What is it like?

Used Kia Stinger 2017-present review

Used Kia Stinger 2017-present
Review continues below...

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 family cars and SUVs.

The Stinger sits above the firm’s executive saloon, the Optima, and its targets are the slightly more opulent cars that sit in the next price bracket up, the five-door coupes like the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Clearly, it’s set its sights high, and any car taking on the full might of the German motor industry in this class is going to have to cut the mustard both on the road and in the showroom.

The Stinger starts by offering three engine options: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit, a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel one and a range-topping 3.3-litre petrol V6 in the super-sporty GT S model. The basic trim is called GT-Line and it comes with a vast number of toys; everything from heated electric front seats (with memory recall for the driver) 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 and wireless phone charging. You also get a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo system. The top model, the GT S, comes with even more goodies. These include uprated Brembo brakes, nappa leather seat trim and adaptive dampers.

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 petrol feels sluggish at low revs but is brisk enough when you rev it hard, although it sounds rather bland and boring. 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, so the diesel Stinger is outclassed here by quite a few of its rivals. Things do settle down on the motorway, mind you, but not by much. But the best version is the exciting 3.3-litre GT S. It’s effortlessly quick, with the 0 to 62mph sprint being despatched in just 4.7 seconds, 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 the power going through a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox, a transmission shared with all other versions of the Stinger.

Approach a corner and the Stinger won’t let you down. For starters, the steering in all versions is precise and accurate, and body roll is well suppressed. There’s plenty of grip, especially in the GT S version, and its rear-wheel drive handling is nicely balanced and extremely entertaining. Ride quality is good, too, and only over jagged surfaces can 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 in what is a low car, so it immediately feels sporty. This is a long car, but visibility isn’t a problem, and there are front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard to aid parking. The dashboard is functional and logically laid out with good, clear dials and instruments. The switches and buttons all feel good, and the interior quality seems 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-seat passenger, while rear seat passengers will have good leg room but, if they’re tall, slightly limited head room. Blame the swoopy styling. In fairness, it’s no worse than many of its five-door coupe rivals. The boot is a very good size, however, accessed through a good-sized hatchback opening, and the rear seats fold flat to leave a large, extended load area.    

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