The massively hyped Kia Stinger performance car has been awarded what will become a controversial ‘split’ ANCAP crash safety rating.
Mid-range Stinger Si and GT-Line variants, plus the range-topping GT, all get 2017 five-star scores and full commendations.
However, the entry grade (fleet-focused) 200S four-cylinder and 330S V6 variants that undercut their siblings by $7000 instead receive a lowly three stars.
The rationale? These base cars - priced at $45,990 and $48,990 before on-road costs - lack active safety features fitted to the rest of the line-up.
“Autonomous-emergency braking and lane-keep assist have been omitted from these grades, reducing their Safety Assist score to 25 per cent,” said ANCAP CEO, James Goodwin.
“Australasian customers should feel let down that important safety features are being left out of the vehicles we’re being supplied.
“We would urge Kia to offer the same safety specification across all variants and all markets to ensure the best safety outcomes,” he added.
There are no structural issues or defects with the case cars. We'd add that the requisite tech is fitted to all Stingers sold in Europe.
“No longer is it the physical crash performance of a vehicle which limits its star rating,” Goodwin stated.
“Technology has advanced, and so have our assessments. Vehicle brands must offer the same level of standard safety features across their model ranges if they’re to achieve a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.”
Interestingly, 25 per cent in Safety Assist is the minimum break-point for a three-star rating. If it scored any less, the Stinger would have only reached two stars. It would have been the Ford Mustang all over again…
Today’s result is interesting, given the Hyundai i30 received five stars in 2017 for all grades, though autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist are only available on some variants.
The i30 was crashed locally and met local ANCAP requirements. The Stinger test is based on a Euro NCAP crash test, which has long focused on preventative safety tech as well as structural strength. One can easily deduce that if Kia had its Stinger tested locally against ANCAP protocols, it'd be a five-star car.
This clear loophole will be closed soon, since ANCAP and its partner Euro NCAP will fully align their protocols from January 1, hopefully clearing up what a number of car brands in Australia have labelled as inconsistency and a source of frustration.
None of this changes the fact that Kia has taken AEB out of a $50k car, though. Australasian Stinger variants also lack rear seat belt pre-tensioners and load limiters, and speed assistance systems (manual speed limiter, speed sign recognition or intelligent speed assist), which we understand raised ANCAP’s ire.
Compared to the five-star Stinger range, the three-star base cars’ lack of AEB also negatively affected their scores in the Adult Occupant Protection and Pedestrian Protection tests, though oddly they still fell within the five-star threshold in both.
Overall, the Stinger S models got 84 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupants, 67 per cent for pedestrian protection and said lowly 25 per cent for safety assist technologies.
The five-star grades got, respectively, 91 per cent, 81 per cent, 70 per cent and 78 per cent.
“Australasian consumers have come to expect 5 star safety and, for this calibre of vehicle and at this price-point, there should be no safety exceptions - 5 stars should be the minimum safety rating offered across all variants,” Goodwin conteds.
“We would urge Kia to either upgrade the S variants or delete them from their Australian model line-up.”
We have reached out to Kia Australia and will run its retort - if it chooses to go on the record - to the result soon. However, given the company's response to ANCAP issues in the past, we'd be surprised if it wasn't considering adding AEB and LDW to the Stinger S as a running change soon.
Kia Stinger 200S - three stars
Kia Stinger 200Si - five stars
Kia Stinger GT-Line - five stars
Kia Stinger 330S - three stars
Kia Stinger 330Si - five stars
Kia Stinger GT - five stars
DRIVEN: 2018 Kia Stinger review
COMPARISON: Stinger V6 v Commodore SS-V Redline
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the Kia Stinger safety ratings below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.