2018 Kia Stinger: Monthly Update for January 2019

by Kurt Niebuhr, Vehicle Test Editor

Where Did We Drive It?
If there's one thing that can take the shine off a great-handling, fun and immensely practical car like our 2018 Kia Stinger, it's squeaks, creaks and rattles (those are three things, Kurt — Ed.). Over time these things happen, of course, but our Stinger is getting a little too good at imitating a wood floor in an old house. This issue was first noted some months ago, but now it's become something that's impossible to miss. And the culprit looks to be the fancy panoramic sunroof.

But the car is still fast. That's got to count for something, right?

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The Stinger got some much-needed highway mileage in January. And while that did give us a couple tanks over 24 mpg (24.27 mpg and 26.19 mpg, to be exact), it didn't do much to move the needle on our overall average. Still, three out of the five tanks we recorded over the month beat the combined rating; that's not too bad.

Average lifetime mpg: 20.1
EPA mpg rating: 21 combined (19 city/25 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.1
Best range: 395.8 miles
Current odometer: 13,107 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
On December 20, 2018, Kia issued a recall for certain Stingers. Ours is affected, and we've made an appointment. Check back for next month's update for the follow-up. Below is the recall notice.

Manufacturer Recall Number SC170
NHTSA Recall Number 18V754
Recall Status Recall Incomplete
Summary
Kia Motors America has decided that a defect, which relates to motor vehicle safety, exists in certain 2018 MY Kia Stinger vehicles manufactured from July 20, 2017, through June 8, 2018. The defect may cause damage to the front wiring harness, which can result in an electrical short circuit, increasing the risk of a fire. The front wiring harness is located in the engine and passenger compartment of the vehicle. The harness can come in contact with a burr on a sheet metal hole on the left fender apron body panel. Such contact can damage the insulation of one or more wires and cause an electrical short circuit, increasing the risk of a fire.

Safety Risk
If damage to the harness is detected, the malfunction indicator lamp (mil) may be illuminated, and/or the vehicle could be placed in a reduced power and acceleration mode referred to as Limp Home mode. In Limp Home mode, the vehicle can continue to be operated for a limited time to permit the vehicle to be driven to a safe location. However, the vehicle will have a reduced maximum speed, and it may accelerate very slowly or may not accelerate at all.

Remedy
Kia has advised its authorized dealers to inspect the front wiring harness for damage. If no damage is found, the dealer will install a plug/cover to the hole on the left fender apron panel. If damage is found, the front wiring harness will be replaced and a plug/cover will be installed to cover the hole on the left fender apron panel. The work will be performed at no cost to the customer.

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"Whee! Our Stinger GT's V6 continues to impress me with its strong midrange power. Boot the gas and this thing surges forth with authority. And just like a muscle car, it'll get a little squirrelly if you don't have the steering centered. Well, on our rear-wheel-drive Stinger GT, anyway. I imagine the all-wheel-drive version is better-behaved but less fun." — Brent Romans, senior editor

"A friend of mine owns a Chevrolet SS and asked how it compares to the Kia Stinger GT. The SS was Chevy's rear-drive V8-powered performance sedan sold from 2014 to 2017. We tested a manual-transmission SS in 2015, and it posted a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds and cleared the quarter-mile in 13.0 seconds. Our long-term Stinger isn't far off: 5.2 seconds for 0-60 mph and 13.4 for the quarter-mile. Skidpad: 0.94g for the SS and 0.89g for the Stinger.

"In our acceleration notes from that Stinger track test, we noted that 'the turbo V6 certainly feels powerful, but it takes a beat or two to gain steam from a stop.' That could explain the slightly slower acceleration times. In my experience, our Stinger delivers the same rush of speed as the SS used to do when blasting down highway entrance ramps and the like. The Stinger also has a nicer interior and more distinctive styling. But overall there are a lot of similarities. The SS was a fun performance sedan that was priced around $50,000. Same thing for the Stinger." — Brent Romans

Miscellaneous
"There are more creaks and groans coming from the Stinger than I'd like to hear from a car with just more than 12,000 miles on it. The majority of them seem to originate from the area surrounding the sunroof, but I also hear some from what sounds like the C-pillar [rear roof pillar]. They're most prominent over undulating surfaces. You don't notice them when the stereo is at a reasonable volume, but they're quite prevalent when you're listening to a podcast." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

"I'm always struck by just how cool the Stinger GT is when I get into it. It looks great, and the interior makes a strong first impression. And once you twist the drive-mode selector into Sport (a must in this car), it's champing at the bit at every stoplight. Unfortunately, the logbook continues to fill with complaints about creaks and rattles, which I remember calling out months ago, not long after the Stinger arrived. Hopefully, it's something Kia will correct going forward because I really dig this car otherwise." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy

Comfort
"The more I drive this car, the more I find it disappointing for long-distance driving. Specifically, this relates to ride quality and cabin noise. As Josh wrote about in our August update, our Stinger doesn't do a great job of smoothing out cracks and seams in the pavement. So you might think: 'OK, the suspension is just firmly tuned, right?'

"Well, not necessarily. The Stinger can also be overly soft and floaty when driving over bigger undulations in the road, at least in the default Comfort drive mode. Plus, it's a little noisy inside the cabin when you're driving on concrete roadways. It's quieter on asphalt, thankfully. But here in California, a lot of our highways are made of concrete. The upshot of all this is that I'm pretty much ready to be done driving after just four hours or so. I still really enjoy our Stinger overall, but it's not the mile-eating grand touring sedan I thought it was going to be." — Brent Romans

Text Source: Edmunds