What Car? says...
If you want to get a car fan salivating, offering them rear-wheel drive, a twin-turbo V6 and a 0-62mph time of less than 5.0sec is a pretty good start. The Kia Stinger – despite not having four rings, a blue-and-white roundel or a three-pointed star on its nose – does just that.
In fact, after a light refresh, that's the only spec the Stinger does offer, coming with a 3.3-litre 361bhp slap around the chops under the bonnet (there's no dreary diesel or tax-busting hybrid option here). That simplicity continues with a single choice of gearbox and one well-stocked trim level. In fact, your only choice is what colour to have it painted.
With so much choice out there, is this the sensible performance coupé to go for? Read on through this Kia Stinger review to find out exactly how much fun it is to drive, what it’s like to live with, exactly how practical it is and how much it'll cost to run.
If you do decide to buy a Stinger, or indeed a new vehicle of any make and model, don’t forget to check out the free What Car? New Car Buying pages, where we can help you make big savings on all manner of new cars and SUVs. There are some great new Kia deals there.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Kia Stinger is available only with a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine with a mighty 361bhp. We managed 0-60mph in a rapid 4.8sec during testing at our private test track, and you certainly won’t feel short-changed by the way it gathers pace on the road.
For a start, the steering is precise and accurate, feeling nicely weighted and pretty informative at sensible road speeds – more so than in the S5 Sportback, BMW M235i Gran Coupe and Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.
Adaptive dampers that allow you to stiffen things up for sharper harding are fitted as standard. Even in the softest Comfort mode there’s little body roll, so you never feel the car heaving from side to side too much through corners.
The car feels nicely balanced, too, but because it's rear-wheel drive, you can always provoke the back end into sliding playfully with a deliberate jab of the accelerator. It’s much more fun than a four-wheel drive S5, M235i or CLA 35, although those rivals feel more stable, especially in wet conditions.
Ride quality is more of a mixed bag. At speed, the suspension works well, but the Stinger has a firm edge, especially over heavily scarred urban roads. A CLA 35 is a little softer but isn’t as tightly controlled over undulations and it thuds more through potholes, while an M235i has a stiffer ride.
The Kia Stinger makes for a decent long-distance cruiser. At speed, only particularly coarse surfaces whip up much road noise, while wind noise is kept to a minimum. You’ll find the V6 is a smooth operator that is unobtrusive most of the time, although we’d prefer a slightly sportier tone when you’re really going for it.
- The Kia Stinger didn’t feature in our 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey but Kia achieved a highly creditable ninth place out of 30 car makers in the brands section of the survey. That’s ahead of BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar. Read more here
- No. There isn’t an electrified engine option with the Kia Stinger, just a turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 petrol. That makes it a fairly costly company car choice because the official emissions figure of 229g/km and fuel economy of just 28mpg put it in the highest tax bracket. Read more here
- Euro NCAP gave the Kia Stinger a five-star rating when it was tested in 2017 so it should be a safe car. It comes with plenty of safety tech, including blind-spot monitoring, seven airbags (including one for your knees) and an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system that can recognise pedestrians and cyclists. If safety is a priority, the Mercedes CLA 35 did even better in the Euro NCAP tests. Read more here
- The Kia Stinger is a quick car. With 361bhp, two turbochargers and 3.3-litres, its V6 engine is potent enough to get it from 0-60mph in a mere 4.8sec (according to our timing gear). If you’re determined enough and are on a private track or derestricted road, the Stinger will go on to a top speed of 167mph. Read more here
- Everything in the Kia Stinger is controlled through a 10.3in infotainment touchscreen, which is more distracting than the control dials you get with BMW’s iDrive system. The screen is sharp and responsive, with a relatively simple menu layout, though. You don’t get virtual dials, but there is a head-up display to project your speed, sat-nav directions and other information on to the windscreen. Read more here
- Despite its impressive performance, the Kia Stinger is a versatile hatchback with a capacious 406-litre boot. We managed to fit in six carry-on suitcases (the Audi S5 Sportback swallowed seven when we tested it). The rear seats split 40/60 so you can fold one or both sections down to create a bigger load bay and carry long items as well as a passenger or two. Read more here
|RRP price range||£44,160 - £44,160|
|Number of trims (see all)||1|
|Number of engines (see all)||1|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||28 - 28|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||7 years / 100000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£3,115 / £3,115|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£6,229 / £6,229|