KIA Stinger 2.0 GT Line - No Paper Tiger
Singapore - The KIA Stinger gets a mild facelift, so it means that it delivers a slightly better experience for its owners.
KIA to many, are makers of sensible family transport, and would be one of the last names many expect to spring something a little more unique. The Stinger is the result of producing a driver’s car, and in a way, building a sort of Korean “BMW”.... and maybe adopt the mantra of ‘Yes! We Can BMW Too!’. The Stinger was created a few years ago as the brand's halo project, developed with the help of the Nürburgring by none other than BMW M’s ex engineering head.
Dimensions-wise, the KIA Stinger sits between the BMW 3 Series and 5 Series. It is more of a fastback than a sedan, with a low and wide stance, and an intimidating ‘Tiger Nose’ to poke into other people’s rear view mirrors. External cosmetic updates include new daytime running lights, and a light bar at the rear.
KIA Stinger 2.0 GT Line - Interior
If you are familiar with the smaller KIA Cerato, you would find the Stinger’s interior rather familiar. Over here, the design cues have in-fact now trickled one way or another to the rest of the Korean brand’s range, as this is KIA’s halo car. The most important feature to me are a pair of ventilated bucket-style seats up front, to help you keep your cool in our tropical weather.
With the facelift, the infotainment screen has been enlarged to 8-inches, and now, owners also benefit from wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This is great, especially since both the V6 and four-cylinder variant of the car is equipped with a wireless mobile device charger.
KIA’s penchant for using large buttons is evident in the Stinger, meaning that in the case of the sausage-fingered, they’d have no issues with switching off the auto start/stop, as opposed to accidentally turning on the seat warmer, adding more heat to their butt butt.
Overall interior room is good for four adults, though the sloping roofline would be unfriendly for anyone who is 175cm and above. A 406-litre boot benefits from an electric liftback-style tailgate (similar to the Škoda Superb), though the loading area is on the shallow side.
KIA Stinger 2.0 GT Line - The Drive
What we have here is the 2.0 turbocharged variant, which costs around the neighbourhood of $55,000 less than its higher-powered V6 sibling. The four-cylinder sends 224hp and 353Nm through an 8-speed transmission to the rear wheels. The rear-driven bit here really is the biggest USP of the Stinger, since all its class/price equivalents, like the earlier-mentioned Skoda Superb, Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Camry, Peugeot 508 and Honda Accord are all front-driven cars.
The “cheaper” 2.0 Stinger also misses out on a few tech goodies that come only with the 3.3 V6. These are an adaptive suspension, a limited slip differential and better brakes… well all that, and two less cylinders.
Now that we have gotten the missing bits out of the way, what matters is how the Stinger drives. While it does not feel as quick as it really is, it really does 100km/h in a decent 6 seconds. We visited a few twisties in a bid to coax the BMW out of the Stinger, and were rewarded with accurate turn-ins and exits… definitely not as razor-sharp as a 3-er or a 5-er, but still entertaining. The 2.0 delivers its peak torque from between 1,400 to 3,500rpm, which tapers off as the revs visit 4,000rpm; yes, less depth than the 3.3 V6, but it's still mostly adequate.
Leaving the bends of South Buona Vista, we headed for a cruise down the highway, and into the city. We managed around 11l/100km, which will translate to a heavy fuel bill each month. Spending more for fuel is a tradeoff, if you are seeking driving pleasure.
The Stinger is about two things. Size, and reasonably-priced rear-wheel-drive. If you do not care for RWD, then there are many D Segment options to pick from; but if you do love your rear-end being driven, then the Stinger could be right for you.
But if you are one who is keen on something smaller, slightly more affordable, and with more tech-n-go, the recently-launched Škoda Octavia RS might just be your cup of tea… and yes, it also has a liftback-style bootlid for that bicycle habit you have (yes I did mention this car in a previous review too).
Photos Clifford Chow
2021 Kia Stinger 2.0 GT Line
Engine 1998cc, inline4, turbo
Transmission 8spd automatic
Fuel Consumption 8.3l/100km (combined)