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Driving the Kia Stinger GT AWD on Snow and Ice

Jeff Glucker March 15, 2018 Featured, Hoonivercinema 17 Comments

This is the third time we’ve gotten our hands on the Kia Stinger GT, but this time we’re driving it in a place you might not expect. In Crested Butte, Colorado you’ll find a course that’s covered in snow and ice.

A fleet of Stinger GT sedans with AWD are on hand and shod in Michelin Alpin winter tires. Our goal for the day then? To see how much fun we can have with this 365-horsepower hatch/sedan. Since the AWD system is rear biased, it seems we’re able to able to find quite a bit of fun on the snow and ice.

  • Sjalabais

    What a fantastic scenery! I can actually see Kia adding a left foot braking mode. For one, they used to have sort of open source shop manuals, available to everyone, displaying a great attitude to car nuts. Second, they have really managed to grab enthusiast’s attention with the Stinger. At least it’s on every site I frequent, and Kia in general has rocketted into a position where both enthusiasts and the general public are aware that they are not just a contender, but sometimes basically best in class if you have a rational approach.

    • Harry Callahan

      ..

    • I just looked up the list pricing, the 3.3 version is a million NOK – a solid 130kUSD. Any Norwegian would rather get a Tesla and fly to Spain for week…

      • Sjalabais

        Yeah, it’s unbuyable around here where price gets amplified by power and fun.

      • outback_ute

        That is interesting, in Australia the Stinger GT is AUD$60k, the cheapest Tesla Model S over $90k. Surely taxation can’t make up all of the difference?

        • ICE vehicles pay 25% VAT at import, electric cars don’t.
          At registration, ICE vehicles pay per:
          – kg weight
          – hp
          – CO2
          – NOx
          – g AC gas (well that’s usually under USD150)
          whereas electric cars don’t pay most of it. (The state does get some money, but only a fraction of the amount of an ICE vehicles, which can easily double the price of a car). Instead, many employers offer free charging, as do cities who also chip in free parking and bus lane usage.
          This is skewing the market of course, which is the intention. I am working in an engineering company, there are about 10 Tesla S, two X, two i3, 5 eGolf and Leaf each, a handful of other electric cars – about 40% electric.

          • outback_ute

            That really does tilt things in favour of electric, but as Norway is nearly all hydro I can see how that would be a good idea. In Victoria it is only 5% but it shares in the Snowy Mountains hydro system that does 3.8 GW. Our country is much drier; there is the potential for more hydro power but the green faction seems is against flooding areas for this.

            Here the taxation on the cars will be equal (percentage at least) although the Tesla will be hit by luxury car tax, 33% of the amount over $75k for low-emission vehicles ($65k otherwise).

  • Harry Callahan

    First, this:

    I commend Kia for it’s support of the teen driving program BRAKES ( ) which I recently completed with my son—it was OUTSTANDING–I recommend unconditionally!

    Now, to Stinger:

    Stinger, while it may be a great car, is in no way consistent with Kia–the company. Truth be told, Hyundai totally screwed up the Genesis brand intro…so horribly that Hyundai is now trying to Re-Introduce Genesis to US buyers….but too little, too late. Kia is not even bothering with the premium brand…just tossing this oddball product to their unprepared dealers.

    Lexus became a thing because Toyota correctly knew nobody was going to pay (then) $40,000 for a Toyota, regardless of how good it was. The Lexus branding strategy was coherent, long term, and flawlessly executed from the start…..the marketing, products themselves, and the dealership experience were all top notch.

    From what I can tell, the Kia Stinger is trying to be sold as a premium Sport Sedan…produced and marketed by a company known for rental fleet cars, and low end cars sold on long long loan terms. These are incompatible! Kia dealers know how to handle the “I have no money” car shopper who is willing to sign up for long loan terms…or lease terms that are less than consumer-friendly. Kia dealers are not a good fit for the Stinger buyer who arrived in 3 year old M3 going off lease…and earns a $175K salary.

    Kia could put a supercharged V8 with a manual in a brown Stinger wagon…and it still will not move the needle for Kia.

    Stingers will be a fantastic used car bargain in three years…when the few Kia leases come back. By then Stinger will be discontinued, and the Souls and Optimas will still be out front with the ballons and $1500 REBATE signs on the windshields….

    • Jeff Glucker

      You can’t improve your company in the eyes of consumers without starting somewhere, and that starts here with the Stinger. It will be the halo and the other models will follow suit. The Forte already has some Stinger-inspired styling. This AWD system will wind up in more models. All the good from Stinger will filter down.

      You’re right about the dealer experience though… that will be tough. And yes, these cars will be awesome picks on the used market.

      If this car doesn’t change peoples minds about the brand though, nothing will. Kia already makes good cars, and the Stinger improves upon that.

      • Harry Callahan

        If we were on my patio drinking some nice cold beer, as I wish we were, I would extend a gentleman’s bet that Kia will never sell more than 5000 Stingers a year.

        I hope I am wrong, but that is what my rational brain tells me.

        • Jeff Glucker

          And I wouldn’t take that bet… but I would drink your beer.

        • JayP

          Infiniti, Lexus and now Genesis offer premium owner experiences like Mercedes and BMW have. At least the perception of a premium experience.

          The Stinger may be the next Phaeton?

    • Zentropy

      I think your stereotypical idea of a KIA buyer is long overdue for an update. The Stinger starts in the low 30s (average price for a car these days is over $36k) and tops out in the low 50s (about the average cost of a mid-sized luxury crossover). We’re on our second KIA, aren’t “have no money” shoppers, and could easily afford three concurrent M3 leases.
      Lexus is just as you described it– a well-executed marketing exercise. A Lexus is a Toyota with (garish) lipstick and an elevated sticker price, but is expertly marketed to make buyers think they’re getting something special. Hyundai ham-fisted the introduction of the Genesis, but nevertheless delivered an upmarket car for a very downmarket price.
      The Stinger is a great deal for the smart buyer, and might be a steal in the used market for the bargain enthusiast. So, you can either blame stupid marketing departments for low sales, or chide stupid buyers for drinking the advertising kool-aid. Either way, it doesn’t necessarily describe the cars, only the people involved on either end of the deals.

      • Harry Callahan

        I too had good luck with my Kia car, and paid cash…so am not a “typical” Kia customer either–if there is such a thing. In the Grand Scheme of things, I have reached the conclusion BRAND is THE product differentiator in the automotive realm. No, the actual quality of a Mercedes CLA250 isn’t any better than it’s Japanese competition, but it typically yields a higher selling price–because it has a three pointed star on the steering wheel. If the brand doesn’t fit the buyer’s image of him/herself–no sale, regardless of the comparative merit of a given vehicle. I tend buy Mazdas—a brand that suffers very poor marketing…a brand that has virtually no brand equity, except among the MX5/Miata crowd. I like that I can drive a car I like that carries no brand snootiness whatsoever.

        Yes, perhaps a few enthusiasts will buy Stinger despite its low-rent branding. That said, the Infiniti Q50 is very close in price on some trim levels, and will likely earn the lion’s share of sales because Infiniti is a “Premium” brand while Kia is a “Value” brand. An enterprising real estate agent wants to drive clients around in an Infiniti or bimmer, not a Kia.

        • Zentropy

          Sadly, branding does win the day, ultimately. Too bad, really, but cars aren’t unlike any other marketed product. At least it gives more educated buyers (especially those concerned with substance and not image) an opportunity for a good deal.
          And I completely agree with you on the undervalued Mazdas– there’s a company that understands the importance of prioritizing the “driver” rather than the “rider”, and makes pretty cars to boot. The CX-9 is still the only mid-sized crossover that I’ve actually enjoyed driving.

          • Harry Callahan

            I own a CX-9…and a 6 sedan. I recommend both without reservation.

  • James Bell

    Left foot braking? Really???

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