2018 Kia Stinger
- 15th August 2018 by SGDriver
Gone are the days when producing cheap and car with no frills was a South Korean thing.
Kia has repositioned itself, particularly to car designas well as improving the perceived quality of its vehicles.
The Kia Stinger strikes a resemblance to the BMW grand tourer. Three flavours of Stinger are available. Crowning the range is the GT S, which packs a 3.3-litre, 365bhp twin-turbocharged V6 under its bonnet, while a humbler 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel is also available. The third variant – and the subject of this test – is the entry-level petrol model, which is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine.
As has increasingly become common practice in this age of engine downsizing and turbocharging, Kia has also employed what it calls an ‘active sound system’ to pipe an enhanced version of the four-cylinder’s engine note into the cabin. This Stinger’s 18in alloys are shod in 225/45 R18 ContiSport Contact 5 tyres and are suspended by MacPherson struts at the front axle, and a multi-link arrangement at the rear.
Opening the door certainly reveals a cabin that’s well equipped – there are heated and ventilated leather seats and a full touchscreen infotainment suite, for example – but materially and visually the Stinger doesn’t quite match the levels of perceived quality achieved by the likes of Audi or BMW. The three circular air vents on the central dashboard fascia, for example, are reminiscent of the arrangement you might find in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the moulded plastic on the fascia itself gives a somewhat convincing Regardless of specification, all Stingers make use of the same 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system. The dashtop-mounted screen incorporates satellite navigation, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The screen is responsive to the touch, with minimal amounts of lag, although its position on the top of the dash does mean you have to stretch to reach it – not always ideal while on the move. It’s a roomy cabin too. Passengers in the rear will find an abundance of leg room – 50mm more than you get in an Audi A5 Sportback – and head room isn’t too bad, either. The front seats are electrically adjustable, as is the steering rack, which caters to changes in both rake and reach. It all means that getting comfortable is a simple, uncomplicated process. Boot space is 406 litres and is easily accessible courtesy of that liftback tailgate, which rises to reveal a large, square-shaped aperture. The boot isn’t as large as an A5 Sportback’s or a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé’s (they both offer 480 litres), but there’s more than enough room in the Kia for weekend luggage for a family of four.
Considering the fact that the 2.0-litre Stinger’s superior levels of power and torque over its immediate rivals at this price point are likely to be a strong draw, it is a shame that those supposed accelerative advantages didn’t exactly shine through on the day. At least it is relatively smooth on the upshift, though. Paddle shifters on the steering wheel mean you can swap cogs yourself, although with no locked-out manual mode, the transmission will promptly reselect ‘D’ if you don’t select another ratio via the paddles.
To sum it up, while the material richness of the cabin may not be on a par with that of an Audi or BMW, it pays to remember that on a like-for-like basis it’s also considerably cheaper. Being a stunning and handsome care does help too.