Kia Stinger GT-Line 2.0 T-GDI

"Kia just rocks right now"... find out why!

Kia just rocks right now. It has gone from the underdog to the absolute prince of pooches with its muscle-bound Stinger. This car is about as far away from safe SUV family life and supermini city cars as you can get. And that’s the point. The brand wants to expand and claw its way into the area of ‘desirability’.
You see, Kia has already nailed the ‘peace of mind’ market. It offers an excellent seven-year warranty that can be transferred to other owners when the car is sold. It’s also known for producing reliable vehicles. But now Kia wants to show it can punch way higher. So, the auto-maker has ushered in the sexily named ‘Stinger’ to the UK market.

There’s a fabulous 3.3 litre V6 beast already here. It’s supremely comfortable and bloomin’ powerful. But it’s thirsty. So, there’s now a more economical Stinger to be had – the 2.0 T-GDI.
This four-cylinder model churns out 255PS, but that’s still considerably more clout than £31,995 gets you in any other rear-wheel driven executive motor. Yes, folks – you read it correctly, this car is the real rear-wheel drive deal. And uh huh, this does mean Kia is going head to head with the likes of BMW. Who’d have thought it, eh?

In many ways the Stinger is better looking than the Bimmers out there, it’s rawer, it’s less clinical – it’s a lot of things German executive cars aren’t. Wow, how refreshing.
You see, as well as gorgeous, curvy flowing looks, the Stinger has a whole bunch of standard kit shoehorned into it. This includes leather upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an eight-speed automatic transmission and even a head-up display.

Of course, as with most things in life, if you look hard enough, there are imperfections. Kia has tried a little too hard to make the dashboard appear as though it’s wrapped in hide. It’s not – it’s plastic. The same goes for the door cards. It drizzles on the Stinger’s chips a bit – but really, for under £32,000, you’d be a nit-picker to complain.
Behind the wheel, the Stinger forces you to sit low, but it feels good. And, on the move, the 2.0 T-GDI’s four-cylinder powerplant does a proper job of thrusting this, the lightest of the Stinger range, to 62mph in six seconds. It’ll keep going, too, if you don’t stop it having its wicked way – until it’s finally spent at 149mph.  

The ride is bang on, with the 2.0 T-GDI’s 18-inch wheels coping well with Britain’s scarred roads. The Stinger also handles with an adeptly tuned fusion of well-balanced traction and reliable body control – as well as sharp-edged directional nimbleness.
All in all, the junior model from the Stinger line-up has the poise and pace of a proper sports saloon. There’s a lot of entertainment to be had for enthusiastic drivers, that’s for sure. But you’ll have to take pride in the ‘Kia’ name to own or lease the Stinger. There’s little point spending your time wishing you were in a BMW or Audi. This car is cheaper – but it won’t command the same cachet in the company car park just yet. That said; you’ll be the one who people will talk to – because yours is the motor that will stand out. Trust me.

Pros ‘n’ Cons
  • Looks √
  • Power √
  • Ride √
  • Kit √
  • Snob appeal X
Fast Facts (Kia Stinger GT-Line 2.0 T-GDI- as tested)
  • Max speed: 149 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 6.0 secs
  • Combined mpg: 35.8
  • Engine layout: 1998cc four-cylinder petrol turbo
  • Max. power (PS): 255
  • CO2: 181 g/km          
  • Price: £31,995
Written by motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.
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