2020 Kia Stinger vs. 2020 Lexus IS Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/18

The Stinger has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The IS Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Stinger GT2 has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The IS Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Stinger GT1/GT2’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The IS Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Stinger and the IS Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Stinger its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The IS Series has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The Stinger comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The IS Series’ 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Stinger 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Lexus covers the IS Series. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the IS Series ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Kia dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Stinger’s warranty.

Reliability

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The battery on the Stinger is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Stinger’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The IS Series’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Stinger third among compact premium cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The IS Series isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Lexus vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The Stinger has more powerful engines than the IS Series:

Horsepower

Torque

Stinger GT-Line 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

255 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Stinger GT 3.3 turbo V6

365 HP

376 lbs.-ft.

IS 300 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

IS 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Stinger GT-Line is faster than the IS 300 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder:

Stinger

IS Series

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10.7 sec

12.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.6 sec

19.3 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.3 sec

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95.2 MPH

89.9 MPH

As tested in Road and Track the Stinger GT is faster than the IS 350:

Stinger

IS Series

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

1.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.6 sec

5.4 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

7.2 sec

8.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.9 sec

13.8 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

13.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

109.3 MPH

102.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Stinger’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The IS Series doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Stinger uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The IS Series requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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The Stinger GT/GT1/GT2’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s at 2250 in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The IS Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Stinger GT’s brake rotors are larger than those on the IS Series:

Stinger GT

IS Series

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13.4 inches

12.2 inches

The Stinger stops much shorter than the IS Series:

Stinger

IS Series

80 to 0 MPH

217 feet

226 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Stinger GT-Line has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the IS Series. The Stinger GT’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the IS Series.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Stinger’s wheelbase is 4.2 inches longer than on the IS Series (114.4 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Stinger is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the IS Series.

The Stinger GT2 handles at .93 G’s, while the IS Series AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Stinger GT executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the IS Series (24.8 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Stinger AWD is quieter than the IS 350 F Sport (39 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Stinger a Mid-size car, while the IS Series is rated a Compact.

The Stinger has 3.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the IS Series (93.8 vs. 90.2).

The Stinger has .1 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 4.2 inches more rear legroom, 2.1 inches more rear hip room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the IS Series.

Cargo Capacity

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The Stinger has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the IS Series (23.3 vs. 10.8 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Stinger GT2’s power trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Stinger’s power trunk can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The IS Series doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Ergonomics

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The Stinger GT2 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The IS Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Stinger and the IS Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Stinger is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The IS Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Stinger’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The IS Series’ cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Stinger’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the IS Series’ headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Stinger has standard extendable sun visors. The IS Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Stinger has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the IS Series. The Stinger GT2 also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the IS Series.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Stinger owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Stinger will cost $2165 less than the IS Series over a five-year period.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/18

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Stinger third among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The IS Series isn’t in the top three.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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