Kia Stinger 19What a car! Our 2018 Kia Stinger GT test car.Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • The Kia Stinger takes home the big trophy for 2018.
  • It bested some serious competition, including the Tesla Model 3, the Lamborghini Huracán Performante, the Ferrari 812 Superfast, the Lincoln Navigator, and the Jaguar I-Pace.
  • In all, the Kia Stinger beat out 14 other finalists.
  • We concluded that it’s the best car South Korea has ever produced — a triumph after many years of Kia working to establish itself in the US and other global markets.

The Kia Stinger is Business Insider’s Car of the Year for 2018!

This is the fifth time we’ve presented the big trophy, and the Stinger joins illustrious company. Past winners were the Corvette Stingray in 2014, the Volvo XC90 in 2015, the Acura NSX in 2016, and the Porsche Panamera in 2017.

In the half-decade we’ve been giving out our Car of the Year award, there had never been a vehicle that established itself as an early front-runner only to maintain its perch all year. But as soon as Senior Correspondent Matt DeBord drove the Kia Stinger in the Bay Area at the beginning of 2018, he knew it was something special. On return to Business Insider’s New York office from the West Coast, he could barely contain his enthusiasm.

Senior Reporter Ben Zhang got his crack on the East Coast a few months later and was also blown away.

Real competition certainly arrived. The Tesla Model 3 is stupendous, and it’s hard to argue against the Aston Martin DB11 Volante, the Ferrari 812 Superfast, and the Lamborghini Huracán Performante. Zhang and DeBord passed many a weekend morning or afternoon at our suburban New Jersey test center debating the merits of various contenders. (This was also the first year when we had two all-electric vehicles in the running — the Jaguar I-Pace and the Model 3 — perhaps a sign of things to come.)

Read more: One of these 15 finalists will become Business Insider’s 2018 Car of the Year.

Our methodology is based on a handful of simple questions.

  • Is there a strong business case for the vehicle? We are a business website, after all.
  • Did our reviewers agree that the vehicle should be included? We have to come to a consensus, even though we might disagree on some particulars.
  • Was the vehicle objectively excellent? There has to be a wow factor of some sort.
  • Did the vehicle stand out from the sea of competition, particularly when it comes to technology? A Car of the Year finalist has to be special, and we’re also a technology website.
  • Can we strongly recommend buying or leasing the car? We demand to know whether we’d buy the vehicle ourselves if we had the resources.

To be eligible, all models must be new or have been substantially updated within the past year.

The Kia Stinger is the best car South Korea has ever produced. Designed by Peter Schreyer, the sports sedan is intended to evoke the great European grand-touring cars of the past, such as the Lamborghini Miura or the Ferrari Daytona.

This means the Stinger has notably more panache and a unique sort of sleek prowess that’s lacking in similar offerings from Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Lexus. Those brands produce wonderful, spirited four-doors, but they do so at a higher price tag than Kia, and in recent years their core vehicles have bulked up. They’ve opted for aggressive, while the Stinger goes for style.

In the end, the Stinger put its elegant nose in front and kept it there for an entire year. We sampled close to 70 vehicles in 2018, so this victory for Kia is particularly notable. The competition was intense. But the Kia Stinger was up for it. It’s fair to say that we’ve admired our previous Car of the Year winners. But when it came to Stinger, we fell in love.

Photos by Hollis Johnson.