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KIA Stinger (2018–)

Last updated 8 January 2019

Excellent levels of standard equipment. Looks distinctive. Interior's pretty good.
Unsophisticated suspension and gearbox. Shallow boot.
Updated 21 December 2018

Report of alignment problems with ex-demonstrator KIA Stinger 3.3GTS bought at 7 months old in Jume 2018 at 1,500 miles. The car initially drifted slightly to the left. Owner put it down to road camber...

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The Kia brand is synonymous with value. While you might picture vehicles like the Picanto city car and Ceed family hatch when you think of the Korean manufacturer, it also provides affordable alternatives to more upmarket cars. The Sportage, for example, is an excellent rival to the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, while its Stinger is set to take on the BMW 4 Series, Audi A5 and Volkswagen Arteon.

Don’t click away just yet. You may think that no self-respecting BMW or Audi driver would consider a Kia, but take a look at what you get for your money. The entry-level Stinger with its 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 255PS starts at £32,025. That’s around £2,600 less than a BMW 420i, which has quite a lot less power (184PS), two fewer doors and a much shorter list of standard kit. The Audi A5, meanwhile, starts at £33,845. And, like the BMW, you’ll need to go heavy with the options to bring it up to the specification of the Kia.

Even the cheapest Kia Stinger comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, heated leather seats, front and rear parking sensors, selectable drive modes, adaptive cruise control and - for enthusiastic drivers - a limited slip differential. For £35,525, the mid-range Stinger GT-Line S adds an electric tailgate, LED headlights, a Harman Kardon premium audio system and a panoramic sunroof.

The top-spec Stinger GT S costs £40,535 and features 19-inch alloys, hefty Brembo brakes and adaptive dampers, not to mention a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine producing 370PS. That’s enough to take it to 62mph in 4.9 seconds - faster than a £46,845 BMW 440i.

We’ve established that the Stinger does the ‘value for money’ thing quite well, then. But it’s also pretty good to drive. It’s not as polished as premium brands, but it handles very well, the chassis providing lots of feedback and moving around just enough to remind you that you’re in a fairly powerful rear-wheel-drive car.

The gearbox is a bit unrefined and we’d like a bit more compliancy in the suspension, but a Volkswagen Arteon doesn’t come close for driver enjoyment.

It’d have been easy for Kia to cut corners on the interior, and while you will find switchgear from lesser models, the cabin has a pretty upmarket vibe about it. Three turbine-style air vents dominate the dash, along with a large central touchscreen. You sit low down, helping the sporty feel, while a longer wheelbase than the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series mean there’s a reasonable amount of interior space (although adults in the rear might wish for a bit more legroom). The boot appears fairly big but it’s also fairly flat, meaning its 406 litres isn’t as impressive as rivals.

The Kia Stinger is not an obvious choice and might take a bit of explaining to people who don’t quite get what it’s all about. It’s an interesting alternative to premium German rivals, however, and its rarity means it turns heads in the way a BMW 4 Series never will. There are a number of drawbacks - the jerky gearbox and not-quite-premium cabin, for example - but that’s reflected in the price. In fact, we’d almost go as far as saying the Stinger is a modern day bargain.

Kia Stinger 3.3 GT S 2018 Road Test


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