2018 Kia Stinger Vs. 2018 Lexus IS

split screen image showing 2018 kia stinger and 2018 lexus is

Luxury sports sedans exist to give drivers an experience that is a little bit paradoxical. On the outside of your vehicle, you’re cruising – pulling over 250 horsepower from a track-tuned engine, accelerating quickly and relying on the best brakes and transmission components around to deliver breathtaking thrill. On the inside, you’re relaxed. Heated and/or cooled leather seats envelop you. A crystal-clear sound system plays your favorite music, and intuitive touchscreen or touch controlled navigation/smartphone connections keeps your eyes on the road.

These vehicles aren’t for everybody. They possess distinct style, impressive available performance numbers and sophisticated interiors rife with cutting-edge comfort and convenience amenities. For those drivers who are looking to turn every drive into an experience, however, there is no class of vehicles more ready to help them than this class. Today, we’re comparing two vehicles from the luxury sports sedan segment – the enduring Lexus IS and the rookie of the year, Kia Stinger.

2018 Kia Stinger


2018 Lexus IS

255-hp/365-hp (GT) Horsepower (base/maximum) 255-hp/311-hp (IS 350)
8-speed automatic with OD and automanual Base transmission 6-speed automatic with OD and automanual
25 combined Base MPG (higher is better) 21 combined
114.4 inches Wheelbase (higher is better) 110.2 inches
40.9 cubic feet (23.3 cubic feet with seats up) Max luggage volume (higher is better) 13.8 cubic feet (trunk)
Leather Seating material Plastic
$31,900 Base MSRP $40,200
5 years/60,000 miles Bumper-to-bumper warranty 4 years/50,000 miles

2018 Kia Stinger Advantages Over Lexus IS

The segment of luxury sports sedans is hinged on three items: performance, comfort and style. Looking purely at performance, the 2018 Kia Stinger comes out far ahead of the IS. Though the base engine equals horsepower, its torque output is much higher in the 2018 Kia Stinger.

The available high-performance engines on each model are hardly comparable with the Stinger besting the IS by over 50 horsepower. Kia’s choice to use a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in its Stinger base model, over an underpowered V6, like the one used by Lexus in the IS, means that the fuel efficiency is higher as well. When you’re buying premium fuel, that’s an important thing.

We could talk for days about the Stinger’s interior advantages but let’s just sum it up by saying that if you’re paying $40,000+ for a car, you shouldn’t be sitting on plastic when you drive it. Infotainment is another area that sees the Stinger pull ahead of the IS with full support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features Lexus has yet to implement and is unlikely to retrofit older models with, if and when they do.

Finally, it’s “predator’s mouth vs tiger’s nose” as we compare the style between the two four-door sports sedans. Although taste is style is different for everyone, the 2018 Kia Stinger features a wider and more planted look vs the origami overdesign of the 2018 Lexus IS. It is refined and sophisticated – as much at home in the country club parking lot as it is on the race track.

Both Kia and Lexus have stellar reputations for service, but with a warranty that lasts a year and 10,000 miles longer, you’ll find that Kia is more willing to stand behind their four-door sports sedan than Lexus – perhaps an important figure when you realize that both vehicles come in at an above average price point.

That’s not to say the price is similar, however. The 2018 Lexus IS asks you to pay over $8,000 more for its base model than the 2018 Kia Stinger. Upgrading your Stinger to a full-featured Premium base model still gives you room for $3,000+ worth of…well, whatever you want. In fact, you can purchase the 2018 Kia Stinger GT model with a V6 engine, get over 100 horsepower more with similar gas mileage and still be almost $2,000 cheaper than the base IS. Yikes.

Here at Friendly Kia, we know that drivers have a lot of choices. We firmly believe Kia offers the best vehicles with the best value. Additionally, you’ll find our pricing to be the best in the Tampa Bay area. Contact us today for more questions or to schedule a test drive!