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In-depth reviews

Kia Stinger hatchback (2018-2022) review

"The Kia Stinger is a sporty four-door family car that looks like great value next to German rivals"

Carbuyer Rating

3.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Plenty of standard equipment
  • Good performance
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Dull interior
  • More prestigious rivals
  • Underwhelming fuel economy

The Kia Stinger is a flagship model for the Korean brand. It’s a four-door saloon (or a coupe depending on who you ask) that takes aim at rivals made by upmarket manufacturers like BMW and Audi. We reckon it’s just as good as some of its rivals in key areas and even better in others - such as value for money.

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The Stinger takes on the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Since the lower-power petrol and diesel versions were removed from the range, it’s mainly aimed at the high-performance versions of those cars. The Stinger is now only available in GT-S form, which means it has 361bhp from its 3.3-litre V6 engine.

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A recent facelift brought tweaked front and rear lights, a new infotainment touchscreen and updated interior trim. It was a fairly minor update as there wasn’t too much that needed changing; it remains good value and an interesting alternative to established rivals.

In fact we’d argue that the Stinger is even better than the equivalent S5 Sportback, as it’s cheaper to buy, more fun to drive and even has a more powerful engine. Kia put a lot of effort into making sure its first upmarket saloon car was able to take on the Germans and it succeeded.

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The four-cylinder petrol and diesel models that were available previously produced 242 and 197bhp respectively, and the diesel was the only version that returned decent fuel economy. The current GT-S is thirsty; you can expect an mpg figure in the mid-20s at best, though we’ve seen up to 29mpg at a steady motorway cruise.

Kia may not have the brand image of an Audi but it makes up for that with its prices, which are much more affordable; it’s hard to call the Stinger a ‘performance-car bargain’ but it’s not far off, undercutting virtually all its rivals. 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.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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