What's the used Kia Stinger saloon like?
Some people thrive on the unexpected; that frisson of excitement that comes with discovering that all is not as you thought it should be. Such people will like the Kia Stinger, a sharply styled, large and handsomely equipped rear-wheel-drive sporting grand tourer made by a South Korean firm hitherto known for their solid but uninspiring hatchbacks and SUVs.
The Stinger sits above the Optima saloon in Kia's range, so its targets are the slightly more opulent five-door coupés that sit in the next price bracket up, such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé. That's brave: any car taking on the full might of the German motor industry in this class is going to have to cut the mustard both in the showroom and on the road.
The Stinger starts by offering three engines: a 242bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, a 197bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel and a 361bhp 3.3-litre V6 petrol in the super-sporty GT S model.
Out on the open road, it’s fair to say that some versions of the Stinger impress, even in such exalted company. The 2.0-litre petrol feels sluggish at low revs but is brisk enough when you rev it hard, although it sounds rather bland. Still, that’s better than the 2.2 diesel, which sends vibrations through the controls at around 1500rpm and becomes crass and boomy as you progress further up its rev range. Indeed, while the diesel offers a pleasant surge of acceleration at around 3500rpm, you won’t want to get there, because of the noise. That's unacceptable in a premium car. Things do settle down on the motorway, but not by much.
The best version is the exciting 3.3-litre GT S. It’s effortlessly quick, with the 0-62mph sprint being completed in just 4.7sec, and it can waft its way up to a supercar-rivalling top speed of 168mph. It’s smooth and responsive, and it sounds great, too. This is an extremely potent and relaxing long-distance cruiser, with all that power going through the same slick eight-speed automatic gearbox used by other variants of the Stinger.
Approach a corner and the Stinger won’t let you down. Its steering is precise and accurate, while body roll is well suppressed. There’s plenty of grip, especially in the GT S, and the car's rear-wheel drive handling is nicely balanced and extremely entertaining. The ride quality is good, too; only over jagged surfaces does the Stinger get a tad jiggly.
Inside, the driving position is spot-on. There’s plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel and you sit low, so it immediately feels sporty. The Stinger may be a long car, but visibility isn’t a problem, and it has front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard.
The dashboard is functional and logically laid out. The switches and buttons all feel good and quality is impressive, with soft-touch plastics and some faux-leather surroundings adding to the pleasing overall effect.
Up front, there’s plenty of space for a taller driver and front passenger, while those in the rear get good leg room but, if they’re tall, slightly limited head room. Blame the swoopy styling. In fairness, it’s no worse than it is in many other five-door coupés. The Stinger's boot, meanwhile, is a very good size, accessed through a good-sized hatchback opening, and the rear seats fold flat to leave a large extended load area.
The basic trim level is called GT-Line, and it comes with a vast number of toys; everything from heated electric front seats (with a memory function for the driver's seat) and full leather seat trim to a head-up display, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry. GT-Line S adds a 360deg camera, LED headlights, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a powered tailgate, a sunroof, wireless smartphone charging and a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system. The top model, the GT S, comes with even more goodies, including uprated Brembo brakes, adaptive dampers and nappa leather seat trim.
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