July 24, 2024

2018 Kia Stinger GT AWD: A Great Car.., But For Whom?


Don’t get me wrong, I love this 2018 Kia Stinger GT. The looks are great, the interior is great, the fit and finish are great, the fuel consumption could’ve been better.. But I don’t get it? I would love to be enlightened.

Kia brought out the Kia Optima in 2011, with a radical new design language that set it apart from it’s predecessors by a land mile, and puts Kia thoroughly on the map among it’s competitors in that market segment. They had a gorgeous car, with plenty of interior space, excellent quality and fit and finish. The refreshment facelift in 2017 only got a few tweeks, since it was still very up to date. The most eye catching change was the addition of a third window on the side, clearly setting it apart from the previous generation.

Then in 2914 Kia brought out the Kia GT4 Stinger concept, a really cool looking 2 door hatch back concept. That is not this. Then Kia anounced to the rumor mill that it would introduce a Stinger GT and showed off a concept for a 4 door sports sedan, which had similarities to the Kia Optima, but had a lot of other design features that set it apart clearly, like suicide doors in the rear, an A-Window that was differently integrated into the A-Post, completely flush bumpers etc. Then I am at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017 and see the production version of the Kia Stinger, the one you see here, and I am thinking if this is just a facelift of the Optima to hark back to the 2-light side window? That was the main thing I could see.

This car is completely different in set up from the optima. It is NOT front wheel drive, in fact as a base it is rear wheel drive, and in this version 4 wheel drive. There is literally nothing the same with the Optima. This could’ve been the concept leading up to the Optima, but it was not.

So here you have an excellent car, really cool looking, really good everything, but for the untrained eye it looks like a Kia Optima. So the Kia Optima clients will be frowning wondering why their cars don’t look this good. On the other hand Kia is trying to lure people to the showroom with thsi really really excellent car, that looks hardly different from the Optima, at more than double the price? I am wondering who will be going to that showroom? It should be BMW and Mercedes drivers, Lexus drivers, Infiniti drivers…, But who would really come if it looks so similar to a much cheaper car? $53,000 is a lot of money for a car that does look better than an Optima, but still very related to one as well. If, as an owner, you have to explain to your friends and family that this might look like a much cheaper car, but it isn’t and they then have to explain where it is all different, and how the engine, drive train etc are all different, I think you’ve lost the battle.

The same main design lines would’ve worked, but only if stuck more to the concept car with the suicide doors for instance, and the bumper treatment, so it jumps out as different. To compromise on the design intent when it is that close to a much cheaper car in the same showroom is asking for trouble, no matter how good the car is, how gorgeous it looks, how excellent the quality is.

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