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Kia Stinger GT fastback a game-changing, brand-building stunner!

Kia’'s Stinger fastback is a game-changing, dark horse that will bring the Korean brand to more people'’s attention. Picture: Kia

Kia’'s Stinger fastback is a game-changing, dark horse that will bring the Korean brand to more people'’s attention. Picture: Kia

Kia

Kia has pulled off a game-changing image-builder with the launch of its stunning Stinger sports fastback, a true grand tourer loaded with driving appeal, kit and charisma. Motoring editor Andy Russell says it’s a winning combination.

This practical grand tourer looks good from any angle. Picture: KiaThis practical grand tourer looks good from any angle. Picture: Kia

What a car! Judging by people’s reaction to its new fastback flagship, Kia’s on a winner with the Stinger. And the biggest was one of disbelief that it was a Kia.

Welcome to a game-changing, dark horse that will bring the Korean brand to more people’s attention for all the right reasons.

Looks and image

Sleek and well-proportioned, this fabulous fastback looks potent, powerful and purposeful from any angle with strong, sculpted lines, swooping curves, large side and body vents and quad exhausts - put a premium brand badge on it and most people would be none the wiser… and pay considerably more to own one.

A Stinger in the tail. Picture: KiaA Stinger in the tail. Picture: Kia

It’s a dark horse that could become a future classic.

Under the bonnet

The 365bhp, 3.3-litre, twin turbo V6 launch model is now joined by more sensible 244bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol and a 197bhp 2.2-litre turbo diesel engines all mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Less is more, both in terms of price and engine size. The 2.0-litre petrol has bags of top-end power and low-down grunt, with peak torque from just 1,400 to 3,500rpm, so answers the throttle crisply and urgently. You don’t need to work it hard for good progress, hence a genuine 35mpg overall, nudging 40mpg on a run.

The 18in wheels fill the arches but the ride is still good. Picture: KiaThe 18in wheels fill the arches but the ride is still good. Picture: Kia

Five driving modes – smart, eco, comfort, sport and sport+ – alter the driving character with smart switching between eco, comfort and sport to match driving style.

How it drives

For such a sporty car, the ride is extremely finely judged, tuned for UK roads. The suspension is firm enough for well-honed handling and a flat stance through corners but not unyielding, while good damping cushions passengers from seriously-scarred roads and bumps and lumps. Even with 18in wheels – the V6’s are 19in – you can’t miss the tyre noise but a decent audio system drowns it out.

It’s a responsive steer too with good feel and feedback to position the Stinger precisely, yet light enough to take the strain out of parking.

Double twin exhausts emphasise the performance. Picture: KiaDouble twin exhausts emphasise the performance. Picture: Kia

Combine the Stinger’s long-legged performance and cruising comfort and you’ve got a true gran turismo – a genuine tourer.

Space and comfort

The GT credentials are backed up inside. It seats only four but large adults will enjoy the amount of head and legroom in the shapely, sculpted rear seats that hold passengers snugly.

Opening the tailgate is an eye-opener revealing a vast boot. It’s more about length and width than depth but, at 406 litres, takes a good load of luggage. Drop the 60/40 split rear seat backs flat and you’ve got 1,114 litres.

Low-slung driving position is like settling into a cockpit. Picture: KiaLow-slung driving position is like settling into a cockpit. Picture: Kia

The cabin feels understated, compared to the exterior, with lots of dark trim but no complaints about quality with soft-touch contact points including a leather finish dashboard.

At the wheel

Climb into the low-slung driver’s seat and it electrically glides towards the steering wheel and the ‘cockpit’. Large, simple instruments and a central data display give information clearly and a head-up display means you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. The infotainment touchscreen is easy to navigate, even on the move, and quick to respond.

Electric front seats have a good range of adjustment, as does the steering wheel, so, tall or short, you soon feel at home in the driving seat which also has memory settings.

The 406-litres boot is long and wide but not particularly deep. Picture: KiaThe 406-litres boot is long and wide but not particularly deep. Picture: Kia

Equipment

Three trims are available – GT Line and GT Line S, with the four-cylinder engines, and GT S is the V6 model – but none skimp on standard kit.

Even GT Line includes leather seats, heated in front, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, electric driver’s seat, head-up display, eight-inch touchscreen satellite navigation, automatic high beam and DAB radio with Bluetooth for music streaming and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice control.

Final say

It’s hard to fault the Kia Stinger. It drives as good as it looks, and what you get for the money blows you away. Unfortunately, some will be put off by the badge… more fool them.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDi GT-Line, £32,025

Engine: 1,998cc, 244bhp, four-cylinder turbo petrol with eight-speed automatic gearbox

Performance: 0-60mph 5.8 seconds; top speed 149mph

MPG: Urban 26.6; extra urban 44.1; combined 35.8

CO2 emissions: 181g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 37pc

Insurance group: 34 (out of 50)

Warranty: Seven years or 100,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,830mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,870mm; H 1,400mm

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