Nissan coined the term 4-door sports car when it first introduced its Maxima. It seems Kia has taken the term to heart and threw in a hatch to boot as this comparison between the 2020 Kia Stinger and 2020 Nissan Maxima shows.
2020 Kia Stinger
Above Average: Plenty of power; precise steering; unbeatable warranty; great suspension, strong performance, optional all-wheel drive; liftback design provides useful storage
Below Average: Gets expensive with options; some interior materials could be nicer; handling still doesn’t match Audi and BMW at the limits; liftback design makes rear headroom a bit tight for taller passengers
Consensus: No longer content just to be the bargain player, with the 2020 Stinger, Kia is going up against the big boys, namely the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. It offers a sporty if unrefined turbocharged 4-cylinder base engine and a powerful twin-turbo V6 upgrade at thousands less than its German competitors. Its handling treads a good line between sporty and comfortable, and its liftback design offers more than 23.3 cubic feet of storage and 40.3 with the seats folded.
2020 Nissan Maxima
Above Average: Standard V6; competitive pricing; excellent CVT; sporty exterior styling; lots of standard features.
Below Average: No all-wheel drive option; small rear seat and trunk; steering can feel a bit vague.
Consensus: The 2020 Nissan Maxima is an entry-level luxury sedan that offers sharp styling and a potent V6. Its handling is a nice mix between sporty and compliant, but the steering can be light at higher speeds, and unlike most sport sedans, it’s front-wheel drive only, without the option of all-wheel drive. It does offer a good number of standard features at a low starting price, and its resale values are respectable.
Stinger vs. Maxima: Five or four doors?
Manufacturers take a number of different approaches in the midsize sedan segment, from very practical and comfortable to more luxurious, with some emphasizing sportiness. It is into this latter category that the 2020 Kia Stinger and 2020 Nissan Maxima fall. The Stinger comes with a turbocharged 4-cylinder and an optional and extremely potent twin-turbo V6, while the Maxima makes do with a single engine choice, a powerful V6. Other than competing with each other, they both are aiming at the big dogs, the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4 and A5. Their efforts are admirable, with both the Kia and the Nissan offering a suspension that’s tuned for a bit of sportiness but also being comfortable enough to be a daily driver. The steering is also nicely weighted, although it can be a bit vague in the Nissan and heavy in the Kia.
The Stinger seems to be more dedicated to sporting aspirations, coming standard with rear-drive and offering all-wheel drive across all trims. The Nissan is front-wheel drive only, although it still corners respectably. The Kia also uses an 8-speed automatic to the Nissan’s continuously variable transmission (CVT), although as CVTs go, it’s very good and actually emulates an automatic. Both of these cars are good values, starting in the low $30s and come with standard features that include driver-assist and safety offerings. They both also seat five, although the Nissan’s backseat is a bit tight and the Kia’s liftback makes headroom a bit tight. The Stinger’s hatchback makes it the clear winner for cargo carrying, as its 23.3 cubic feet of space with the rear seat up bests the Nissan’s 14.3 cubic-foot trunk. Resale value for both is above average. The Stinger comes with Kia’s class-leading warranty.
Similar starting prices; powerful V6 engines; good suspensions; both offer good features for the money, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Kia Stinger Advantages
Hatchback design gives it much more flexibility and useful storage space; rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive; choice of engines; better resale values; more cargo space
Nissan Maxima Advantages
Base engine makes significantly more power; much less expensive at the higher end; V6 power for $4K less.
On the surface, there’s much that’s very similar about the 2020 Kia Stinger and 2020 Nissan Maxima, both of which are 4-door sport sedans. And in at least one significant way, the Nissan has an advantage with a standard V6 to the Stinger’s base turbo 4-cylinder. For that kind of power, a 2020 Kia Stinger buyer would have to shell out nearly $4,000 more, and in fact, that is what we recommend. But beyond that, for buyers of true sport sedans, the Kia’s rear-wheel drive, taut suspension, and optional all-wheel drive combined with the practicality and sporty look of its liftback design make it a clear winner here.
|2020 Kia Stinger||2020 Nissan Maxima|
|Engine||2.0-liter I4, turbocharged||3.5-liter V6|
|Horsepower||255 hp @ 6,200 rpm||300 hp @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque||260 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm||261 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Transmission||Automatic, 8-Spd||Continuously variable|
|Fuel Economy||25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy)||24 mpg (20 city/30 hwy)|
|Also Available||3.3-liter turboV6|
|Warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||n/a||n/a|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||114.4 inches||109.3 inches|
|Overall Length||190.2 inches||192.8 inches|
|Width||73.6 inches||73.2 inches|
|Height||55.1 inches||56.5 inches|
|Turning Diameter||36.7 feet||38.1 feet|
|Headroom, Front||38.3 inches||39.4 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||37.0 inches||36.7 inches|
|Legroom, Front||42.6 inches||45.0 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||36.4 inches||34.2 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||56.4 inches||56.7 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||54.8 inches||55.7 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||93.8 cu. ft.||98.5 cu. ft.|
|EPA Cargo Volume||23.3 cu. ft.||14.3 cu. ft.|