By David Miles
IT’S expected to become the best seller in this exciting new range of luxury saloons from the Korean manufacturer, which introduced the new model series at the end of 2017 with a powerful 365bhp 3.3 litre GT-S and they will be joined this spring by 197bhp 2.2 turbo-diesel.
Kia’s current advertising theme is ‘The Power to Surprise’ and with the arrival of the Stinger that is certainly true. The stunning to look at Stinger is the latest result of ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer move to the Kia and Hyundai brands and that has been further enhanced by the recruitment of ex-BMW M division’s chassis and vehicle development guru Albert Biermann joining the team.
The Stinger is an imposing five door coupe styled GT car with muscular wheelarches, a low stance and roofline, sculptured door panels, a sleek new version of the Kia Tiger Nose grille, long bonnet, air flow vents in the front lower bumper and lower front wings with air intakes in the bonnet for the intercooler. At the rear is a sharply raked tailgate, a spoiler plus a lower body diffuser flanked by double twin exhaust tailpipes.
The GT-Line versions with the 2.0-litre petrol engine has a comprehensive level of sports specification including 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, sports front seats, heated and powered driver’s seat, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, head-up display, parking sensors, cruise control, selectable driving modes, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning alerts and speed limit information as well as DAB radio and the usual Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity functions. The GT-Line S level adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, LED headlights, heated rear seats, powered tailgate, 360-degree surround view camera, sunroof and wireless phone charging.
When it comes to performance the 2.0-litre Stinger is not all ‘show’ and no ‘go’. With the eight-speed auto gearbox and an ample 353Nm of torque from 1,400rpm the acceleration is responsive when needed yet remains calm when the car is travelling on congested roads.
The official Combined Cycle figure of 35.8mpg for the 2.0-litre petrol model was optimistic as I couldn’t get close in my brief test drive so the real-life figure was 25.1mpg.
As is often the case, a smaller capacity engine works harder and uses more fuel for the same result but the benefit is significantly lower taxation costs.
In most other respects the Stinger is well balanced with its long wheelbase and wide front and rear tracks and fast response steering rack.
All versions have a Drive Mode Selector which gives five different gearshift and throttle settings and a limited slip differential for optimum traction from the two rear wheels during cornering.
So, true to their advertising word, Kia ‘continues to surprise’.
At a glance
KIA STINGER 2.0 TURBO PETROL
For: Great exterior sports five door GT coupe styling, high specification, good value for money, much cheaper to buy with less costly taxes than the 3.3-litre version but it still looks the same, long warranty, good to drive, roomy with ample boot space
Against: Cluttered interior with unrefined layout of controls and switches, limited rear visibility through the tailgate window, no rear window wash/wipe unit, lacks a suitable sporty exhaust tone.