A Sting In Its Tail

Posted: July 8, 2018 in All, Kia, New Car Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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With the demise of the Australian built big bangers, the Commodore and Falcon, we in New Zealand and Australia are left with a gap in the market and a hunger for rear wheel drive sports sedans to give us the thrill of power and the feeling that only a front engine rear drive layout can give, plus being able to have the convenience of a family sedan. Without of course spending crazy amounts of hard earned cash on European equivalents.

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The Kia Stinger was introduced into the local markets at just the right time to take advantage of this situation. With an impressive 272kW and 510NM from the 3.3 litre V6 Lambda II twin turbo engine running through a very capable 8 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters the Stinger will propel its occupants from a standstill to the legal open road speed limit in less than 5 seconds. That’s quick enough to scare the knickers off a visiting Australian family friend and make my kids squeal with delight. Although, as for my kids at least, the first time they tasted the rapid acceleration of the Stinger I hadn’t warned them. Yeah, they got a bit of a fright. But once they were used to it I was fielding constant demands to “Do it again Daddy!”, of which I was happy to oblige, as conditions allowed of course. To get the most from the power and get the car off the line the quickest possible way this clever Kia is equipped with Launch Control, which can be fun to use but you are limited the amount of times you can use it to prevent damaging the transmission by overheating.

 

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All this power needs the help of some very clever electronics to keep it all reined in and prevent over exuberant pilots from pirouetting out of a corner and into neighbouring foliage. A very sophisticated suspension set up featuring Multi-link rear and MacPherson strut front with an electronically adjustable setup for the GT Line and GT Sport models. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) along with Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) help to make the Stinger as safe and stable on the road as any European counterpart and carries a 5-star ANCAP safety rating to boot. Chuck in big 350mm front and 340mm rear brake discs with beautiful Brembo red callipers (2 piston rear and 4 pot front) and throwing the Stinger around a series of tight, bumpy off camber corners gives you a complete sense of confidence and control almost unheard of in a car from South Korea. A cute little gimmicky thing that the Stinger has is a g-force meter which gives you a hint of what this car could be capable of. I do imagine though, if you were to push the car to a point of maxing out the g-force meter it would be fairly pointless having it displaying on the instrument panel, I doubt very much that the driver’s eyes should be on that display and should be focused very firmly on the road ahead. Unless of course you were take the Stinger to a track day at Hampton Downs or the like.

 

 

 

Sleek lines, aggressive headlights and grill, beautifully shaped rear end and tail lights show that the Stinger means business. Large 19 inch wheels showing off the Brembo breaks with very grippy P225/40 Continental tires on the front and wide 255/35 Continental tires on the rear (for the GT Sport) really look the part. A great colour range including Snow White Pearl, HiChroma Red (on the test model), Aurora Black, Deep Chroma Blue, Silky Silver and Panthera Metal. One small let down on the exterior for me was realising the sexy and aggressive looking bonnet vents were actually just for show, they didn’t vent anything and if the car was parked on the right angle they would actually fill with a small puddle of water when it rained that would splatter onto the windscreen as you drive off. But I guess the bonnet would look pretty boring without these ‘vents’ and it does add to the angry look of the car.

 

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The interior equipment levels don’t leave you wanting for more. Equipped with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, USB, Bluetooth, Harman/Kardon premium sound system with 8” touchscreen, 15 (yes – 15!) speakers including under seat sub woofers (for the GT Sport model). Drop your (compatible) cell phone into the compartment just below the dual climate air con controls and it will charge wirelessly, very handy. Seating is extremely comfortable with Nappa leather for the GT Sport, 8 way power adjustments, memory settings, 4 way lumbar adjustment, bolster adjustment, and cushion extension. Smart cruise control with stop and go, together with Lane Keep Assist (LKA) the Stinger is almost a self drive car, almost. Not quite there with a Tesla but the LKA will help you stay within your lane by gently keeping it between the white lines. Can be a little unnerving until you get used to it as you will feel the steering wheel tug slightly to the left or right. This doesn’t mean you can let the car steer itself, though, as it will remind you after a few seconds to put your hands back on the wheel if you happen to take them off. High beam assist, forward collision warning, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, driver attention warning, hill start assist, heads up display (including navigation) and full around the car rear view camera are some of the many features of the exceptionally well equipped Stinger.

 

Very comfortable seating for 5 with room in the rear for average height adults and a great boot space with easy access through the lift-back with power tailgate make this a family friendly sedan but with the added bonus of being capable of an exhilarating, heat-rate increasing thrill ride. Of course, all that power and fun will come at a price. The 3.3 litre has a claimed fuel economy of 10.2L/100km and the 2.0 litre 8.8L/100km. Whilst not bad figures, during real world driving it’s unlikely to be as low as that, and with the power and thrill the Stinger has to offer I doubt anyone would be hard pressed to not enjoy the acceleration buzz at least once a day, and force those economy figures much higher, especially in sport mode. But, to be honest, will you really care how much you are spending on fuel when your smile is as wide as this car will make it and your adrenalin is rushing through your body?

 

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The Stinger range:

Stinger 2.0 EX Turbo – $54,990 +ORC

Stinger 2.0 GT Line – $59,990 +ORC

Stinger 3.3 GT Sport $69,990 +ORC (As tested)

 

Styling 4/5

Performance 4.5/5

Equipment Level 5/5

Comfort 4/5

Economy 3/5

Would I buy one?

Make mine a Deep Chroma Blue 3.3 GT Sport thanks! If I didn’t need the convenience of the 8-seater Carnival, yes, this would be in my garage instead.

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