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If you don’t want to shovel out over $50,000 for a brand-new Korean sports sedan, you can always look for a used Kia Stinger for sale. The surprisingly quick four-door may have never conquered its segment, but it allowed enthusiasts a bargain entry. Next year, we wave goodbye to the Stinger, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get one. Plenty of used models are on sale, but which year is the best?

What do you get under the hood?

2018 is the first model year Kia Stinger for sale
2018 Kia Stinger GT2 | Kia

While the base engine would evolve from a 255-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter to a 300-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo-four, the top selection remained constant. Kia’s twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 puts down 368 horsepower and 376 pounds-feet of torque in its latest configuration. Output was nearly identical in the 2018 debut year.  

Either powerplant in the base GT-Line, top-tier GT2, or the discontinued GT1 variant was mated to an eight-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive was standard for any Kia Stinger for sale, but all-wheel drive was available. Car and Driver was able to coax a 4.6-second 0 to 60 mph time out of it, but straight-line speed aside, it does have some unnerving chassis play under hard cornering.

Common problems with any Kia Stinger for sale

Apart from recalls, Stingers of any model year are pretty mechanical sound. Therefore, any Kia Stinger for sale is likely a financially sound choice if you’re worried about car maintenance.

Though, the car does have its quirks, and they do detract from its stance against legacy sports sedans. Some reviewers bemoan Kia staffing the sports sedan with all-season tires rather than grippier rubber. Otherwise, owners report excessive noise and rattling inside the cabin, which shouldn’t be present on a luxury sedan—though the Stinger technically isn’t.

NHTSA recalls

2020 is a later model year Kia Stinger for sale
2020 Kia Stinger GT2 | Kia

Across the 2018-2021 Stingers, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) issued 10 recalls. In the 2018 Kia Stinger, an engine compartment fire may occur where the anti-lock brake hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU) is located. It also had a front wiring harness that could be easily damaged. For the 2019 model year, the only recall addressed the HECU.

The 2020 Kia Stinger has the most recalls, with four. They include an inaccurate fuel gauge, a blocked fuel pump nozzle, a mismanufactured power steering assembly, and, again, the HECU. In 2021, Kia managed to fix the steering issues, but the Stinger still had the same three recalls as the previous year. Fortunately, for the 2022 model year, no recalls have been made.

Is the Kia Stinger a reliable car?

2022 is the best model year Kia Stinger for sale
2022 Stinger GT-Line (left) and GT (right) | Kia

Kia recently placed first in J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study as the most reliable mass-market brand. But it hasn’t always been that way. J.D. Power tracks the reliability of the Kia Stinger as an upward progression since its 2018 debut. When it first arrived in the luxury compact sedan segment, it was ranked far below the competition from Audi, BMW, and Infiniti.

In 2023, the rating agency places the Kia Stinger just below the Lexus ES in the class. And playing second fiddle to Lexus in reliability is nothing to be upset about.

If potential buyers want the biggest bang for their buck, it’s best to stick with the later model-year Stingers. In 2019, U.S. News says Kia added heated rear seats, wireless charging, and a 360-view parking camera system. But those were only on the upper trim levels. For the 2022 model year, the Stinger gained a peppy base engine but also received slight exterior updates, more standard active safety features, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen.

Overall, the best model year leans toward the 2022 Kia Stinger. With its lack of recalls, three trim levels instead of two, and the most tech-heavy of the model years, it’s value-packed. It may not have the badge prestige as other sports sedans, but potential buyers can always find a worthwhile bargain in a Kia Stinger for sale.


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