Kia Stinger 2018 prices between £31,995-£35,495
For Kia, that automotive has undoubtedly been the Sportage, its excellent crossover that accounts for round 40 per cent of its gross sales within the UK.
However now it appears just like the Korean model is about to have one other game-changer within the form of this Stinger saloon.
Even Kia itself would most likely admit that, till now, not a lot of its clients have been strolling by means of its showroom doorways anticipating a automotive on the chopping fringe of driver enjoyment.
However this Stinger, a rear-wheel drive grand tourer that’s been developed particularly with that in thoughts, will make drivers revise their first impressions of Kia and its vehicles.
Whereas the flagship Stinger, with its 365bhp Three.Three-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, will undoubtedly steal a lot of the limelight, it’s prone to be the lesser-engined fashions like the two.2-litre turbo-diesel and this new 2.Zero-litre turbo-petrol that may account for the majority of gross sales. Not that the two.Zero-litre is way of a brief straw.
It nonetheless boasts all of the purposeful and smooth styling of the usual Stinger, which we expect is nothing short of incredible, however remains to be recognisable as a Kia.
It’s additionally a departure from what we’ve been used to from the model by way of its aggressive traces and sportier parts.
Kia UK boss Paul Philpott says that for the reason that begin of the 12 months the Stinger has introduced plenty of new clients into Kia showrooms and expects the automotive to attain a really excessive degree of conquest gross sales from rival producers.
On the face of the Stinger’s styling alone, that’s not arduous to think about. Below the bonnet, the turbocharged 2.Zero-litre petrol produces an affordable 244bhp giving it a Zero to 60mph time of 5.eight seconds and 149mph high pace.
That’s all delivered by way of an eight-speed automated gearbox to the rear wheels (there’s no four-wheel drive model) and likewise produces 181g/km emissions and 35.eight mpg common gas financial system.
The brand new automotive can go from Zero-60mpg in 5.eight seconds
Given what rival engines produce, these latter two figures might be higher however the actuality is that almost all potential Stinger consumers are prone to be extra centered on its efficiency somewhat than its parsimony.
Rightly so too, as turns into evident inside 5 minutes behind the steering wheel. It’s instantly apparent that the Stinger is not any peculiar Kia.
Senior workers have come from BMW and that affect is obvious. The whole lot from the automotive’s stance on the highway to the steering really feel, even at low pace, is not like something you’ve skilled in a Kia earlier than.
Although this isn’t the full-on V6 mannequin, the two.Zero-litre engine feels eager and keen to choose up revs as you speed up. It’s nicely matched to the eight-speed automated, too, so the entire course of can be fairly clean.
However what actually stands out is how the automotive feels extra centered in direction of the motive force. The steering is sharp and direct (slightly an excessive amount of so till you’re used to it) in addition to speaking what’s going on beneath you.
The brand new automotive will rival Audi S3 saloon and Mercedes CLA
The brakes are robust and encourage loads of confidence. All that mixes to encourage you to drive the Stinger maybe tougher than you’ll most vehicles with a Kia badge and, higher but, it rewards you in variety. That rear-wheel drive offers you a degree of involvement and management that’s merely not frequent on many vehicles at this degree any extra. Or any degree.
It’s no exaggeration that, whereas it’s indirectly comparable, it’s not that far off the sort of grin-inducing enjoyable that you just would possibly get in a Mazda MX5. Even higher is that Kia hasn’t been tempted to suit it with overly giant wheels.
The usual 18in alloys look completely good and boast a fairly good high quality. Even in Sport driving mode the journey is comfortably acceptable.
Inside there are supportive and comfy electrically-controlled seats in addition to a heated steering wheel and good design touches resembling eyeball formed vents and a formed gear selector.
There are nonetheless some areas to enhance such because the plastic switches on the steering wheel and the standard of the leather-based on the wheel rim itself, which feels oddly slippery, however total this an enormous step ahead.
Add that to fairly good practicality with respectable rear head and legroom – though foot house will be tight – and a shallow-but-long boot and also you step out of the Stinger with some very optimistic impressions.
Is that sufficient for Kia and for the Stinger itself? Some pedantic and snobbish consumers will nonetheless have hang-ups however as soon as folks have test-driven one, the quantity occurring to purchase a Stinger is among the highest conversion-rates in its vary.
That underlines simply how a lot of a game-changer it’s. And if future Kias drive even half nearly as good as this, then we’ll be very completely happy certainly.
Engine: Petrol – 2.Zero-litre, turbo
Energy: Zero to 60mph in 5.eight seconds, 149mph high pace
Gasoline financial system: 35.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 181g/km
Rivals: Audi S3 saloon, Mercedes CLA, VW Arteon