Kia Stinger hatchback
"The Kia Stinger is the brand's impressive first attempt at a four-door sports car and is a worthy alternative to more established rivals"
- Plenty of standard equipment
- Good performance
- Value for money
- Dull interior
- More prestigious rivals
- Underwhelming fuel economy
The Kia Stinger is the brand’s first attempt at a large, sporty, four-door family coupe and a move to shift public perception away from the notion Kia only makes sensible, practical cars that you buy with your head rather than your heart.
Kia has taken aim at some established competition, including the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and the inclusion of the 365bhp GT-S model at the top of the Stinger range is further evidence of its ambitions.
The GT-S is a worthy rival to the sportiest model in the standard A5 range, the S5 Sportback, even trumping the Audi’s power figure and serving up impressive handling. In fact, we reckon the Kia is even more entertaining to drive than the four-wheel drive RS5 Sportback quattro, which is far more expensive.
Buyers who don’t want the full GT-S experience can choose from smaller petrol and diesel engines, but both of these are powerful, too, making 242 and 197bhp respectively. The downside to these potent engines is that the Stinger isn’t particularly economical, with the range-topping GT-S model claiming fuel economy of just 27.7mpg. Even the diesel model lags behind the most efficient engines in the Stinger’s rivals: the 187bhp 2.0-litre A5 Sportback can return up to 48.7mpg compared to the diesel Stinger’s 40.9mpg.
Kia isn’t yet on par with the ‘premium’ brands in terms of desirability, but the Stinger undercuts all of them on price in an effort to compensate. It also comes loaded with standard equipment, so even the entry-level trim should have all the features you’ll ever need, perhaps with the exception of LED headlights.
Not only is the Stinger imbued with some of Kia’s value-for-money credentials, it's also practical and, of course, the brand’s excellent seven-year/100,000-mile warranty is very reassuring. Kia hasn't skimped on safety, either, as proven by a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating.
The Kia Stinger is a fast family car that gives buyers an alternative to the usual suspects in this part of the market, as well as something a little different to what we’ve come to expect from Kia. It’s an entertaining car to drive and a worthy rival to its German rivals. For those who miss cars like the Subaru Impreza WRX STI and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, it also represents a mature, interesting replacement.