I know of no data that will back this up but it has been my experience over the last 20 years that automakers pay more attention to updating the higher trims on their models than they do on their entry level vehicles, though many of the features introduced on the top trim eventually trickle their way down through the lineup.
Kia, however, seems to be taking a different approach with the newest Stinger.
While upper trims with their V6 engines get a slight power bump to 368 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, the base GT-Line trim of the 2022 Kia Stinger now gets a much more potent turbocharged 4-cylinder engine under its hood.
It is rated at 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, a boost of 45 hp and 51 lb.-ft. over the 2.0L turbo-4 of the previous generation. That cuts about a second off the zero-to-60 mph time with a clocking of 5.2 seconds according to the South Korean automaker.
Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy remains at a steady at 22 miles-per-gallon city, 32 highway, and 25 combined in rear-wheel-drive configuration such as the Stinger this review is based on. With all-wheel drive (standard on upper GT1 and GT2 trims) the numbers are 21/29/24.
Using recommended premium fuel, those figures virtually match the numbers for 2021 models (22/29/25 RWD) and 21/29/24 AWD).
And the GT-Line is well-equipped for a base model with driver-assist technology that includes blind-spot and lane-keeping assist along with SMART cruise control as well as features like leather seat trim with heated front seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, Bluetooth wireless technology, wireless phone charger, Smart key with push-button start, and LED headlights and tail lamps.
The cabin is roomy and has a nice feel about it. It may not match European imports when it comes to luxury, but it’s close enough and you’re talking about a vehicle with a starting line of less than $40,000. Legroom in the rear is an adequate 36.4 inches.
The 2022 Kia Stinger also gets new alloy wheels, distinctive LED exterior lighting, and a new exhaust quad exhaust design to distinguish it from its predecessor.
Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters for manual gear selection also are offered on all Stinger models.
Standard tech features include a 10.25-inch screen with navigation, a major improvement over the standard 7-inch and optional 8-inch screens offered in GT-Line models in 2021. The rearview camera has dynamic guidelines, a much-appreciated feature.
A 6-speaker sound system may be upgraded to Harmon Kardon premium system, and a power adjustable front passenger seat and sunroof also are options. The 12-way power driver’s seat includes 4-way lumbar support.
Though referred to as a “sport” sedan, the Kia Stinger is in actuality a hatchback with a large cargo area of 23.3 cubic feet. Stowage in the center console also is generous.
My test RWD 2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line carried a starting MSRP of $36,090. Add-ons that included a 15-speaker premium sound system, power adjustable front passenger seat, and sunroof plus the $1,045 destination and delivery charge ran the bottom line to $39,715.
GT1 and GT2 models have MSRPs running from $43,690 to $53,490.
What I liked about the 2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line: It has a premium look and feel about it, both inside and out, and the sloping profile gives it a stylish, coupe-like appearance. The 2.5L engine responds nicely, especially when operating in Sport Mode. Infotainment features are user-friendly. There is even a knob to surf the radio, and the display screen for navigation is a good-sized 10.25 inches. The hatchback configuration gives it lots of cargo space. You can switch off the Stop/Start function with the push of a button on the console as well as turn on the “Auto Hold” function when idling at an intersection.
What I didn’t like about the 2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line: A power lift gate would be a nice addition for the big rear deck lid. Rear-seat passengers lose a little bit of headroom because of that sloping roofline, and I suspect a taller occupant in the driver’s seat also might find the headliner a little close.
Would I buy the 2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line? Yes, especially if you don’t care about the cachet a European brand might give you. There has been some speculation that Kia may discontinue production of the Stinger sometime in 2022 Sales through the first 11 months of 2021 were up slightly (8.13 percent) but the total number was only 12,599 (numbers from goodcarbadcar.net)
*Photos furnished by Kia