The 2021 Kia Stinger is an affordable sports sedan (or hatchback) that’s loaded with features. With four doors and a large trunk space, the newest Stinger feels larger than a standard hatchback. Indeed, reviewers have said it is capable of competing against the high-end Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe. Kia seems to have pulled out all the stops to create a luxury interior that’s loaded with technology and connectivity. Base models are available in a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. However, the GT model comes with a more powerful twin-turbo V6 engine. If you want a luxury driving experience at a reasonable price, you’ll probably love the 2021 Kia Stinger. Here’s everything you need to know.
Kia has announced that it will give the Stinger a modest exterior facelift for the 2022 model, complete with new headlights and taillights and different interior trim. So it’s no surprise that the 2021 Stinger receives no real changes at all to its exterior. The latest model is exactly the same on the outside as the 2020 version. Don’t be discouraged by this fact, though. The Stinger remains an attractive and stylish car in all respects. There’s really no need to wait until 2022.
Engine and Performance
As mentioned, the 2021 Stinger has two available engines. Both can be configured with rear- or all-wheel drive. The twin-turbo V6 engine has been praised by reviewers for its powerful and peppy performance. The eight-speed standard automatic transmission has been called “lightning quick.” The paddle shifters have been singled out for their responsiveness and ease of use. The GT model offers terrific straight-line speed. If there’s one complaint with the 2021 Stinger’s performance, it seems to involve the rear suspension. Some critics believe it tends to waver when taking a corner. The GT model also boasts ultra responsive Brembo brakes that provide quick stops.
Trimlines and Prices
The 2021 Kia Stinger comes in four trimlines. They range in price from $34,135 for the base model through to $51,435 for the highest end version. The middle of the pack “GT1 model” appears to be the one most recommended by critics. It contains most of the bells and whistles while the price remains under $50,000.
The GT1 comes equipped with a sunroof, built-in navigation, an eight-inch infotainment display, Harman-Kardon audio, automatic high-beam headlamps, a power-adjustable steering column, ventilated front seats, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and a driver-attention monitor. For more details about every trim, check out Kia’s website. The four trims and their prices are as follows.
- GT-Line: $34,135
- GT: $40,635
- GT1: $46,535
- GT2: $51,435
In terms of its interior, the Stinger has been improved with new technology and luxury appointments – all of which are aimed at closing the gap with the high-end Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series. The Stinger’s rear seat has been given kudos for being exceptionally comfortable compared to other cars in its class. The trunk volume is also best-in-class, offering much more room than competing vehicles. The standard infotainment center console is large and bright, making it easy to use and operate. On the downside, the 2021 Stinger’s front-door pockets are on the smallish side. It’s a small quibble for an otherwise impressive interior.
Technology and Safety Features
The Stinger’s infotainment system is a mix of a touchscreen and physical buttons. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both come standard. However, the touchscreen’s response times have been criticized for lagging a bit. Extra USB ports are sparse in the vehicle, though a Wifi hotspot is available.
As for safety features, the new Stinger earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It also garnered a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Stinger also has nearly every advanced driver assist option that is currently available — except for self-parking and automated rear braking. Key safety features that are included are blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking, and lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist.
Kia’s powertrain warranty is considered to be legendary in the automotive world. It really goes above-and-beyond other brands in terms of its length of coverage. However, unlike its premium peers, the Stinger offers no complimentary scheduled maintenance. The limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles, Meanwhile the powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles.
If there’s one significant knock on the 2021 Kia Stinger it concerns the car’s fuel economy. Neither the standard four-cylinder or the V6 engine offers gas mileage that is as good as competing models. The Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel-economy ratings for each of the Stinger’s engines fall below those of comparable vehicles. On rear-wheel-drive models, the base engine gets 22 MPG in the city and 29 on the highway. All-wheel-drive sees those numbers drop to 21 MPG and 29 MPG.
Opting for the V6 engine naturally sees the fuel efficiency fall even further. The RWD version of the more powerful Stinger gets 17 MPG and 25 MPG. The AWD V6 actually matches these numbers, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice fuel economy for AWD capabilities.
- More luxurious interior.
- Best-in-class trunk volume.
- Lengthy warranty coverage that is better than competing cars.
- No changes at all to the vehicle’s exterior for the 2021 model year.
- Poor fuel economy that lags rival vehicles.
- Weak rear suspension that makes cornering difficult.
The Last Word
The Stinger remains a great choice for anyone who wants a luxury and powerful sport sedan at an affordable price. If you feel priced out of competing Audi and BMW vehicles, can still get into the Stinger. It also competes with the likes of the Dodge Charger and Challenger, or the Corvette. Stinger drivers will enjoy the car for its engine and performance, as well as its comfortable and roomy interior. While the fuel economy is not the best, the lengthy warranty coverage more than makes up for it. The 2021 Kia Stinger is worth kicking the tires on. It’s a fun car and the price is right.