Kia Stinger (2018-present)

With sleek design and a high-quality interior, the Kia Stinger is aimed at BMW buyers

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Looks sporty but remains practical
Interior quality close to German standards
Seven-year warranty

Weaknesses 

Poor fuel economy compared with rivals
Kia badge will put off some buyers
Limited choice of specifications

Lidl made headlines when it began selling lobster in 2008, prompting a wave of middle-class shoppers to abandon Waitrose in favour of the German discount supermarket chain.

And now Kia has its lobster. It hopes that the sporty-looking Stinger will attract Audi, BMW and Mercedes customers to a brand which, a few years ago, was better known for its budget hatchbacks.

The long, low design with a roof that curves down at the back gives the car a sporty shape, much like the Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Volkswagen Arteon.

As with those cars, the Stinger is also practical, with five seats and five doors. There’s enough legroom and headroom in the back for tall adults and the 406-litre hatchback boot that’s larger than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf.

But the Kia also comes with a, er, sting in its tail for its traditionally budget-conscious buyers: prices which start at £31,995 and rise to £40,495, which is bold for Kia. Even so, that’s less than the car’s German rivals. New car discounts are also expected to be available as soon as it goes on sale in January.

There’s also a generous amount of standard equipment that comes with the premium price. A head-up display, 8in touchscreen with reversing camera, plus sat-nav with European mapping and a nine-speaker sound system are included with every model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard too, making it simple and easy to control your smartphone through the dashboard.

The interior is built to a high standard, with leather upholstery standard on all models and tactile, good-quality plastics used throughout. It might not quite reach the standards attained by Audi and BMW but the attention to detail, including gauges with metal surrounds, flat-bottomed steering wheel and red instrument needles create a premium feel.

Poaching the former chief engineer of BMW’s performance car division has helped to give the Stinger the performance that’s promised by its looks. In corners, it’s stable and agile, while the weight of the steering wheel gives you a sense of how much grip the wheels have and exactly where they are pointing. This sense of involvement makes the Stinger fun to drive and helps you to steer more accurately too.

The Stinger is only offered with an automatic gearbox, but you can change gears manually using paddles behind the steering wheel. You can also adjust the car’s character by selecting one of five driving modes. On high-specification GT-S cars, this changes the suspension settings: the Sport setting makes the car feel nimbler but more unsettled over bumps, while Comfort provides a reasonably smooth ride with a less responsive steering feel. There’s a Smart mode that is supposed to learn your driving style and adapt accordingly.

The Stinger makes a reasonable trade-off between offering sporty performance a comfortable ride, but it doesn’t soak up ruts and bumps as well as a less performance-focused Mercedes E-Class or Audi A6.

It also falls a little short in running costs. Although there is a diesel option, this is less efficient other cars in its class. Both petrol engines (particularly the range-topping V6) offer rapid performance, but also dismal fuel economy. High CO2 emissions figures will also make company car tax expensive.

But if you can overlook the fuel costs then the Stinger is a good choice for anyone looking for a family car with more style and luxury than normal.

Two Isofix points in the rear seats make it easy to slot in child seats securely and there’s a high level of safety equipment (including automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance that will steer you back into your lane if your car is about to drift over the lines.

At a lower price than the usual German options, then the Stinger shouldn’t disappoint.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 09:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
7 years / 100,000 miles
Boot size: 
406 litres
Width: 
1870mm
Length: 
4830mm
Height: 
1400mm
Tax: 
£200 to £1200 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best KIA Stinger for... 

Kia Stinger GT-Line 2.2 CRDi
The diesel Stinger variant is the clear economy champion, with a 50.4mpg official fuel economy figure. Entry-level GT-Line cars are stacked with standard equipment.
Kia Stinger GT-Line S 2.0 T-GDi
GT-Line S cars have a powered bootlid, blind spot warning and 360-degree camera, which makes life easier when you have children in tow. The petrol engine provides fast - but not neck-straining performance.
Kia Stinger GT-S 3.3 T-GDi V6
The 370 horsepower from the top-of-the-range V6 engine will power the Stinger from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds. GT-S trim includes 19in alloy wheels and adjustable suspension.

KIA Stinger History 

  • January 2018 Kia Stinger goes on sale

Understanding KIA Stinger car names 

  • Stinger
  • Trim level
    GT-Line S
  • Engine
    2.0 T-GDi
  • Trim level
    There are three available trim levels offering different levels of standard equipment. GT-Line is cheapest, followed by GT-Line S and GT-S
  • Engine
    The engine size is shown in litres (2-litres in this case). T-GDi indicates a petrol engine, while the diesel engine is badged CRDi.

KIA Stinger Engines 

Petrol: 2.0 T-GDi 3.3 T-GDi V6 Diesel: 2.2 CRDi

It should be fairly easy to find the engine option that best suits you because there are only three to choose from.

If you’ve even got half an eye on fuel costs then the 2.2 CRDi diesel engine is the obvious choice, particularly if you’re drawn to the Kia for its design and standard equipment level.

That’s because the diesel is slower than the petrol option and isn’t available with GT-S specification, which includes adjustable suspension that can make the car feel sportier.

Acceleration of 7.3 seconds is still reasonable though, and it’s fairly smooth and quiet unless you’re accelerating hard, An official fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg is by far the best in the range but is at least 10mpg worse than the Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI 190 and the BMW 420d Gran Coupe. CO2 emissions of 147g/km are also almost 30g/km higher than those two cars, resulting in a bigger company car tax bill.

The petrol cars trade fuel economy for performance. The 255 horsepower (hp) 2-litre car accelerates from 0-62mph in a swift 5.8 seconds, but oficial fuel economy of 35.8mpg is likely to be lower in real-world driving.

With 370hp, the top-of-the-range 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine is extremely quick, and will go from 0-62mph in just 4.7sec. It also makes an ear-catching sound, although some of that is artificially created and pumped into the cabin.

It’s not a great disappointment because the raucous sound makes you smile when you press the throttle, whatever its source. It feels rapid, too, with a quick picking up of the pace both from a standing start and when accelerating at speed. It’s an impressive and desirable car, no mistake, but the Audi S5 Sportback and BMW 440i Gran Coupe are again more economical.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDi

Petrol

35.8mpg

255hp

5.8sec

149mph

Kia Stinger 2.2 CRDi

Diesel

50.4mpg

200hp

7.3sec

143mph

Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDi

Petrol

28.5mpg

370hp

4.7sec

168mph

KIA Stinger Trims 

GT-Line, GT-Line S, GT-S

There are just three trim levels for the Stinger, all of which offer a high level of specification.

The entry-level GT-Line cars (available on 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel cars) include 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, as well as an 8-inch colour touchscreen with sat-nav, digital radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software, which brings your phone’s icons onto the car screen to make it simple to use messaging, music, phone and mapping apps.

A head-up display is included with all cars, as are front and rear parking sensors, climate control, keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control that can maintain a safe distance between the car in front, as well as selectable drive modes to change to feel of the car.

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist that will steer to keep you in your lane, as well as speed limit detection, which displays a (usually accurate) reminder of the limit on the dashboard.

GT-Line S cars add brighter LED headlights, two heated seats in the back, a motorised bootlid, 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, 360-degree camera and electric sunroof.

The range-topping GT-S trim level, which is only available with the 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine, also adds 19in alloy wheels, an uprated brake system, higher-quality nappa leather seats and electronically adjustable suspension for greater adjustment of the car’s comfort levels.

KIA Stinger Reliability and warranty 

As a new model, it's too early to tell whether the Kia Stinger has any particular weak points, but Kia's reputation for reliability, backed up by the firm's long seven-year warranty (valid for the first 100,000 miles), suggests that owners don't have too much to worry about.

Other Kia models score well in the most recent 2017 Driver Power survey, with the Cee’d hatchback in fifth place and the Sportage crossover in 12th. The Kia brand is also third in the list of most reliable manufacturers.

Used KIA Stinger 

The high purchase price of the Kia Stinger, combined with the brand's image (which is generally not as prestigious as BMW, Mercedes, Audi or Jaguar) makes the car a prime candidate to lose a large amount of its value fast.

This means that there are likely to be some big discounts available on pre-registered or nearly new Kia Stingers in the coming months. As the seven-year warranty transfers to any new owner, these could provide many years of motoring for a very reasonable price.