IN a case of a sheep in wolf’s clothes, the improved KIA Stinger looks the part of a flashy sports car, but drives like a less conservative executive sedan.
But where it lacks in oomph it makes up in safety features and comfort.
KIA has just redefined its logo. The name is no longer trapped in an oval, and has now been given stylistic freedom and a new slogan: “Movement that Inspires”.
The Stinger looks more inspiring at standstill, but it does have redeeming qualities.
Its sleek GT shape is sharp and contemporary, and in this era of SUVs, a welcome to behold. it’s nice to be able to see the sunroof when you’re standing beside the car.
The air vents on the bonnet, the textured grille with the complementary design on the lights and the large air dams provide a strong sense of purpose to the Stinger.
The Stinger is fetching from first sight. And it may be a modest update for the model, but it’s still refreshing to behold and gives the German marques a run for the money.
Actually, it’s cheaper than the German equivalents, at *S$242,999. But the trade-offs are noticeable, too.
There’s a refinement about the German cars that isn’t matched in the Stinger. The Stinger has all the required bells and whistles, and maybe a few extra, but in that final polished finish, it just still lags with a slightly dated look; or you might call it classic, with the round air-con vents and mix of leather and plastic.
Safety equipment is up to speed, with programs to keep you in lane, warn you of a possible collision, air-bags, head up display, paddle shifters, and so on.
And there’s a blind spot view monitor, a video display on your instrument cluster which, when you indicate, gives you a live road-level image on the side you are turning in to. While well intentioned, this feature is distracting if you’re looking at it while on the road. Might be good for parking.
The Stinger is loaded with a slew of current communication equipment, with CarPlay, Android Auto and wireless charging ensuring you remain connected. But the test drive car had a slightly dodgy connection, with the display showing that CarPlay had lost the connection. Though it hadn’t since the music still played through the 15-speaker Harman Kardon system. And you keep your cool on the ventilated seats.
What the Stinger has, and which should be reason to enjoy, is a big engine — when you consider all the smaller turbocharged powertrains generally on offer these days. The Stinger bucks the trend and holds on to a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 as an option that should offer a good kick when pushed.
It does, and doesn’t.
The initial push is impressive as the Stinger launches to 100kmh in under five seconds. While it’s very assured in a straight line, it’s less so on twisting terrain and slick surfaces. There’s a tendency to slip when pushed around corners. Some may consider that entertaining, and for those unable to handle too much power, it could prove unnerving.
The automatic shifting is good and punchy, but the paddle shifters seem to have a slight lag, which adds to the nervousness when doing anything more spirited.
The head-up display is kept to the bare minimum, which is good, and the drive select is a small knob on the centre console, rather than a touchscreen feature, which is a definite plus.
But, for its big engine, this is a relatively quiet cabin.
It’s only when you are in Sport mode — when the ventilated driver’s seat literally hugs you — and pushing closer to 3,000rpm that you hear the twin-turbo engine making its presence felt.
This allows the Stinger to be sporty or executive, depending on your preference.
KIA STINGER 3.3 T-GDi V6 RATING
*Please reconfirm price with dealer www.kia.com/sg
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