With apologies to Oldsmobile, may it rest in peace, this is not your father’s Kia. The Stinger is a stylish fastback sedan straddling the mid-size/full-size border. It will contend in the entry-luxury game, where it challenges entries from the Lords of the Autobahn — Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz — as well as Jaguar, another underdog in the same realm, though one that's more established than Kia with a higher prestige factor and a long and distinguished heritage.
At a glance, the Stinger’s assets are snappy styling and the attractive price/value index that’s typical of products from Kia and its corporate parent, Hyundai. But really evaluating and appreciating this Korean newcomer requires seat time. Its value will generate some attention, but this is not a realm in which buyers make their purchase decisions strictly online without getting behind the wheel. This is a realm of sports sedans, and dynamics — the fun-to-drive factor — ranks high on the list of buyer priorities. And this is the characteristic that gives the Stinger a surprising level of parity with the game’s established players.