2017 Kia Stinger GT quick review

By Barry Park, 25 Sep 2017 Car Reviews

Buying new? We'll match you to the lowest dealer quote, get the best price for your trade-in and the lowest rate finance. Save thousands. Get started here.
Buying new? Get the lowest dealer quote, best price for your trade-in and lowest rate finance. Save thousands. Start here.
2017 Kia Stinger GT quick review

Kia’s rear-drive liftback is here to redefine what we think of the Korean car maker

The Kia Stinger has finally arrived in Australia, a little bit later than we thought it would and priced slightly higher, but with much of the promised performance.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

The Kia Stinger GT is the top dog in the Stinger’s six-car line-up. It’s priced accordingly, too, from $59,990. But for that you get a large rear-wheel-drive car with a twin-turbocharged – that’s right, there’s two of them – 3.3-litre V6 engine that provides performance car levels of excitement and engagement. Nothing like this has ever worn the Kia badge before.

STRENGTHS

  • It’s a rear-drive car arriving in a world where front-wheel-drive cars are dominating. Packaging and cost requirements are forcing car makers to serve up even more front-drivers, so it’s refreshing to see one of them buck the trend for a more traditional drivetrain.
  • The 3.3-litre V6 has 272kW and 510Nm on tap to play with. The turbocharged delivery provides a wide spread of performance that allows you to have a spirited drive, but cruise home gently at the end of the day.
  • It’s a roomy car. The only restriction is a low roofline because of the sunroof that robs some headroom for taller drivers.
  • It hangs on around corners. Drive the Kia Stinger like a sports car and the Continental ContiSportContact hangs on, the locally tuned suspension ensuring the tyres’ contact patches are always attached to the road. The rear tyres are lower-aspect than the front ones, giving better handling.

  • It has on-the-fly adjustable suspension. At the twist of a dial the suspension goes from a comfort setting that’s softer than the default steel springs on lesser GTs to a firmed-up setting that easily tames twisty bits of road.
  • It’s very well equipped. As the showpiece of Kia’s showroom, the Stinger GT has become something of a technical showcase for the brand. Things like active cruise control and autonomous city braking give it something of a luxury car feel.
  • It’s a sharp-looking car that’s going to turn heads. From the distinct stepped lower rocker to the (pretend) vented bonnet to the fastback styling and a rear framed in Audi-style connected tail light, a subtle rear-lip spoiler and quad exhaust pipes straddling a deep diffuser, the Stinger looks the business.
  • The liftback styling provides a versatile luggage space that, while it isn’t tall, is quite long.

WEAKNESSES

  • The 3.3-litre V6 produces some big numbers, but it doesn’t sound like a big engine. Instead, it’s fairly muted and uninspired, with some induction noise high in the rev range. There’s just no drama to it. Kia soon will have an optional active exhaust system for the Stinger that adds a bit more audible excitement to the Stinger. We don’t have a price for that yet.
  • There’s a 2.0-litre version of the Stinger GT that feels lighter across the nose than the V6 version. It’s about 100 kilograms lighter and $4000 cheaper, but doesn’t get the limited slip differential that better helps the V6-engined version power out of corners.

  • The Kia Stinger GT only has a space-saver spare. If you’re going for a long drive, the space-saver will really only allow you to limp to the nearest tyre shop.
  • It’s billed as an Aussie car replacement, but there’s really only room in the rear to seat two adults comfortably, largely due to a very intrusive transmission tunnel and the narrow bench.
  • Kia Stinger supply will be limited to about 200 cars a month when they go on sale in October. This means it could be a months-long wait to take delivery of yours. This will limit supply for about the first year of sales, Kia warns.

ARE THERE ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

Think about the Holden Commodore SS-V Redline, the last of Holden’s big, Aussie V8s, or the Skoda Superb 162TSI Sportline that uses the Volkswagen Golf GTI engine.