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In-depth reviews

Kia Stinger hatchback (2018-2022) review - Engines, drive & performance

The Kia Stinger is quick and its handling is surprisingly accomplished

Carbuyer Rating

3.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

By delivering a car that’s exciting rather than purely sensible, Kia is hoping to shift the public's perception of the brand. Thankfully, the Stinger delivers on its striking looks, especially in GT-S form.

The Stinger's chassis is fairly traditional, with an engine up front and rear-wheel drive - a recipe BMW and Mercedes fans will be familiar with. A limited-slip differential helps generate grip as you power out of corners, helping the Stinger to feel surprisingly agile for such a big car. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard, with paddles behind the steering wheel to allow for manual changes.

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The GT-S model is also fitted with adaptive dampers as standard, allowing the driver to adjust how the Stinger feels on the move. In Comfort mode, the ride feels forgiving and although the car feels noticeably firmer in Sport and Sport+, it doesn’t get so brittle that the car is uncomfortable.

Kia Stinger petrol engines

The Stinger GT-S uses a twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine that produces 361bhp and gets the car from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds - so it’s not far off the cars on our list of the fastest saloons. The engine feels smooth and flexible, reacting quickly when you dab the accelerator. The Stinger comes with different driving modes and in Sport and Sport+, the engine sound is enhanced to add a bit more aural excitement. The system works relatively well and isn’t intrusive, but it’s a shame the Stinger’s V6 needs help in this area.

The GT-S is fitted with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, but you can take control of changes yourself if you want to drive enthusiastically. Shifts aren’t quite as smooth as they are in an Audi or BMW when you’re accelerating or braking hard, but there's not much in it.

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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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