By Peter Perrotta
This week’s On The Road leads with a review of the 2022 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD V6 and also covers the Kia Niro and the Mercedes GLE 53.
Kia has stepped up into the world of luxury and sportiness quite nicely in recent years. This South Korean importer is no longer just an economical alternative to the Hondas and Toyotas of the world.
The immensely popular Kia Telluride SUV is a fine example of one of its quality offerings. The 2022 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD V6 can be added to this list as well.
This Stinger is a classy, yet sporty four door sedan offered up in the neighborhood of the same price point as a 3 series BMW.
The base price of the model I tested is $53,490. When you add in the options and delivery charge, it stickers at $55,655.
Powered by a 3.3 liter turbo charged V6 this Stinger puts out an impressive 368 horsepower.
Moreover, inside and out it is luxuriously appointed.
The GT2 package adds upgraded sound system, heated seats, power tilt steering wheel, sport gauges, a 7 inch touchscreen and more.
Overall, I found the Stinger loads of fun to drive. It handles reasonably well and is comfortable. The instrumentation is easy enough to figure out and is generally very intuitive.
Is this vehicle as good as the BMW 3 series or Mercedes C Class?
Not just yet. But let’s give the folks at Kia some time to work on it.
The Stinger gets 20 miles per gallon overall on its EPA fuel ratings – 17 in city driving and 24 on the highway.
Moreover, it gets an impressive 5 star government crash test rating – the highest score possible.
2022 Kia Niro EX Premium
The hybrid Niro sits on the other end of the spectrum from the Stinger. This economical compact crossover SUV is smaller and less powerful but sports a very impressive EPA fuel consumption rating of 49 mpg overall.
The Niro will get you 51 mpg in city driving and 46 mpg on the highway.
The Kia Niro EX Premium model I tested is powered by a rather small 1.6 liter, four cylinder gas engine that is paired with a 1.56 kilowatt lithium battery and a six speed dual clutch transmission.
Needless to say, at 139 horsepower you won’t win any Indy 500 races with this compact crossover. But, that’s not what this vehicle is all about.
Overall, this is a utilitarian, sort of knock around compact SUV that checks most of all the right boxes and is economical to own.
The model I drove has a base price of $31,990. The only added options were the red paint for $295 and carpeted floor mats for $155. The bottom line sticker price with delivery charges comes in at $33,615.
The Niro handles reasonably well and has an adequate amount of room for cargo.
It is reasonably comfortable to drive and offers good sight lines while driving.
It scored four stars out of five on the government’s crash test rating.
2022 Mercedes AMG GLE 53
There was a time when in order to get the AMG badge on a Mercedes, the vehicle’s engine had to be hand made in a smaller boutique style production site.
Such, is no longer the case.
While it still produces the handmade AMG engines on some of its models, Mercedes now puts out AMG enhanced models, like this GLE 53. These engines are not handmade, but rather infused with AMG like power and qualities.
The 3.0 liter, turbo charged GLE 53 I tested for a week puts on an impressive 429 horsepower.
When you put the drive mode selector in the sport plus mode on this GLE 53, it growls quite nicely and offers pure excitement on the road.
I found the GLE 53 to be very well built, loaded with quality features inside and out.
It drives more like sports car than an SUV and offers up plenty of cargo room for those long trips to the shore with the family.
Of course, none of this comes cheap.
The base price for the GLE 53 is $73,550. However, my tester was loaded with options and carried a bottom line sticker price of $101,080.
Some of the pricier options included in my test vehicle included: $4,500 for AMG Black exclusive Nappa leather; $4,450 for 22-inch AMG matte black wheels; $1,950 for a driver assist package; $1,600 for heated and ventilated seats and more.
The EPA fuel consumption rating for the GLE 53 comes in at 19 miles per gallon overall – 22 in highway driving and 18 in the city.
The government’s crash test safety test was not fully completed on this SUV. But it did get five stars for the frontal crash test.
Of course you can get less expensive non AMG versions of the solid GLE, but if you are looking for a powerful and quite luxurious version, this certainly checks all those boxes and is worth considering if you can afford the hefty price tag.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears bi-weekly. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On The Road is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield, New Jersey.