Kia Stinger 330Si a well-made, spacious, decently equipped and formidably powerful rear wheel drive bruiser.
What is it?
The Kia Stinger, you may have heard of it, it’s kind of a big deal. And for a number of reasons: it’s the first rear wheel drive Kia sold in Australia, it was developed by former BMW engineer Albert Biermann and it’s offered with a thumping 3.3 litre twin turbo V6, which Kia says will better the performance figures offered up by the 6.2 litre V8 in the previous (and sorely missed) VF Commodore.
What’s it cost?
The Kia Stinger range opens with the 2.0 litre four-cylinder and rear wheel drive Stinger 200S which is priced from $45,990 plus on road costs, and extends to the fully loaded Stinger GT V6 which is priced from $59,990 minus government charges.
We sampled the Stinger 330Si, which is priced from $55,990 – exactly the same price as the four-cylinder Stinger GT – and comes equipped with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, satellite navigation, reversing camera, dual zone climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and leather trim all as standard.
As per all new Kias, the Stinger range is covered by Kia’s seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
What’s it go like?
The Stinger 330Si is quick. Very quick. That 3.3 litre twin turbo chucks out 272kW @ 6000rpm and 510Nm @ 1300-4500rpm. The power band is huge, and the V6 always feels eager and willing to pounce. Overtaking is a cinch, as are quick sprints away from the traffic lights…
All that power is fed to the rear wheels via a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic. Kia claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 4.9 seconds, and we believe them.
A number of driving modes are available: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Smart. Smart adjusts the car’s performance according to driving conditions. Sport sharpens up throttle response and gear changes, as well as pumping faux exhaust noise through the stereo speakers, just like the system in the very excellent Optima GT.
And that’s perhaps one of the key drawbacks of the Stinger 330Si – it’s just too quiet. That V6 is lovely and serves up ferocious grunt, but it doesn’t have the exhaust note to match. Kia Australia is working on a sports exhaust for V6 Stinger models, but in my opinion at least, it should’ve been fitted as standard from the get go.
Kia claims an average combined fuel consumption figure of 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycled, we averaged around 12.5, not bad considering the car’s size and performance.
Handling is well balanced, planted and confident. The steering is well weighted and delivers excellent feel and feedback whilst cornering – cornering is a hoot too on your favourite backroad.
The ride and body control are supremely controlled. There’s virtually no body roll, and the ride is firm but exceptionally comfortable.
What’s it like inside?
Pretty impressive. The Stinger’s interior raises the bar for Kia cabin design and quality. A number of buttons and switches are found in other Kia models – this is fine as they are generally pretty solid – but the overall dashboard design with its soft touch material and its Mercedes-Benz inspired rotary air vents. There’s a hint of Jaguar XF in the door cards too.
There are some materials that do feel like they’re out of a $15,000 Picanto, though. The plastic on the steering wheel centre, for instance, is hard and shiny.
The infotainment system is easy to use and that colour touchscreen is fairly clear. And we like the gear lever – it’s a little unusual at first, but it fits comfortably in the palm of one’s hand. The front seats are comfy, and there’s acres of room up the front.
The back seats are comfy too, and there’s an abundance of stretching room for all. All passengers except those who are over six foot in stature. Yours truly is just over six foot and I found my head hard up against the roof, which forced me to slouch, which isn’t ideal for long trips.
The boot is a decent 406 litres with the backseat in the upright position, and a very handy 1114 litres with the backrests lowered.
What we like:
- Overall quality
What we don’t:
- Odd equipment levels – it has adaptive cruise and lane keep assist as standard, but you need to step up to the GT for blind spot monitoring and even heated seats
- The Stinger handles and rides remarkably well, although it struggles to hide its size and weight. You’re always aware that this is a big, heavy car
- Rear headroom is insufficient for taller passengers
- It’s too damn quiet. Kia should come up with a genuine sports exhaust, and quickly.
Sale or no sale?
Yes, absolutely. The Kia Stinger is a performance class act: formidably fast, well handling, comfortable and relatively good value for money. We’d be tempted to go for the V6 GT, though.