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Stinger: Hard to believe it's a Kia

Created on 15/01/2019 @ 10:56

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

It was little surprise to those in the know when the Kia Stinger was named “Sports Saloon Of The Year” by a leading motoring magazine last month.

The Stinger is Kia’s first attempt at cracking the quick saloon formula in the UK and thanks to a combination of stunning looks and a brave move towards old-school rear-wheel-drive thrills it ticks all the right boxes.

But the Stinger is not a hard-edged sports car created to be brutally fast at the expense of comfort. Designers are quick to point out that this is a gran turismo not a sports car. And how right they are because this is a car you just don’t want to stop driving.

Five versions of the car are available in the UK, all with turbocharged direct-injection engines paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with state-of-the-art electronic driver aids and connectivity systems.

We tested the 2.0 T-GDi GT-Line S which had a top speed of 149mph with 0-60mph in only 5.8 seconds. But if that’s not enough for you then the 3.3litre twin turbo V6 should suffice with 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds – the fastest Kia on the planet.

Stinger was six years in the design studio with experts starting to question if the company was brave enough to step outside its normal comfort zone. But they did and the result is a remarkable car which prompted several admirers to check the credibility of the Kia badging. “Oh yes it’s a Kia.”

Stinger comes with all the gran turismo proportions. The long bonnet, short front overhang, long wheelbase, cabin placed towards the rear of the car, lengthy rear overhang beneath broad shoulders and a ‘coke-bottle’ nip in the waist is the template for Kia’s future in the sector where Audi and BMW dominate.

The cabin does not perhaps match some of the opposition in this sector but the simple design will suit many and it’s refreshing to find all the instruments just where you want to find them. There’s also a good-looking horizontal sweep to the high-mounted dashboard and leather finish to the dash, doors, gear shift, steering wheel and seats.

The seats are about as comfortable as it gets and for the front seated pair there’s no excuse to not getting comfortable with no less than eight-way power adjustments, with two-way cushion and four-way lumber adjustment for the driver.

We old-school motorists always appreciate rear-wheel-drive and the Stinger is a delight, helped by ABS braking with EBD and Brake Assist. You also get Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, hill-start assist, emergency stop warning, gear shift indicators, blind spot detection and rear-cross traffic alerts.

Safety is high on the Kia agenda too with twin front airbags, twin curtain air bags with rollover sensors, twin side airbags, child safety rear door locks, alarm system and engine immobiliser.

The Stinger on test stood on attractive 18inch alloys and had good-looking metallic effect grille, tinted glass, automatic headlight control, LED daytime running lights, welcome and follow me home lights, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, a one-touch sunroof and rain-sensing wipers.

To add to the gran turismo claim there was plenty of rear seat space for two good-sized adults and enough luggage space for most occasions, though a two-week break to the South of France may present some issues for a family of four.

All that performance comes at a price of course and we struggled to produce the claimed 33mpg on the combined cycle meaning regular visits to the fuel pumps. CO2 emissions are high too at 191g/km.

The test car touched down at £35,935, which is a competitive offer. If you wanted to step-up to the 3.3 range-topper you would need to find another £6,000.

The Stinger is without doubt the most adventurous model in Kia’s history and the company should be applauded for being brave enough to introduce the elegant, high-performance gran turismo to the UK market.

Test drives are highly recommended, believe me you will be "stung".



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