2022 Kia Stinger GT Review: Life in the Touring Lane

Kshitij Sharma
by Kshitij Sharma


Engine: 3.3L V6 Turbo
Output: 368 hp, 376 lb-ft
Transmission: 8AT, RWD, AWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 17/24/20
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 13.7/9.6/11.9
Starting Price (USD): $37,135 (2.5L, inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): $53,490 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $52,345 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $55,395 (inc. dest.)

The Kia Stinger is a real sport sedan, period.

“Is that a Kia?” Remarked a passerby as I kneeled before the 2022 Kia Stinger GT looking for the right front three-quarter angle. “Sure is.” I grinned. The disbelief on the face was apparent. She proceeded to go around the car taking numerous pictures inside and out. “It feels almost like a BMW.” she concluded and that’s when it hit me.

Get a Quote on a New Kia Stinger

If you had told someone that one day Kia would make a grand tourer, you would have been laughed out of the room. But here we are. It might have been a bit of a compromise compared to the German lot but it’s still a true sport sedan. With the 2022 Stinger, Kia is looking to further cement its position as a true rival to the German three thanks to a new interior package, a tech upgrade, a bit more power, and a new badge. And if the aforementioned conversation is any indication, I’d say it’s working.

What’s New?

You will need to have the 2021 Stinger and the new one side by side to differentiate them visually. The identifiable visual differences are new geometric alloy wheels and a new quad-exhaust setup at the rear. Apart from that, the 2022 Stinger looks identical to the 2021 model. More prominent changes lie inside the cabin and under the hood. Kia now offers the Stinger with the 10.25-inch UVO system as standard. So while you gain real estate and visual clarity, you lose wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The biggest change, however, is the new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-pot that now replaces the 2.0-liter engine. It gains 45 hp and now makes 300 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Kia claims that the fuel economy remains unaltered despite the capacity increase and power bump. It pairs with the same eight-speed automatic as its more powerful sibling. Kia has also made most of its driver assistance systems standard with the 2022 model. So you now get almost everything, including blind-spot detection with collision avoidance, Highway Driving Assist, rear cross-traffic avoidance, navigation based smart cruise control, and auto emergency braking as standard.

The improved dwellings

Upmarket would be the word for this cabin. While the layout is identical to the previous Stinger, the suede package really makes a difference in how the cabin looks and feels. Brushed aluminium inlays on the door panels complement the contrasting red stitching and black suede on the door panels. There is black suede and red stitching on the dash and the seats as well. It feels soft to the touch and on par with its German rivals. Unfortunately, the package is not available in the US and is specific to the Canadian market.

The front seats, especially the driver’s perch feels a tad flat but is comfortable with ample side support. Speaking of, our tester came with 12-way power-adjustable driver’s and passenger seats. In addition, the driver’s perch also gets adjustable side bolstering and an extendable squab but the passenger gets left out. Lastly, given, it was a summertime drive, the front ventilated seats were well appreciated.

While legroom is ample in the rear as well, taller passengers will feel a dearth of headroom due to a sloping roofline. Also, you can technically seat three in the rear bench, the middle seat is best used only in emergency scenarios and for short distances only. In true GT fashion though, you do get a massive trunk with a 23.3 cu-ft (660 liters) of luggage capacity. Oh, you also get a set of red seatbelts exclusive to the Suede Package, sorry America.

Tech factor

While the analog instrument cluster is easy to read, and well laid out, Kia should really have switched it in for a digital one. Or at least went for one like in the Elantra N. It is completely analog and yet looks quite handsome and unique. The cluster on the Stinger, however, looks rather mass-produced. It also comes with the same 10.25-inch UVO screen found on every top-trim Kia. So the missing wireless phone projection and USB-C slots are also part of the package.

But there is another problem. The UVO system while intuitive enough is quite the reach from your relaxed seating position. It feels like operating your living room TV without the remote. I drove the Stinger immediately after the GLB 35 and constantly found myself hunting for a secondary method to interact with the screen because it just felt more organic.

Apart from the clunky touchscreen controls for the HUD, the color display works rather well. It performed exceptionally well under the harsh Canadian sun which was quite impressive. Also, the 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is a brilliant companion for long drives.

Same engine bigger power (slightly)

The 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 now makes 368 hp, three more than before thanks to a new exhaust and 376 lb-ft of peak torque. Despite the new exhaust, the note, at startup at least, is quite underwhelming. I expected a low growl, but it was more like a subdued bark. On the move, however, things change rather drastically. It makes its peak torque from as low as 1,300 rpm giving the GT a very strong mid-range and great tractability. Regardless of the gear you’re in, the Stinger pulls effortlessly. Interestingly, the eight-speed automatic leaves nothing to be desired. It’s quick for a torque converter and very precise.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Kia K5 GT Review: An Almost-Perfect Everyday Sport Sedan

Mash the throttle and it kicks down two almost in an instant and the copious amounts of mid-range torque does the rest. Quick overtakes and fast freeway merges are child’s play. It doesn’t however let you have full manual control over gear shifts. You can manually override the gearbox by pulling at the paddle shifters but if you let it be for six seconds or more, the Stinger retakes control. Unless you’re in Sport mode.

Shifting into Sport sharpens up the throttle by a fair degree and also makes the engine sound sportier, especially near the redline. It is synthesized through the speakers but it accompanies a slap in the back of the head so you don’t mind. The torque delivery is almost instantaneous and quite addictive. So much in fact that you might lose sight of how much fuel you’re consuming.

With all the horsing around the Stinger returned 20.8 mpg (11.6 L/100km) overall. So you do need to keep a light foot if you’re looking for a decent mileage figure.

Segue into ride and handling

In comfort mode, the ride is almost as pliant and absorbent as the K5 and you will have no complaints in the city. Even in Sport mode, it doesn’t feel too jagged or eager. Yes, the steering becomes considerably sharper, so does the throttle response but it never loses its friendliness which makes it especially well suited for highway stints. There is a bit of body roll but it isn’t unsettling.

Most impressively, the rear-biased AWD system and a balanced chassis keep the Stinger neutral and predictable in the corners. It is simply effortless to drive regardless of your skill level. The Brembo brake setup is impeccable and provides plenty of feel and stopping power. Simply put, even with a loaded car you can enjoy the corners and not get yelled at.

If you’re looking for AMG or BMW M levels of performance, look elsewhere as its limits are not quite that high. This is a relaxed cruiser that is meant to effortlessly cover great distances and it does that fantastically. I did a 250 km round trip in about 3 hours and had barely any fatigue. Neither did any of the passengers which included two adults and a child prone to getting cranky on long drives.

Who is it for?

While the V6 Turbo starts from $44,735 including destination, Kia introduced a new Stinger GT Line trim for the 2022 model year. With a 2.5-liter four-pot replacing the 2.0-liter, the new entry-level Stinger starts from $37,135 including destination. It justifies the price bump with a 45 hp increment and a slew of new standard features. AWD is optional in The States and costs $2,200 extra regardless of the trim.

While a direct replica of the trim we have here isn’t available in the US, the GT2 with AWD comes the closest and tips the scales at $53,490. You can even opt for the US exclusive Scorpion package that adds more aggression to the aesthetics thanks to a rear spoiler, different wheels, and carbon-fiber trim inside the cabin for $1,295.

SEE ALSO: 2021 BMW M440i Cabriolet Review: Cloth-Top Cruiser

In Canada, the 2022 Kia Stinger GT is only available with the Turbo V6/AWD combo and prices start from $52,345 CAD including destination. The one we have here is the GT Elite Suede package that is exclusive to Canada and is priced at $55,395 CAD. With the improvements in styling and a slight update in power, Kia hopes to attract customers who have cars like the Audi S4, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and Mercedes-AMG C43 on their list. That said, Kia should consider offering the Suede package in the US as well as it dramatically enhances the overall appeal of the cabin.

Verdict 2022 Kia Stinger GT Review

While you have to squint and hunt for a badge to differentiate the Stinger’s rivals from their regular trims, you will not mistake 2022 Kia Stinger GT for anything else. It might not have the sharpness of a BMW M440 or the Mercedes-AMG C43 but that doesn’t make the Stinger any less impressive. While not a corner carver, it is still enjoyable in the corners thanks to its chassis balance and is also a fantastic long-distance tourer. Plus, the standard driver assistance systems package surpasses all its German rivals. Just as an example, Mercedes requires you to pay $1,700 extra for adaptive cruise control on the AMG C43. The only real issue with the Kia is the badge.

The new GT Line with the 2.5-liter engine will find many buyers but the 3.3 V6 Turbo will probably be overlooked in favor of the Germans despite being at least $4,000 cheaper than the cheapest equivalent BMW or Mercedes. It’s not fair to the Kia, but it is the way it is. While the Europeans at that price point might be the default choice, anyone looking for a sport sedan should at least give the Stinger GT a whirl (especially in Canada) before making their final decision.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.


  • Great balance between ride and handling
  • A fast long-distance cruiser
  • Looks great


  • Behind cabin tech compared to the Germans
  • No wireless phone projection
  • The badge
Kshitij Sharma
Kshitij Sharma

More by Kshitij Sharma

Join the conversation