The big ace up the Stinger GT’s sleeve is price.
In 2017, Kia debuted a car that would change its brand forever. Packing a powerful twin-turbo V6, genuine rear-wheel-drive-based architecture and a gorgeous liftback body, it ushered in a greater focus on in-car technology and premium feel. Four years later, the revised 2022 Stinger GT keeps it fresh by keeping what’s good while updating creature comforts.
On the outside, the Stinger GT gets some light updates for 2022. The headlights and tail lights are all-new, as are the wheels and badging. A revised rear fascia with four massive canons as exhaust finishers rounds out the exterior revisions. Proof there’s no need to meddle too much with a car’s styling if it already looks great.
Previously, some people have felt that the Stinger GT’s interior didn’t quite have top-notch luxury materials. That’s changed for 2022, provided the Stinger in question is well-optioned. Tick the suede interior box on the spec sheet and everything from the dashboard to the seats to the headliner is covered in glorious sueded material. It looks awesome, feels amazing and likely cuts some glare off the dash fascia. Important stuff when you’re dropping $50k on a car and want to impress.
Equally luxurious is the sheer amount of interior space. Since the Stinger is both an in-betweener in size and a liftback, passenger and cargo room is properly commodious. There’s absolutely heaps of legroom for rear seat occupants and the cargo area can swallow whatever you want, from a few dozen wiper blades to many reasonably-priced cacti. Despite the sloping roofline, rear seat headroom is also quite good with plenty of space for a 1.8-metre tall adult male.
As for in-cabin tech, the 2022 Stinger gets a big upgrade in the form of a 10.25-inch touchscreen with a revised UX. Icons are sleeker, more minimalist and unusually gradated purple-to-blue in a way that calls back to the galaxy print era of Tumblr. It’s definitely a unique look that adds a distinctive flair to the infotainment experience. Also unique is how the Stinger beams a camera view of either blind spot to the gauge cluster display as soon as the corresponding indicator is activated. It’s a confidence-inspiring touch, especially with how the Stinger’s sloping roofline impedes shoulder check visibility.
The Harman Kardon premium sound system is a carryover from the pre-facelift model and frankly, not a particularly impressive one. Staging is only excellent when the DSP is set to on-stage mode, highs aren’t particularly crisp and although the system uses underseat bass drivers, they don’t seem to be doing much as sub-bass is virtually nonexistent.
Featuring a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 368 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, the Stinger GT packs more grunt than Tim Allen. For 2022, it breathes through a valved sports exhaust that offers up a whiff of youthful VQ fantasies in a more mature, demure package. Hitched to an eight-speed automatic, this punchy six makes the Stinger GT good for nought to 100 in around five seconds, enough to tantalize any pilot into banging through the gears down on-ramps.
Sadly, rear-wheel-drive isn’t available in Canada, but the consolation prize of a mechanical limited-slip differential is on offer for the top trim. With all that power and traction, the result is sheer fun whenever you drop the hammer, enough to plaster your face into an adolescent grin and give you affirmation that g-force beats wrinkle cream.
Of course, all this horsepower does come at the expense of fuel economy. I averaged 10.5 L/100 km over my highway-biased week with the Stinger GT while the government’s combined rating is 11.9 L/100 km. Among sporty family-size sedans, only the V8-powered Charger is rated worse. Still, there is a silver lining. On long highway runs, I was averaging somewhere in the eights just by going easy on the throttle and staying out of boost. Road trippers, this one’s for you.
Power is nothing without control, and the Stinger GT recognizes that by packing a chassis made of tiger blood and Adonis DNA. It starts with a rear-wheel-drive-based architecture shared with the Genesis G70, so you know it’ll be good. We’re talking fantastic balance, admirable composure and really silly cornering speeds.
The front suspension may be a MacPherson strut design, it packs enough caster for admirable wheel centering. The rear suspension is a multi-link design, which puts the overall chassis specs on par with a BMW 3-series. A very promising start. Also promising are the tires. Kia’s pulled out all the stops and specced Michelin PS4s, a genuinely world-class summer tire that offers a great balance between refinement and overall grip.
Putting all of this hardware on the road reveals both brilliance and inherent compromise. The Stinger’s steering is well-weighted and packs a reasonably quick ratio rack, although it does feel fairly isolated from the road. The overall handling balance is fairly neutral, with gentle understeer being easily quelled by either lifting or applying more throttle.
The available limited-slip differential specced on our test car allows the rear end to relinquish grip before the front end in tight corners, a potential boon for autocross and driving through deep snow. It also allows the all-wheel-drive system to do its job properly, sending torque to the wheels that can best use it. Proper Brembo brakes bring down speed with confidence and have a progressive pedal feel that’s easy to modulate, something that’s genuinely underappreciated among all the power and handling prowess.
Settle down to a cruising pace and some of the chassis’ limitations become more apparent. Potholes and frost heaves feel boomier in the Stinger’s structure than in other sport sedans, partly because of the long wheelbase, partly because of the open cargo area and partly because the rear dampers don’t quite have enough compression damping to keep up with the Stinger’s weight. The tradeoff is excellent ride comfort over moderately smooth roads and confident turn-in without any snappiness on corner exit. We suspect most Stinger owners will be quite happy with this compromise.
Of course, the big ace up the Stinger GT’s sleeve is price. It starts at $50,490 for the GT Limited trim and only goes up two small steps from there. For $52,995, the GT Elite trim adds Nappa leather, a proper limited-slip differential, adaptive headlamps, adjustable bolsters, the nifty blind spot cameras, a nicer headliner and a heads-up display. An extra $300 on top of that gets the suede package that includes a suede dashboard, suede upholstery and red seat belts. This means you get heaps of equipment as standard, even more kit for not much more money and all the trimmings for less than an average car payment on top of that.
In conclusion, the 2022 Kia Stinger GT is the jack of all trades. It doesn’t have the primal excitement of a Charger 392, the latest technology of a Volkswagen Arteon or but the Stinger blends enough of these cars’ best attributes into one package for sensible money that it simply can’t be ignored.