2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line Review Update

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Oct 28, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2022 Kia Stinger has alluring styling, a cool name, legit performance, and as much utility as some SUVs. So why aren't Stingers more popular? Two educated guesses might explain it.

First, people still have image issues with the Kia brand. Unless this list overlooks something, only the third-generation Optima sedan, third-generation Sorento SUV, and the current Telluride SUV have successfully transcended Kia's econocar origins to become red-hot sellers in red-hot family vehicle segments.

Second, the Stinger isn't cheap. Sharing a platform with the Genesis G70 and GV70, it's crafted to satisfy an audience that typically doesn't think of Kia when the time comes to go car shopping.

Kia offers the updated 2022 Stinger in three trim levels. Prices are as follows:

  • The turbocharged, 300-horsepower Stinger GT-Line carries a base price of $37,135. This one is the best value.
  • The twin-turbocharged, 368-hp Stinger GT1 costs $44,735. This one offers the most bang-for-the-buck.
  • The twin-turbo Stinger GT2 adds more standard equipment and wears a price of $52,335. This one is loaded with luxury.

All three Stingers are rear-wheel drive unless you add the optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) system ($2,200). A Scorpion package (yes, that's what it's called) is available for the Stinger GT2, and if you select it and AWD, you'll relieve your bank account of $56,320. All listed prices include the $1,045 destination charge.

Until the 2022 model year, it was almost a requirement to pay to upgrade from the Stinger GT-Line to the Stinger GT. Why? To avoid the GT-Line's turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in favor of the GT's thrilling twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6. But now, thanks to a refresh that gives the standard GT-Line model a decent engine of its own, you can easily drive away from the Kia dealership in a satisfying Stinger for less than 40 grand.

And you wanted a Toyota Camry XSE V6 why?

In addition to making the Stinger GT-Line more desirable, Kia also bumps performance in the twin-turbo versions of the car while adding a new active variable exhaust system breathing through more aggressive-looking quad outlets. All 2022 Stingers benefit from new LED lighting and wheel designs, interiors gleam in gloss black trim with chrome accents, and enhanced mood lighting emits a soft glow after dark. New Kia badges that no longer look like an oversized belt buckle modernize the car's branding.

As is common nowadays, the list of 2022 Stinger changes includes a technology upgrade. The infotainment system gets a standard 10.25-inch touchscreen display running next-generation software while the car's Kia Drive Wise collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) expands. One of the upgrades is Highway Driving Assist, a hands-on Level 2 adaptive cruise control system with lane-centering assistance.

Are the changes substantial enough to make the Stinger more appealing to consumers? They should be. But maybe if Kia raised the suspension about six inches, slapped some gray cladding on the bodywork, took pictures of it in the woods with a roof tent on top, and pitched it to "active lifestyle types," this excellent grand touring car might not be facing extinction.

Then again, the upcoming Kia EV6 might also have something to do with the Stinger's eventual likely demise.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2018 Kia Stinger. This review focuses on the Stinger's updates for 2022 and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Kia Stinger - Find the best Kia deals!

2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line Ascot Green Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The Kia Stinger competes in the Midsize Car market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 71 percent of new Kia Stinger buyers are male (vs. 65 percent for the segment), and the median age of a Stinger buyer is 48 years (vs. 63).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Stinger in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Powertrain
  • Driving feel
  • Interior design
  • Feeling of safety (in a tie)
  • Setting up and starting (in a tie)
  • Driving comfort
  • Infotainment
  • Getting in and out
  • Fuel economy

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Stinger ranks third out of four Premium Midsize Car models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Kia Stinger - Find the best Kia deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a 2022 Stinger GT-Line painted in the new-for-2022 Ascot Green color and equipped with the following options:

  • Sun and Sound package
  • 8-way power front passenger's seat
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Harman Kardon premium sound system
  • Carpeted floor mats
  • Carpeted cargo mat

The price of the test vehicle came to $39,715, including the $1,045 destination charge.

Stinger GT-Line Gets Much Better Engine

2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line 2.5-liter Turbocharged Engine

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Kia ditches the Stinger GT-Line's previous turbo 2.0-liter in favor of a new turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. It generates an even 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, which flows through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. If you live where the snow flies, an AWD system is available. Kia quotes an acceleration time of 5.2 seconds to get to 60 mph, which is just half a second behind the Stinger GT by the automaker's count.

This turbo 2.5-liter is the same Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) engine used in models such as the Hyundai Sonata N Line, the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, and the Genesis G70 and GV70. It provides plenty of acceleration, and though it can sound a little rough around the edges at times, it is more refined than the engine it replaces. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says a 2022 Stinger GT-Line should get 25 mpg in combined driving, and the test car averaged 23.8 mpg.

Thanks to this new engine, the Stinger GT-Line is much more appealing than before. In fact, since the Stinger's nose tends to push in tight corners, less weight over the front axle is nothing but a good thing. However, while a Stinger can understeer when making a quick U-turn or diving too hot into a corner, the car is also tail-happy in some situations. Drifting fans will love this. Driving enthusiasts on treacherous mountain roads will not. Strongly consider the AWD option, though it doesn't include torque vectoring with GT-Line trim.

Stickier rubber would help, too. New 18-inch wheel designs are standard on the Stinger GT-Line, but they wear 225/45 Bridgestone Potenza all-season tires that squeal more often than is preferable when you're exercising the car. A more aggressive performance tire option would be nice.

Refined Styling and Design Enhancements

Aside from fresh wheel designs across the 2022 Stinger lineup, the car gets a new daytime running light signature and full-width rear taillight treatment. The exhaust outlets are more prominent than before, too, the better to emphasize the Stinger GT's new active exhaust system's note.

Inside, gloss black trim panels, chrome accents, and ambient lighting add a more upscale look and feel. The GT models receive new contrast stitching patterns, and the GT2's premium Nappa leather upholstery now features what Kia calls a "chain link" pattern.

Otherwise, the Stinger continues to offer the room and utility unique to a 5-door sportback design. In essence, the Stinger competes with the likes of the Audi A5 SportbackBMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and Volkswagen Arteon. It can also serve as an alternative to SUV "coupes" such as the Infiniti QX55 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, and even wagons such as the Audi A4 Allroad and Volvo V60 Cross Country.

Maybe those SUVs and wagons are a stretch. This Kia is low-slung and, admittedly, a little difficult to enter and exit. But it offers plenty of comfortable space for four people, plus the utility of a rear hatch that opens wide to reveal a big 23.3 cubic-foot trunk. Fold the back seat down and the car swallows 40.9 cubic feet of cargo.

In any case, if you're the type of person who prefers to drive something different, the Kia Stinger is a good choice. Most days, you're unlikely to see another one on the road.

Next-generation Infotainment Debuts

2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line Interior Dashboard Front Seat

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

For 2022, the Stinger gets a new infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display. It includes wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, a navigation system, satellite radio with a complimentary 3-month subscription, UVO Link connected services with a free year-long subscription, and wireless smartphone charging. A Harman Kardon surround-sound system with 15 speakers is available with GT-Line trim and standard in the Stinger GT2.

I'm not a fan of this system's graphics, but the technology works well unless you try to use the voice-recognition technology. I happened to have a Hyundai Santa Fe on the testing docket at the same time as the Kia Stinger, and the voice recognition in that SUV proved superior. By contrast, the Stinger seemed unable to find much of anything aside from the closest Starbucks, though by fine-tuning some commands, it did pass more of my usual tests.

Kia says the Stinger's "enhanced UVO voice-assist feature" should allow a driver to control the climate system, the seat and steering wheel heaters, the stereo, and "other functions." Perhaps Kia didn't activate the test Stinger's UVO Link subscription.

The New 2022 Stinger is a Safer Car

Kia gives the 2022 Stinger a substantial upgrade in terms of safety technology. Here is the rundown:

  • The forward-collision warning system adds cyclist detection
  • A new Junction Turning system brakes to prevent unsafe left turns across traffic
  • Active Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist debuts and can nudge the Stinger back into its lane if the driver insists on making an unsafe lane change
  • Rear automatic braking enhances the rear cross-traffic warning system
  • Safe Exit Assist warns a driver and passengers when it is unsafe to exit the Stinger because traffic or cyclists are approaching from behind
  • Lane Following Assist keeps the Stinger centered in its lane of travel

Highway Driving Assist is also new to the 2022 Stinger. It pairs the navigation-based intelligent adaptive cruise control and the Lane Following Assist system to create a hands-on Level 2 semi-autonomous ADAS. As is true with most other HMG products, the Highway Driving Assist in the 2022 Stinger is excellent and hints at how it could easily become a hands-free system in the future.

Safety-related features offered through UVO Link include 911 Connect and safe teen driving settings related to speed, curfew, and geographic boundaries. Through the UVO Link smartphone app, you can even use the Find My Car feature to figure out where your Stinger is. And, if you have the Stinger GT2, the app can access the surround-view cameras and show you what's going on around your car.

If the Stinger's safety tech can't prevent a collision, rest easy knowing that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives this car a "Top Safety Pick+" rating, the highest one possible. That's an improvement over last year when the car merely met "Top Safety Pick" standards.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Kia deals!

2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line Ascot Green Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The 2022 Kia Stinger is a gem of a vehicle hiding in plain sight. Seductive, swift, safe, and sophisticated, it deserves far more consideration than it gets.

People who seek AWD and more utility than a sedan but don't care about the rugged SUV image or higher driving position could be happier in a Stinger than a typical crossover. Likewise, midsize and entry-level luxury sedan shoppers should give the more practical and fun Stinger greater consideration.

Better yet, the revamped Stinger GT-Line is a significantly better car than it was before, and you can get one with plenty of equipment and technology for under 40 grand.

If you think a Stinger might be right for you, don't wait too much longer to find out. This car's days are likely numbered as Kia electrifies its product lineup. And one of the first of Kia's upcoming onslaught of electric vehicles is the EV6, which is similar enough to the Stinger in terms of purpose and performance to effectively cancel it out.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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