GENEROSITY, it has to be said, isn’t one of my virtues. Give me a ‘share bag’ of chips and my aim is to demolish the lot before anyone sniffs that heady tang of barbecue, wheat gluten and maltodextrin. This month, however, I have been sharing the Stinger love, spreading the good word of the gospel according to Peter Schreyer.
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Of course, the more cynical amongst you will probably think it’s because I’ve had a better offer, something a bit sleeker and shapelier than the Kia’s coke-bottle curves, but I drove an Infiniti QX80, which blows a blimp-hangar-sized hole in that theory.
Keen to hear the opinion of others on the GT, I was slightly crestfallen when the guys at Street Machine thought that the exhaust, which has caused me no end of consternation, sounded great.
On that note, I had the opportunity to listen to a Stinger V6 with an aftermarket Tubi system fitted to it. Although exorbitant at $9K, it did sound way more characterful at idle and its four-mode control unit could also be set to produce AMG-like pops and crackles on overrun.
David Bonnici got hold of the Stinger keys during this month’s five-car SUV test and loved the GT’s poke but also enjoyed the fact that, like the best Aussie-built Falcons and Commodores, it could cool its heels when necessary.
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I did feel some slight guilt at handing him the keys on a Monday morning after I’d driven the car on a massive high country dirt-road jaunt the day before; the Kia’s bodywork looking filthier than Charlie Sheen’s browser history. It was a great drive, though, the GT’s notoriously relaxed stability control system allowing a few lazy low-speed slides on the loose surface before common sense (and the realisation that this was somebody else’s 60 grand vehicle) intervened.
There are still some small details that irk me, though. I dislike the fact that the drive mode selector defaults back to Comfort – a setting I never use – if you switch the car off in Sport mode. The adaptive cruise control also has odd moments where it gets on the picks alarmingly late when you’re approaching stationary traffic, even when the radar’s switched to its longest range setting. There’s a host of minor imperfections that could all be cleaned up come facelift time if Kia had the foresight to consult owners.
That channel of communication would benefit the development of the Stinger. It’s hugely endearing but still feels like a work in progress, something that needs a little more polish to really shine. Even with its flaws, it earns an easy recommendation, though. You don’t need to be too generous to afford it that.