THERE aren’t many mainstream cars that have an undisputed wow factor but the Kia Stinger is definitely one of them.
Its striking good looks are hard to ignore and, in many ways, the Stinger is a good summation of just how far the Korean car maker has come in the last 15 years. It’s almost as if Kia has created it as a way of saying “just look at what we can do now”.
Whereas the marque was once trying to catch-up with European mass-market rivals, the Stinger is a car that definitely has premium German rivals in its sights.
This four-door fastback, as Kia call it, has an element of exclusivity about it, as you don’t see that many of them around. Its inbuilt elegance and style certainly count for a lot and, as someone who likes to be different, I could certainly be persuaded to take the plunge.
While Kia design chief Peter Schreyer might be considered to be the architect behind this sublime creation, it is actually the work of French designer Gregory Guillaume, albeit under Schreyer’s supervision.
Kia also bought in some serious engineering expertise for the Stinger with the hire of Albert Biermann, who previously worked for BMW’s M division. On the inside, the Stinger offers a plush and welcoming environment with levels of excellence close to its intended competitors.
It’s a big car overall and that helps to create a cabin that is very open and roomy, with rear-seat passengers particularly well catered for, both in terms of head and legroom. It also has a generously sized boot offering 406 litres of space.
The standard of fit and finish is good and the instrumentation and switchgear are high quality.
Equipment levels are generous on all models and standard features include an eight-inch colour touchscreen, sat nav, head-up display, dual-zone air conditioning, intelligent cruise control, Bluetooth, a wireless charger, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There are three engine options – a 2.0-litre 242bhp T-GDi petrol version, a 2.2-litre 197bhp CRDi diesel or a 3.3-litre 361bhp twin-turbo V6 T-GDi petrol unit.
This car had the smaller petrol unit and, although it doesn’t offer the same thrills as the V6, it makes a lot more sense in terms of running costs and it is potent enough, and smooth and refined, too.
The Stinger is Kia’s first rear-wheel-drive vehicle and its handling is enhanced as a result. There is an element of it feeling like a big car but it takes corners at speed well enough and has the feel of a more leisurely low-slung GT.
I would imagine I could quite happily sit behind the wheel for a long journey and get out at the other end feeling refreshed.
All Stingers have an eight-speed automatic gearbox and it is available in three main trim levels – GT Line, GT Line S and GT S. Prices range from £32,475 to £40,575 and another big buying incentive is Kia’s seven-year warranty.
Overall, the Stinger is a car that is very easy to like and it has the kind of character and style that could even see it shape up to be a modern classic.