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The 2021 Kia Stinger is a car unlike any other in the brand’s lineup. It’s sleek, luxurious, and athletic. However, one of this sport sedan’s trims levels is quite misleading.

So before you buy a new Stinger or look to take advantage of a lightly used model, avoid making a crucial mistake. We’ll help guide you by identifying the worst Stinger trim and recommend alternatives.

You get what you pay for with the 2021 Kia Stinger

A red 2021 Kia Stinger GT2 driving down a race track
The 2021 Kia Stinger GT2 in action | Kia

The entry-level Stinger GT-Line sure sounds sporty. And with a starting MSRP of just $33,090, it’s hard to pass up. However, there’s a reason Kia priced this trim level so low. But that’s not to say that this model is cheap. In fact, it’s one of Kia’s most luxurious cars.

You might be fooled at first glance by the GT-Line’s luxurious amenities. It’s decked out with leather upholstery, heated front seats, push-button start, a wireless device charger, and a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen. 

Kia also makes a 15-speaker sound system, a sunroof, a larger touchscreen, and a navigation system available via packages.

Additionally, it’s outfitted with sporty design cues that you’ll also find on the higher trims, such as a sport steering wheel. But with so many features and such a low price, Kia had to cut costs somewhere. Unfortunately, the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line’s downfall is its lackluster performance.

Unlike every other model in the lineup, the GT-Line features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Delivers 255 hp, this powerplant isn’t exactly dull. However, it doesn’t provide the performance that makes the 2021 Kia Stinger stand out from its competitors.

What do the other 2021 Kia Stinger trims have to offer?

A red 2021 Kia Stinger GT2 parked with its rear hatch open
The 2021 Kia Stinger GT2 on display | Kia

Thankfully, the rest of the Stinger’s lineup truly shines. These models all share the same powertrain, and the most affordable one, the GT, starts at $39,590.

A 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 powers every other 2021 Kia Stinger trim level. It kicks out 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, allowing you to rocket past slowpokes on the highway. Additionally, Kia outfitted these trims with Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential, and you can add an optional dynamic torque vectoring control system.

Those who want to truly enjoy the luxuriousness of the 2021 Kia Stinger should skip the GT trim as well. Kia inexplicably removed some optional packages from this model. For instance, the 15-speaker sound system and eight-inch infotainment touchscreen are unavailable.

Instead, you’ll have to upgrade to the GT1 ($45,490) to get these niceties as standard features. Plus, this trim comes with ventilated front seats and an assortment of driver-assistance technologies, including automatic emergency braking.

Should you buy a new 2021 Stinger?

It’s still extremely tempting to jump into a new 2021 Kia Stinger – even if it’s not as affordable as you once believed. Notably, an updated Stinger will arrive in 2022, but this year’s model still represents an incredible value for buyers.

Car and Driver recommended the 2021 Kia Stinger GT1 above all other trim levels, and it’s difficult to disagree. Aside from the power liftgate and the head-up display, the GT2 doesn’t offer too many enhancements that make it worth the money.

However, if you simply want a fun driving experience, the GT could be the right fit for you. It forgoes some of the luxuries, but it delivers all of the sport you could ask for.


Kia Just Killed Its 2 Most Luxurious Models In the U.S.