2020 Kia Stinger vs. 2020 Volkswagen GTI

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 2020/09/29

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 GTI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Stinger offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Stinger GT2 has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The GTI only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. 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 GTI doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Stinger and the GTI have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available 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 vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Stinger the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GTI last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2019.

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 GTI’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Stinger 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the GTI. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the GTI ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 18 percent more Kia dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it 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 GTI’s 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 GTI isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 18 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Stinger GT-Line’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (255 vs. 228) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Stinger GT’s standard 3.3 turbo V6 produces 137 more horsepower (365 vs. 228) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (376 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Stinger GT 3.3 turbo V6 is faster than the Volkswagen GTI (automatics tested):

Stinger

GTI

Zero to 60 MPH

4.6 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

106.9 MPH

98.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regardless of its engine, the Stinger’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Volkswagen only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the GTI Automatic.

The Stinger has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the GTI (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The Kia Stinger comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the GTI.

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Kia Stinger, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GTI.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Stinger GT

GTI

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13.4 inches

12.2 inches

The Stinger stops much shorter than the GTI:

Stinger

GTI

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The Stinger GT’s 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GTI’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Stinger GT has standard 19-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The Stinger has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The GTI’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Stinger’s wheelbase is 10.8 inches longer than on the GTI (114.4 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Stinger is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 4.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the GTI.

The Stinger’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.9% to 48.1%) than the GTI’s (60.4% to 39.6%). This gives the Stinger more stable handling and braking.

The Stinger GT2 handles at .92 G’s, while the GTI SE pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.

The Stinger GT executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the GTI (24.8 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 26.1 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Stinger AWD is quieter than the GTI:

Stinger

GTI

At idle

39 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

81 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

67 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 GTI is rated a Compact.

The Stinger has 1.4 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear legroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the GTI.

Cargo Capacity

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The Stinger has a larger trunk than the GTI with its rear seat up (23.3 vs. 22.8 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Stinger. The GTI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Stinger is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the GTI. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The Stinger offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The GTI doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Stinger GT1/GT2, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The GTI doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Stinger GT1/GT2’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The GTI doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 GTI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 GTI’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

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 GTI doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Stinger GT1/GT2 is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The GTI’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Stinger’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Stinger and the GTI have standard heated front seats. 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 GTI.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Stinger GT1/GT2 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The GTI doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Stinger’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The GTI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Stinger has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the GTI Autobahn.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Stinger has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The GTI doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 2020/09/29

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 GTI isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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