Kia Stinger Review

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

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Looks sporty but remains practical
  • Interior quality close to German standards
  • Seven-year warranty
  • Poor fuel economy compared with rivals
  • Kia badge will put off some buyers
  • Limited choice of specifications
Kia Stinger prices from £20,999.
Finance from £343.14 / month.

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.

Now Kia has its lobster and 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 coupe roofline 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 brings elements of practicality usually found in more standard saloons, with five seats and five doors. There’s enough legroom and headroom in the back for tall adults and although the 406-litre hatchback boot is larger than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf, the Stinger languishes behind it's contemporaries in the luggage stakes.

But the Kia also comes with a, er, sting in its tail for its traditionally budget-conscious buyers: prices start at £31,995 and rise to £40,495, which is a bold and unprecedented move for the South Korean company. Even so, it's still a long way cheaper than it's more established German rivals. New car discounts are also expected to be available as soon as it goes on sale in January.

There’s also plenty of standard equipment to the edge off the hefty price. A head-up display, 8-inch 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 also demonstrates a step up in build quality for Kia, with leather upholstery again standard on all models with good-quality matrials 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 deliver a more exclusive 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 is spot on, giving you a sense of exactly how much grip the wheels have, and a feel of where those wheels are actually pointing. This level of involvement makes the Stinger not only more fun to drive, but also also easier to drive at speed.

The Stinger is only offered with an automatic gearbox, but you can change gears manually using the 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 models, you can also change the suspension settings: the Sport setting makes the car feel more nimble but this can unsettle things over more aggresive bumps, while Comfort provides a reasonably smooth ride with a more relaxed steering feel. There’s also a clever sounding Smart mode that is apparently able to learn your driving style and adapt accordingly.

Overall, 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.

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...

Best for Economy – 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.

Best for Families – 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.

Best for 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.


  • January 2018 Kia Stinger goes on sale

Understanding Kia Stinger names

Trim level GT-Line S

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 2.0 T-GDi

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 economy


Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDi






Kia Stinger 2.2 CRDi






Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDi






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.