The Kia Stinger with Euro bite

Looking a bit like an Asian Giant Hornet in its Neon Orange paint job this Kia Stinger 3.3 GT has plenty of potency to keep you entertained as a driver. Its technology and interior design give off a Euro-car vibe, but without the Euro-car price tag. And even though the Stinger has been around for a few years now I still find the striking design turns my head every time I see one on the road.

The Stinger is a large GT-styled sedan with a 3.3-litre twin turbo V6 engine at its heart. The engine produces a maximum 272kW of power and maximum torque of 510Nm, that’s more than the legendary BMW E46 M3! This propels the South Korean GT from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds and it has Brembo brakes to pull it up. The official combined fuel consumption for the Stinger GT is 8.8L/100km and for my week I used an average of 12L/100km. It should be noted also that the Stinger runs on 95RON fuel not premium 98RON juice.

There are five drive modes to choose from in the Stinger GT; Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom. Under Custom mode you can select between Sport, Eco or Comfort for the Engine/Transmission and between Comfort or Sport for the steering wheel and suspension feel. The Stinger has an 8-speed automatic transmission, with wheel mounted paddle shifters if you fancy taking control of the gear changes for yourself.

In Comfort mode the Stinger didn’t feel planted when I was pushing hard through corners, it felt ‘squirrelly’ even on the Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. In Sport mode the Stinger will let you wiggle its bottom without feeling unsafe while the driver’s seat squeezes your sides in preparation for aggressive cornering. The exhaust gets noisier thanks to the optional bi-modal exhaust ($3,208.44) and the suspension is firmer. Suffice to say I felt more comfortable with the Stinger in Sport mode.

I liked that I could turn off the Active Engine Sound, aka fake exhaust noise, so that I could hear the natural voice of the 3.3 litre V6 turbocharged engine through the bi-modal exhaust, even if it wasn’t the most exciting exhaust note I have ever heard.

The Sports Nappa leather appointed seats feature the GT logo embossed on the headrests and come standard with heating as well as cooling and the cooling actually works quite well, something that some more expensive cars cannot boast about. The driver’s seat has 8-way power adjustment plus side bolstering and powered thigh extender with two memory positons and the steering wheel location is also stored in this memory as the Stinger GT has electric steering adjustment as well.  The passenger seat also has 8-way power adjustment and lumbar support, but no memory positions.

The look of the 8’’ Bezel-less touch screen infotainment system reminded me quite a bit of the Mercedes-AMG dash configuration. The infotainment system gives you access to the satellite navigation system that comes with 10 years SUNA traffic information and 10 years of MapCare. The Stinger also come standard with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and you can access the voice control for the system when these are plugged in via a USB cable.

The brushed metal finish on the centre console is nice and the mat dash is good because it doesn’t get finger marks on it. Under the sliding cover at the front of the centre console there’s a 12V outlet, one AUX inlet, one USB port and wireless charging for compatible devices. The cup holders in the centre console are two different sizes, with the smaller one suited for your espresso coffee. And for your drink bottle there is a good-sized drink bottle storage cubby in the front doors.

Other Euro-feeling styling points in the cabin include the sporty looking flat-bottom perforated premium steering wheel with the GT logo, which is also heated. The driver’s dash is a configurable 7’’ colour TFT-LCD and the Stinger GT’s colour head-up display shows you navigation guidance, collision warnings, your speed and speed limits projected on to the windscreen.

To complete the interior package the Stinger GT has a harman/kardon 15 speaker premium sound system with two under seat subwoofers all powered by an external amplifier. Media sources include a MP3 compatible audio player, AM/FM, DAB digital radio, AUX/USB input with iPod compatibility and Bluetooth connection to the music on your phone. There is nothing quite like listening to your favourite music as a way to relax on your drive.

The rear seats have enough leg room for adults, but I found the head room to be limited thanks to the sloping roof line. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but you will only fit two car seats in due to the width of the back seat. The centre seat folds down into an arm rest with two rigid drink bottle holders and there is drink bottle storage in the door cubbies as well. Behind the centre console there is one USB port and one 12V outlet for rear passengers to use and air vents with basic temperature and twist on/off control.

The boot has power open and close and is a good size, but its depth means you have to stretch to place or remove things from the back. The rear seats have 40/60 split fold function so you have even more storage room if needed. There is a temporary spare tyre located under the boot floor.

The list of driver safety aids that come as standard in the Stinger GT is impressive and include Forward Collision Avoidance and Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning with Active Lane Keep Assist and a good 360o view reversing camera with front and rear sensors.

I found that the Smart Cruise Control with active lane keep assist technology works well, but is not as good as the best systems on the market. The Kia system feels like it has almost constant minor steering adjustments and the way I would describe the Kia system is ‘granular’, while the market leaders are smooth in their operation.

Passive safety features include driver and front passenger airbags, driver’s knee airbag, front side airbags, curtain airbags and side door impact beams. All model variants in the Stinger range from February 2018 onwards have a 5-star ANCAP (2017) safety rating. The adult occupant protection is rated 34.9 out of 38 (91%) and the child occupant protection is rated 39.7 out of 49 (81%).

All new Kias come with a 7-Year Unlimited Kilometre Warranty and one year of complimentary Roadside Assist, but owners can renew their Roadside Assistance package yearly, for up to 8 years, by simply returning their vehicle to an Authorised Kia Dealer for its annual scheduled services. Membership will remain valid for one year following your scheduled service, and will be renewed if an Authorised Kia Dealer completes the vehicle’s next scheduled serviced within one year. For the Stinger, service intervals are every year or 10,000km whichever comes first and the total service cost for the seven year period is capped at $4,068.

The Stinger GT has the speed, styling and technology to irritate more expensive Euro cars with the added bonus of a seven year warranty and capped price servicing costs. Prices start at $63,990 including on road costs and as tested with the optional bi-modal exhaust my Stinger GT was $67,198.44 drive away. Visit your preferred Kia Dealer to discover the entire Stinger range for yourself.

ProsCons
Stylish interior and exterior designVoice control only works when Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is connected
The amount of technology that is included as standardLane keep assist technology not up to industry-best standard
Seven-year warranty and capped price servicingSloping roofline reduces rear passenger head room

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.