The Derrière Report: A Seat Review From the Backside

by Michael Harley on April 16, 2018

Current Odometer: 7,577 miles
Latest MPG: 21.83 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 21.52 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $4.50
Time out of Service: 0 minutes

My commute puts me in the driver’s seat for several 90-minute stretches each week — and I’m the guy with a very sensitive vertebra. That said, I’m pleased to report that the Stinger GT2, with the premium Nappa leather and 16-way adjustable driver’s seat, is impressively comfortable. It provides plenty of lumbar support to my lower back with its 4-way air cell system, it grips my hips with its width-adjustable side bolsters, and the lower seat cushion keeps my thighs from sagging. Did I mention that the GT2 is also fitted with active ventilation and heating in the seats? The only disappointment is that the front passenger doesn’t get to enjoy the same seat – they are relegated to a 12-way seat that does without the air lumbar support and the thigh extension – that’s a bit frustrating (and a common occurrence with Korean automakers, who tend to offer the driver a better seat than the front passenger).



Fuel Economy Ramblings, and Observations

by Michael Harley on April 6, 2018

Current Odometer: 7,364 miles
Latest MPG: 26.15 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 21.48 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $4.50
Time out of Service: 0 minutes

I’ve been piling the miles on the Kia Stinger GT, and it continues to impress with its power output — it’s a strong engine mated to an excellent automatic transmission. However, my greatest complaint to date is that its 15.9-gallon fuel tank is too small for its fuel consumption (the EPA rates the 3.3-liter turbo at 19 city/25 highway). Looking at the fuel log, I am only getting about 280 miles out of each tank, which means there is about 12 ‘useable’ gallons before the fuel gauge dips precariously low. The Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 430i Gran Coupe also have 15-gallon fuel tanks, but they are both EPA rated at 24 city/34 mpg highway — using the identical 12 gallons of fuel, they would cruise nearly 400 miles on each tank on the open road. My latest MPG, of 26.15 mpg, was 100 percent highway driving. I literally filled up at the on- and off-ramps to see how well it would do. (Note: I added a half-quart of synthetic oil to the engine, which explains the maintenance cost.)



A Turbocharged V6 That Promises, and Delivers

By Michael Harley on March 19, 2018

Current Odometer: 6,397 miles
Latest MPG: 22.12 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 20.33 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $00.00
Time out of Service: 0 minutes

Kia knew that a powerful engine was imperative, so it reached into the corporate parts bin and pulled out a wondrous twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 (which is shared with the Genesis G80). Punch the accelerator and rear wheels fight for traction–powerslides are effortless off the line. The only downside to the thrust is that fuel economy is nothing extraordinary. Despite plenty of highway travel, we find it a challenge to squeak beyond 22 mpg on a tank of fuel. 



The Detonator Key

By Michael Harley on March 12, 2018

Current Odometer: 5,751 miles
Latest MPG: 19.80 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 20.52 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $00.00
Time out of Service: 0 minutes

I’ve come to expect that remote key fobs have their button controls on either flat side, but that’s not the case with the Stinger. Kia’s engineers have place all the buttons (unlock, trunk release, and panic) on the side. The lock button, arguably the most used of all four, sits at the top — just like a detonator switch. While it does take a few days to get used to it, I’ll admit that it allows effortless locking of the Stinger while the keys are still in my pocket as there is no mistaking the location of the button. Well done, Kia. 




By Michael Harley on March 5, 2018

Kia bravely dove head-first into the highly competitive mid-size sport sedan segment when it announced that an all-new competitor, called the Stinger, would arrive to market for the 2018 model year. With styling loosely based on the well-received Kia GT concept that was shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and a stout rear-wheel drive platform shared with the Genesis G80, the automaker promised BMW-rivaling performance. Theoretically, this is not a stretch considering that Kia stole Albert Biermann, formerly of BMW’s M division, to head its engineering efforts.

While critics questioned Kia’s ability to execute such a grand plan, speculations were silenced by several early invite-only drives of pre-production prototype models at Kia’s development track in Korea, cold-weather testing in the Arctic Circle, and laps on Germany’s demanding Nürburgring to test it. Initial impressions were very favorable.

Stylish five-door hatchback delivers more room

When the new Kia Stinger arrived in showrooms in late 2017, it indisputably opened eyes. A Korean automaker, synonymous with low-priced economy vehicles, had delivered a five-door hatchback with a legitimate performance flair.  Aggressively styled, the design leads with the automaker’s signature ‘Tiger Nose” front grille and ends with quad tailpipes (on GT trims). Overall, it is impressive work by Kia chief designer Gregory Guillaume. The cabin is spacious, thanks to a long wheelbase (longer than the Audi A5 Sportback, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and Lexus GS), and adult passengers enjoy plenty of room in both rows. Cargo capacity is enhanced with the large rear liftgate and split-fold second row seats.

New powertrains emphasize power

Supporting its performance mission, the Kia Stinger arrives with new engines. Base vehicles are fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder rated at 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which promises a 0-60 mph sprint in the mid-6 second range. Enthusiasts are targeted with the performance-tuned GT models, which debut with a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 rated at 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque–the 0-60 mph sprint plummets to just 4.7 seconds. A standard 8-speed automatic, and a choice between rear- and all-wheel drive, completes the powertrain matrix.

While a Kia Stinger in standard trim is well equipped with full power accessories, leather upholstery, smart phone integration and 18-inch wheels, the range-topping GT2 is upgraded with Nappa leather, Brembo brakes, high-performance Michelin tires on 19-inch wheels, and an electronically controlled suspension. Other convenience features include Kia’s UVO infotainment system with 8-inch touch-screen, premium Harmon-Kardon audio with 720 watts and 15 speakers, and a head-up display.  Safety technology hasn’t been ignored either, as the Kia Stinger arrives with rear parking cameras, blind spot collision warning, rear cross traffic alert and a forward collision avoidance assistance system with pedestrian detection.

We opt for the enthusiast configuration–because Southern California

Our Irvine headquarters, with year-round mild climate, meant that we could forgo the all-wheel drive option and configure the Kia Stinger to whet our enthusiast tastes. With that our primary objective, we opted for a very specific model: Kia Stinger GT2. That trim, with a base price of $49,200, is literally loaded with all the options (except AWD). To add some zest, we decided on HiChroma Red paint over Black Nappa Leather—it looks simply spectacular. As configured, and with destination included, our as-tested price is $50,100. Not willing to wait several months for our configuration to be built from scratch, we accepted a GT2 with 5,000 miles already on the odometer, accelerated aging at the hands of other journalists. Kia graciously replaced the brakes, wheels, and tires, so they start fresh).

We anticipate the next year will be quite enjoyable as we wring the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger GT out on our favorite challenging roads. Stay tuned.

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