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Driven: 2019 Kia Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary

The 2019 Kia Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary is powered by a 3.3-litre, V6, twin-turbo engine that makes up to 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 2019 Kia Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary is powered by a 3.3-litre, V6, twin-turbo engine that makes up to 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque. - Sabrina Giacomini

The Kia Stinger is a fabulous car. It comes pretty close to what I consider to be perfection in automotive. It’s luxurious, fully loaded, provides ample cargo and seating, all the while being devilishly fun to drive. 

It’s no wonder the model was named AJAC’s Canadian Car of the Year for 2019, a year only after its introduction on the market. I don’t mean to gush but it truly is that good. It turned out to be one of those cars that made complete strangers curious enough to walk up to me and ask me about it. You should have seen their reaction when I told them it’s a Kia. 

This particular version of the model is quite striking in its grey dress. For 2019, Kia launched the Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary limited edition to celebrate, you will have guessed, the brand’s 20th anniversary in Canada. Only 150 Ghost Grey Stingers like this one were produced. The special package offered at $51,495 added to the existing Stinger GT Limited features the exclusive color scheme, 19-inch alloy wheels, Red Nappa interior surfaces, and red-stitched floor mats. 

While the base model starts you off at $39,995, I highly recommend putting down the additional $5k it takes to upgrade to the GT with the V6 twin-turbo engine. The four-cylinder engine will be axed from the lineup next year anyway and you’ll thank me for the advice — the powertrain is worth every penny. 

The 3.3L powerhouse is rated at 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque. For reference, that’s 20 hp away from a Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG for $15k less. The engine is mated to an efficient eight-speed transmission tuned well enough not to get too much in the way. 

For 2019, Kia launched the Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary limited edition to celebrate, you will have guessed, the brand’s 20th anniversary in Canada. - Sabrina Giacomini
For 2019, Kia launched the Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary limited edition to celebrate, you will have guessed, the brand’s 20th anniversary in Canada. - Sabrina Giacomini

There are five drive modes to adapt the Stinger’s personality to your mood of the moment. The car defaults to Comfort when you turn the engine off but even when trying to ensure your comfort, the car shows great potential for fun. Besides, all the Stingers sold in Canuckland are equipped with the standard all-wheel drive so you don’t even have to think about it. 

While this time around I didn’t get to put the car in the snow, my first encounter with the Stinger almost two years ago took place in the dead of winter and the car dove beautifully even in a snow storm. At 1,873kg, the Stinger is heavy which is a good thing when you need grip in the snow and the car’s performance isn’t penalized by it so that’s a win-win in my book. 

Kia launched the Stinger to shake the luxury/performance sedan segment up and make it more accessible. If you ask me, they succeeded. The result is an elegant-looking sedan that rides the line between performance and comfort with ease. Because, of course, I gush about the car’s performance but it’s also spacious and more versatile than it gets credit for. 

The 2019 Kia Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary is an elegant-looking sedan that rides the line between performance and comfort with ease. - Sabrina Giacomini
The 2019 Kia Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary is an elegant-looking sedan that rides the line between performance and comfort with ease. - Sabrina Giacomini

Legroom at the back is abundant enough that most passengers won’t feel cramped unless you have to give a ride to a tree and all his tree friends back from hockey practice. As for the trunk, while it won't receive awards for the most cargo space ever in a sedan due to how high the floor of the trunk is, the volume is sufficient to be practical on the daily. 

As formidable as the Stinger is, the model is having a hard time getting the attention it deserves and meeting the expectations, leaving Kia on the fence about the future of its first attempt at a luxury sedan. For now, the model lives on but for how long? The Stinger as we know it might soon go extinct — the harsh laws of the market. I highly recommend you act sooner rather than later if you are considering the purchase. Frankly, you deserve the Kia Stinger GT Limited and I don’t expect you to ever look back once you get the keys. 

The specs

Model: 2019 Kia Stinger GT Limited 20th Anniversary
Engine: 3.3L, V6, twin-turbo, 365 horsepower, 376 lb.-ft. of torque
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
NRCan rating (L/100km city/highway): 13.6/9.6
Length: 4,830 mm
Width: 1,870 mm 
Wheelbase: 2,905 mm
Weight: 1,873 kg
Price: base, $39,995 as tested, $53,465 including freight
Competition: BMW 4 Series Grand Coupe, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Jaguar XE, Audi S4
Standard equipment: Automatic headlights, Leather seats, Heated front seats, Heated rear seats, Heated steering wheel, Leather and chrome wrapped shift knob, Air conditioning, Dual-zone automatic climate control, 8" multimedia interface with integrated navigation, 15-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, AM/FM/MP3/satellite radio, USB audio input and charging port, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Wireless phone charger, Steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, Advanced smart cruise control, Drive Mode Select, Smart key with push-button start, UVO Intelligence connected car services, Advanced heads-up display (HUD) system, Smart power liftgate, Blind-spot Detection System, Lane Keep Assist System, Driver attention alert system, Autonomous emergency braking system, Rear parking sensors, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, 360° camera monitoring system, rearview camera

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