Kia Stinger Review: RWD Power that won’t Sting the wallet!
Article written by Cosi Dichiera:
When Kia started teasing the Stinger in early 2017, motoring fans new the car was going to be a game changer for the Korean brand, it was entering the sports sedan market in a big way. The Kia motto is the “power to surprise” and with the Stinger there is no surprise, just admiration! The vehicle styled by Peter Schreyer, engineered by Albert Biermann and developed out on the Nürburgring race-track over hundreds of hours, was always going to deliver serious bang for buck!
With the demise of the local Bogan-Mobil muscle in Australia, there is a huge vacuum in the large sports sedan market, driven by the back axle and Kia has pounced, launching the Stinger at the perfect time. If you’re after a euro badged car, with equivalent performance and enjoy being reamed by your dealer at every service, with crap customer support then you’ll be paying roughly twice the price and adding some extra cash for that hideous privilege! For performance and value for money, there is no better buy currently on the new vehicle market period and don’t forget that 7 year warranty and price capped servicing too, for unrivalled customer support you can’t go past Kia Australia!
From the outset, the Stinger has a lot of exterior design ploys from a lot of other makes, with modern design features, it’s quite good what Kia have done, utilising existing elements to come up with a very unique, sleek and styled looking fast back sedan. The car can be defined as a GT car, a sports sedan, a hybrid of hatch/sedan, I just call it a very sexy car to admire from all angles. With bonnet vents to visually inspire power and black chromed mirrors, windows and front tiger grill, the design team went for visual impact. Along the side the vehicle slopes back into a large sexy quad pipped rear-end and along the side the protruding wheel arches, let you know this car means business. Taking a look at the polished alloy rims 18 or 19inch depending on the Stinger variant (6 in the range), they’ve been designed to complement the chassis sports styling and if you look at the huge red callipers, you see one name Brembo, with Brembo’s on all four wheels and Continental rubber also, you really are getting premium stopping performance and road contact! I had the pleasure of the Stinger for a few days and if you park it anywhere, it attracts a few looks and all I received was positive feedback,” that’s one bloody good looking car mate..!” Pull up next to the last generation locally made Falcon/Commodore and it’s like parking the Concorde next to the Wright brothers first plane, so dated and boring was the local product, hence they’re extinct!
Inside the car the driver feels like they are in a cockpit with controls located where they should be, nothing looks out of sight or complicated to use. The central part of the dash contains the 7” Touch screen infotainment system which is simple to use and in good reach to both passenger/driver. In the centre of the dash there are minimal buttons, just a few for the air-conditioning; minimal cluster is good in my book. With three central round air-vents the interior has a Germanic look to it. Interior plastics are acceptable, but some switches do feel a tad cheap (something for Kia too address…) and there is a lot of chrome and gloss black plastic around the dash and centre console that looks stylish and hard wearing. Everything feels well-built and solid from the nice and clunky doors to the glove box. The driver’s power seat upfront offers great comfort and support and I never experienced any body roll, even at high speed cornering. At the rear, 2 adults can comfortably sit at the back for all day cruising, separated with a large armrest capable of storing drinks and with rear ventilation vents and USB connect ability, it’s a good spot to chill. The only drawback I noticed is that those 6ft and above, may be hitting the roof lining at the back with their head. Back to the driver, the sports steering wheel is small and firm and adjustable for tilt and reach if need be and the visuals of an analogue speedometer and tachometer are good and easy to see at day/night. The driver can easily make adjustments to the vehicles driving modes via a small knob behind the gear shifter (all Stingers are automatic). The central console between driver and passenger is quite large, has good storage space and feels well built. I put a few colleagues in the car for a quick assessment and they all said the same thing it’s a classy well laid out interior, it feels/looks premium, hide the Kia badge and a novice would think they were in a Bavarian car.
What’s the Stinger like to drive. Well with 272kw on tap and RWD, it can be quite lively in Sports Mode. This car is a licence finisher and has so much performance potential, it’s scary. I’m no Kimmi Raikkonen as most drivers aren’t and the car can perform at such a high level, its above 99% of most people’s capabilities. If you drive the car in a law abiding manner well then it’s a joy, effortless acceleration, with quiet smooth gear changes from the 8 speed auto. The steering is so precise almost go kart like, the vehicle responds to wheel movement like a thoroughbred. The Brembo’s have tremendous braking capability and chassis dynamics are so composed, that there was minimal body roll in cornering. The suspension is a tad firm, perhaps in the GT Stinger it can be softened up with the Dynamic Stability Damping Control. Basically, the Stinger can be driven by dad that wants to have a bit of fun, or Mum who needs to rush off to the shops, it’s versatile and a pleasure to drive, city or country motoring. Being a large sedan this is a heavy car and the engine is 3.3ltr twin turbo, so it can be thirsty if pushed hard, official figures are between 10-15L/100km, however the car runs on 91 unleaded, so expect savings at the pump with this. Some lower spec Stingers miss some modern safety features like blind spot detection and autonomous braking. I’d actually like Kia to make these features standard across the range, so that all Stingers attained a 5 star safety rating. Also Kia has 6 Stinger models to choose from, way too many, it should be an entry and premium model for both the 4cyl and 6cly variants. Also with an AWD Stinger available overseas, please make it available in Oz Kia, driving dynamics would be unbeatable with AWD! Just a tad note, rear view vision isn’t the best with the sweeping roofline and interior road noise was a tad high but acceptable, both very minor setbacks.
In summary if you are after a full-fledged sedan, with a premium feel, feature packed, sexy styling, tremendous power and with cabin space for a family head into a Kia showroom today, with models ranging from $45,990 to $59,990. Stingers have been selling like hot cakes, so the only issue is when you can get yours! Rumour has it even Kim Jong-Un has a private fleet on order. On a value for money performance comparison nothing competes!
Kia Stinger; First time effort at a large sports sedan from the Korean brand, others have been doing it for 50yrs and this first effort is a gem!