Motoring and Property Editor
7:57 PM 26th July 2021
Stinger – Time To Catch Up With Kia’s Range-topper
Kia is South Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles, now producing over 1.5 million vehicles in 13 plants in 8 different countries. Rewind a decade or two and the cars on offer were undoubtedly worthy, affordable and just a bit dull.
How times have changed as the current range encompasses stylish family hatchbacks, attractive SUVs and cute city cars. Prices have risen, but then so has quality and as if to emphasise the point, all the cars come with a comprehensive 7-year/100,000-mile warranty. From experience, you are unlikely to need it!
What is it?
What was missing from Kia’s range was a halo model, something with a bit of sparkle to cast a shining light over the range as a whole. Step forward then the Stinger, a stylish rear-wheel drive fastback.
Shown as a concept back in 2011, production was uncertain and rather sadly UK sales have been modest, the allure of the established premium German brands being an insurmountable obstacle. This is a shame as the Stinger competes with the very best and is likely to be a damn sight more reliable too!
Fast Facts (as tested)
Kia Stinger T-GDi V6 ‘GT S’
3,342cc V6 petrol engine
361bhp, 510Nm of torque
0-60mph in 4.7 seconds
Top speed 167mph
Emissions – 229g/km CO2
Economy 28mpg combined
7 year/100,000-mile warranty
How does it drive?
At a recent range day event for the Northern Group of Motoring Writers, of which I am Chairman, I got to sample the Stinger once again. Kia’s fastest accelerating car accomplishes the sprint from rest to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds and in the real world it feels every but as quick. The twin turbocharged motor ensures plenty of punch at all times and there is a delightful V6 soundtrack as an accompaniment.
Electronic damping and powerful Brembo brakes help keep things on an even keel, but judicious use of your right foot is required at all times. I selected ‘sport’ mode for most of my drive and I had forgotten that a push of this button also sees the driver’s seat side bolster firm up, as if to say the car is ready for a little fun.
Use the performance to the full and the trip computer will display an economy read out of less than 20mpg. Expect mid 20s if a little restraint is exercised.
Show the Stinger a winding road and it is surprising the amount of speed you can carry into the corners. The suspension is firm enough to contain body roll yet yielding enough to smooth out all but the very worst sections of pock-marked roads.
On the inside
Kia’s press pack makes much reference to the Stinger’s role as a Grand Tourer, where comfort and luxury combine with raw power. The power we have already established, but what of passenger comfort?
There is seating for five, but you would have to be on particularly good terms with your fellow rear seat passengers to travel thus. So, four makes sense, but the coupe styling does reduce available headroom, a problem for those over six foot.
Up front the driver’s seat boasts plenty of adjustment and is comfortable and supportive. Fine quality Nappa leather abounds, and seat heaters are fitted front and rear – a nice touch.
The centre console has an aluminium finish to it, whilst the mock suede headlining and splashes of chrome lift the cabin ambiance, with some success.
Unlike the Stinger’s obvious rivals, there is no need to raid the options list as the standard specification wants for very little.
I have always liked the Stinger and applaud Kia for bringing it to market. It does what it sets out to do and that is to inject some sparkle into the South Korean manufacturer’s range.
I have my doubts that it will be replaced when it reaches the end of its life cycle, so why not buy now and stand out from the crowd with something a little different? It’s an exciting car to drive, boasts distinctive looks, a high equipment count and is beautifully built.
Is there a sting in the tail? Only when you push too hard in the wet…