Kia Stinger hatchback review
"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. It’s a rare sight on UK roads, which is a shame when it’s such a good-looking and entertaining car, but it seems the badge doesn’t appeal to many buyers in this part of the market.
Kia has taken aim at some established competition, including the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and the inclusion of the 361bhp GT-S model at the top of the Stinger range is further evidence of its ambitions. Since the car was facelifted, that GT-S version is now the only one available, so you’ve got the performance to back up the looks.
The facelift was quite minor, bringing tweaked headlights and rear lights, a glossy new infotainment touchscreen and updated interior trim.
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.
Previously, buyers who didn’t want the full GT-S experience could choose from smaller petrol and diesel engines. Both of these were powerful, too, making 242 and 197bhp respectively, but neither was particularly economical. The GT-S is the thirstiest of all, returning just 28mpg, with 20mpg more realistic in real-world driving. To compare, the BMW M340i officially returns 36mpg and the diesel-powered Audi S5 hits nearly 40mpg.
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. If you want the BMW or Audi we just mentioned, you’ll need to spend around £10,000 more than the price Kia charges for the GT-S. It also comes loaded with standard equipment, such as wireless phone charging, a powered tailgate, a 360-degree camera, a sunroof and a top-end Harman Kardon sound system.
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.