Do some shopping for a new midsize sedan and you’ll find that just about every model provides high levels of comfort and the latest in technology and safety. But what if you also want it to be stylish and engaging to drive while also still being practical? Consider the Volkswagen Arteon and Kia Stinger.
The Volkswagen Arteon tends to fly under the radar of most shoppers, but it’s notable for its premium interior, athletic handling and comfort. It also has a hatchback-style trunk that’s easy to load and has plenty of space.
For 2022, the Arteon addresses one of its prior shortcomings with a more powerful engine, increasing horsepower by 12%.
The Kia Stinger is another sleek and sporty sedan with a hatchback. Like the Arteon, it has an upscale interior, standout styling and plenty of power.
The Stinger also received several improvements for 2022, including revised styling, a larger center touch screen and an upgraded base engine.
Which of these superb but mostly unnoticed competitors is the better buy? Edmunds’ car experts find out.
Power, fuel economy
Both the Arteon and Stinger are powered by strong engines. The base Stinger GT-Line is propelled by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower. The top GT2 trim boasts a powerful turbocharged V6 that pumps out 368 horsepower. The V6 has an EPA estimate of 20 mpg combined with rear- or all-wheel drive. The four-cylinder gets 25 mpg with rear-wheel drive or 24 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Every Arteon comes with a 300-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With front-wheel drive, which is only available on the base SE R-Line trim, it’s the most efficient powertrain here with an EPA-estimated 28 mpg. The two higher trims come standard with all-wheel drive that results in 25 mpg combined.
The Arteon has the potential for greater fuel efficiency, but the ability to upgrade to the Stinger’s available V6 is ultimately more compelling.
Winner: Kia Stinger
The Stinger and Arteon are true sport-centric sedans that are entertaining to drive and sure-footed when the road gets twisty. The Stinger’s steering is light and precise, making the car feel nimble and responsive.
When in Sport mode, the Arteon’s adaptive suspension, which improves handling and comfort, tightens up and helps keep the car well composed around corners. Both vehicles instill confidence in the driver.
If you prefer straight-line speed, you’ll love the Stinger’s turbocharged V6. It’s by far the quickest, hitting 60 mph in 5.0 seconds when Edmunds tested it. It took the Arteon 6.0 seconds, and 6.2 seconds for the Stinger with the turbo-four engine.
Comfort does take a bit of a back seat. Driving over large road imperfections can be a little jarring in the Arteon. Similarly, rough pavement can make the Stinger’s ride busy.
Both cars have firm seats, but the Arteon’s are slightly more comfortable. As for cargo, both provide more cargo space than a typical sedan thanks to their hatchback-style trunks, but you’ll be able to fit more stuff in the back of the Arteon.
Winner: Volkswagen Arteon
The Arteon’s starting price of $43,825 is relatively high. But it does include some appealing standard features such as an adaptive suspension system and a digital instrument panel.
The range-topping SEL Premium R-Line trim passes the $50,000 mark and comes equipped with heated and ventilated massaging front seats and a self-parking system.
With a starting price of $37,695, the Stinger is not only more affordable but also offers comparable standard features minus the adaptive suspension, and you get a larger touch screen display.
The Stinger’s top GT2 trim also tops $50,000 but includes performance-oriented features you can’t get in the Arteon such as a powerful V6 engine, Brembo brakes and an upgraded rear differential for improved traction.
Both rivals come standard with a full suite of advanced driver aids. Most worked well during testing, but we noticed the Stinger’s lane centering system would bounce the sedan between lanes, and the Arteon’s adaptive cruise control was slow to accelerate.
The Stinger offers a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. You also get five years of roadside assistance.
With the Arteon, you get a shorter four-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty and three years of roadside assistance. However, it also includes two years of free scheduled maintenance.
Winner: Kia Stinger
Both the Kia Stinger and Volkswagen Arteon are compelling choices that offer lots of performance, comfort and tech. It was a close race, but the value-packed Stinger’s lower starting price, more available power and longer warranties make it the better buy.
Michael Cantu is a contributor at Edmunds.