CARS.COM — An automaker known for value and practicality stunned us at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit with the Stinger, a sedan that buzzes with luxury and performance. The rear-wheel-drive Kia Stinger sedan debuted there with a stylish fastback profile, turbocharged engines and high-end interior finishes.
With its striking curves and promising performance chops, the Stinger easily took home Cars.com's Best in Show Award for the 2017 Detroit auto show. Cars.com editors Aaron Bragman, Joe Bruzek, Mike Hanley and Fred Meier weigh in below on why the Stinger set us aflutter.
Bragman: Nobody expected Kia to actually make the GT Concept we'd seen a couple of years ago, but here it is — in all its Germanic rear-wheel-drive, turbocharged, sports sedan glory. The interior is dynamite as well, with all the style of the Alfa Romeo Giulia but added room, refinement and material quality that betters the last Audi A4 I sampled. Priced right, this thing could be a serious contender for Kia ... although it does make one wonder why Kia is making a car that should have gone to the Genesis luxury brand instead.
Bruzek: During auto shows, there are a few cars that create a buzz that ripples through the whole show, causing people to ask, "Have you seen the [fill in the blank] yet?" At Detroit this year, it's the Kia Stinger, and I think it's completely deserved. This Kia has all the promise of a properly fun sports sedan with a former vice president from BMW's M performance division at the helm of Kia's performance engineering, and of course the Stinger being rear-wheel drive with an available twin-turbo V-6.
Hanley: The Stinger is the kind of car you'd never expect from a mainstream brand like Kia, but I'm glad they made it. Its rear-drive-based platform helps give it great proportions and it has the drivetrains to back up its assertive styling. U.S. car buyers are flocking to SUVs, and Kia has those if that's what you want, but I'm happy they didn't forget about the car people out there.
Meier: A traditional performance sedan in concept with a twin-turbo option, a sophisticated chassis, rear- or all-wheel drive, and packaged with a classy Euro-style interior with materials that could rival some current Audis: It's everything car people say they want, and it's clearly a winner and stretches the Kia brand. Whether those people will spend a price surely north of a top-end Optima for a sports sedan with a Kia badge, or continue to pay more for to get less from a European brand, is the question.