I think you can tell a lot about a car by the reaction of passerís by, and judging by the reception the Stinger gets in a supermarket car park, or when travelling along our local high street, I think itís safe to say that it gets noticed, with a distinct thumbís up. Most will wonder what it is, as our fastback Stinger is unlike any other Kia before it. Sure it shares its ëtiger-noseí front grille with other members of the range, but thatís where the similarities stop. The design is hugely more muscular, thanks to bonnet vents, spoilers and distinctive detailing. When I took the Stinger for a spruce up at a hand car wash, the guy that was cleaning it was more than complimentary. Of the two cars we were getting cleaned that day, it was the bright white Kia that was getting the lionís share of attention.
And it isnít just the looks that are appealing, climb behind the wheel of the Stinger, hunker down into the huggy red seats and its cockpit-like driving position is seriously alluring. Press the start button, the engine bursts into life, and youíre ready for the off. Thereís a 197bhp 2.2-litre CRDi engine under the bonnet, shared with the Sorento SUV, and in this application it feels livelier and more willing. Squeeze the throttle and youíre transported to 62mph in just 7.3 seconds, a figure that a hot hatch would have been extremely proud of just a few years ago. But this is a 4.8-metre executive fastback, not a stripped-out racer, and yet its performance feels every bit as enthralling. On a fast backroad it feels extremely planted, with neat, tidy handling and very little in the way of body roll. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels, and in slippery conditions youíd expect the Stinger to become wayward, but there hasnít been a single occasion where Iíve felt the back end slip out, even when Iím being playful. Instead thereís a reassuringly solid feel to the way that it behaves, and most of the time I totally forget that itís rear-wheel-drive. The suspension set up is sportily firm, and yet it soaks up the worst bumps with ease, only transmitting the deeper ruts and potholes into the cabin.
I love a good audio system in a car, and the GT-Line S version of the Stinger means a 15-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system is fitted. Quite simply it sounds fantastic and streaming music via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or Bluetooth connectivity is really easy after a few moments pairing your phone. There are 15 speakers dotted around the cabin ñ a total of 720-watts of power ñ and even subwoofers located under the two front seats. And just so that your smartphone doesnít run out of charge, thereís a wireless charging mat just in front of the gear lever ñ just where you want it.
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Date arrived 24th May 2018
Fuel economy 48.7mpg (combined) 48.8mpg (on test)
The 360-degree camera is an awesome aid when manoeuvring.
The boot is quite shallow.