do our experts think? We look at interior options, trim levels, and more.
After a mid-cycle refresh for last year’s model, which we review here, the 2023 Kia Stinger is mostly a carryover sedan that has been reduced to just two models as the previous GT1 trim is no longer available. With swoopy liftback styling, plenty of power, and Kia’s famous value-packed approach to automobiles, the Stinger represents a tremendous counterpoint to the likes a BMW 3– or 5-series, which the Kia sits between from a dimensional perspective.
Unfortunately, the Kia Stinger has not been a big hit, with sales peaking at about 17,000 in 2018 and dropping ever since. However, this under-the-radar RWD four-door sports car is definitely worth consideration from anyone shopping the German competition.
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Uniquely good looks
Tons of technology
Requires 91 octane
Begging for a manual
Big price gap between models
The bargain BMW
With the handling benefits that come with RWD and a base motor producing 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder, it’s no wonder the Kia Stinger makes our list of Best Full-Size Sedans. Upgrade to a GT2 model and you’ll find a 3.3L V6 under the hood, breathing through a pair of turbos, to the tune of 368 horses and 376 torques. In RWD guise, that model will scoot to 60 mph in less than five seconds and both engine setups are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
For an extra $2,200, buyers can add AWD to the Stinger and if it’s a GT2 variant, Torque Vectoring Control is part of the deal. Other performance highlights of this top-spec model include a valved exhaust system that will open up and rip-roar for lead foots, a launch control system, and limited-slip differential for RWD versions.
Both 2023 Kia Stinger trimlines feature fully independent suspension with a 5-link rear configuration, but the GT2 adds electronically-controlled dampers to the equation along with variable gear ratio steering and a beefed-up Brembo braking system with red-finished calipers.
You can expect strong, planted handling with the Stinger thanks to it’s rear-wheel-drive platform and meaty rubber. Base models sit on 18-inch wheels, while the GT2 is upgraded to 19-inchers wrapped in high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport summer rubber that is 30 mm wider out back. Kia has taken the performance aspirations of the Stinger seriously and it shows up when looking through the specs.
Fitted with the base four-cylinder engine, a 2023 Stinger is rated for 22 mpg in city driving and 32 on the highway, figures that drop to 21/29, respectively, with AWD. The twin-turbo V6 naturally fares worse, earning 18 mpg around town and 25 on the highway. This is about on par with a V8-powered Dodge Charger, which we compare to the Stinger here, that earns 16 mpg in the city and matches the Kia on the open road.
Along with slick fastback looks the big rear hatch on a Stinger gives this full-size sedan a healthy cargo bin. It is rated to hold 23 cubic feet of your stuff, relatively high compared to the 14 cubes of space found in a Nissan Maxima’s trunk. The Kia also boasts two more inches of rear-seat legroom versus the Nissan, a review of which you can read here.
Other storage highlights on the Stinger include an underfloor storage tray in the cargo area and a rear bench that split-folds in a 60-40 configuration for flexibility with longer items.
On the comfort front, every 2023 Kia Stinger features leather-wrapped seating for five, with the GT2 model sporting Nappa hides. Black or beige is standard with the option for a striking red leather layout on either model. However, only the top-spec GT2 can be fitted with suede inserts on the seats, door panels, and dashboard. Red contrast stitching carries throughout, adding a notably high-end feel to the Stinger’s cabin.
Every 2023 Stinger has a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment interface sprouting from the center stack. It handles Apple and Android smartphone mirroring as well as Kia Connect. The latter works through an app to let owners start the car remotely and adjust climate settings, locate their Stinger in a crowded parking lot, and even immobilize the car in the event of theft. A thumping 15-speaker audio system by Harman Kardon is included on the GT2 as is wireless phone charging, a digital instrument panel, and trim-exclusive sport gauges that feature a lap timer and G-force meter.
Kia stacks the 2023 Stinger with standard advanced safety tech like forward collision warning with automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with a lane keeping system, rear cross-traffic alert and collison avoidance, and high beam assist. Seven airbags, brake fade compensation, and a driver attention monitor are also included across the board, though you’ll need a GT2 to access the blind spot view monitor. All of this attention to safety helps the Stinger earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS and five stars from NHTSA in crash testing.
Considering the level of features found in a base Kia Stinger GT-Line, the $37,000 pricing is a screaming bargain. On that note, you can check out our latest write-up of car incentives to find out what Kia is currently offering on the Stinger. Notable exterior features include LED lighting, 18-inch wheels and heated side mirrors with power-folding ability.
The 2023 Kia Stinger’s cabin comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats and leather upholstery. Tech highlights include a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation.
Along with the bigger motor, GT2 models come with 19-inch alloys, a hands-free trunk, sunroof, and dynamic low-beam headlights that swivel based on steering input. The GT2 also boasts Nappa leather, a 16-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with ventilation on both front buckets, heated rear outboard positions, and real aluminum cabin trim.
A head-up display projects pertinent vehicle information onto the windshield and the stereo is punched up with a Harman Kardon system. A Surround View and Blind Spot View Monitor is included here, with the latter displaying a live feed of blind spots within the gauge cluster when the indicator is engaged.
Kia built their reputation on an industry-leading warranty that includes 10 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain coverage. The basic vehicle is covered for a 5-year/60,000-mile term, as is 24/7 roadside assistance. There is a 5-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty but there is no complimentary maintenance, which you will find on the likes of a Toyota or Hyundai.
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The RWD sports sedan is a fading breed, heading toward extinction at the hands of the mighty SUV. So if you’re in the market for such a vehicle, the time to act is now. And if you’re considering a BMW or Mercedes, you would be remiss to skip over a 2023 Kia Stinger. While it may not possess the so-called “brand cachet” of a Bimmer roundel or Benz three-pointed star, the Stinger will smoke both Germans on the value-proposition. For just under $54,000, you can be ripping around in an Ascot Green Stinger GT2 with a suede-lined cabin, or at least I would be. A comparably powered BMW 540i starts nearly $10,000 higher.