It's an important car for the South Korean brand, because it signals an entry into a segment it hasn't really competed in: large, rear-drive performance sedans.
So we thought we'd buy one – a 2018 Kia Stinger 330Si. We ordered our car shortly after Australian details were announced and patiently awaited its delivery through Kia South Melbourne.
If you've been sleeping under a rock, here's a quick rundown of why we like the Stinger so much.
Kicking off at $45,990 before on-road costs for the entry-level Stinger 200S, the range runs all the way through to the top-specification Stinger GT, kicking off at $59,990 before on-roads.
As we recently discovered, the $45,990 200S and the entry-level V6 variant (called the 330S) both scored a disappointing three-star ANCAP safety rating. We'd recommend avoiding them until Kia rolls out an updated offering.
Under the bonnet of the Stinger 330Si is a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine producing 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque, mated to an in-house eight-speed automatic transmission, drinking 10.2L/100km on the combined cycle.
While it's available in all-wheel drive overseas, Australia only gets rear-wheel drive. That said, the mid-specification Stinger 330Si is very well equipped for its price point,
Standard kit includes:
In that test, we clocked a 0–100km/h time of 4.8 seconds, with the quarter-mile dispatched in just 12.79 seconds thanks to the gearbox's in-built launch control. In other words, it's seriously quick.
So, we established that the V6 Stinger is a real rocket, but what's it like to own one?
Let's start with the purchase process. We paid $60,985 inclusive of on-road costs and fees, and took delivery at South Melbourne Kia on October 13th. I was lucky enough to handle the delivery experience myself. Our 'Hi-Chroma' Red Stinger Si was sitting there waiting when I arrived at the dealer.
The guys at the dealership walked me through the car and its features, before we got down to some paperwork and an obligatory photo. This part of the process was excellent, and I asked the team to treat me as if I'd never driven the car so I would understand all the features.
With spare key in hand and a stack of paperwork, I left the dealership and headed home to get some sleep before heading off for a run-in drive.
Akin to waving a red rag to a bull, the plan was to drive to Adelaide to take part in the Holden Dream Cruise – and be back in time for work on Monday, of course. We left Melbourne at 4:00am on Saturday with the Stinger Si, a Commodore SS-V Redline and a couple of other Holdens for the cruise taking place on Sunday at Elizabeth, South Australia.
My wife and I did stints in each car along the way, and what we immediately discovered was how comfortable the seats are. Even after a solid set of hours behind the wheel, the seats never made us tired, and the seating position kept all the key controls within easy reach.
This long-distance drive allowed us to test out features like radar cruise control, and also see how easy overtaking would be. We're happy to report it does both of those things very well. Radar-cruise is easy to use and doesn't delay when cars move, or when passing like some systems do. It's always quick to respond and accelerates briskly.
Overtaking is a non-event. Stand on the throttle at any speed and the way it adds numbers to the digital speedometer is crazy.
While the ride is on the firmer side of comfortable, the seats compensate for any harsh bumps or potholes along the way. Part of our drive took place at night, which revealed the headlights aren't great on low or high beam, though.
Unlike the GT, which gets LED headlights, the Si gets halogen projector lights that lack any punch. As a result, the Commodore led the pack with high-beam headlights designed to spot the creatures you'll find on the road at dusk or dawn.
The long drive allowed us to spend time listening to tunes over Bluetooth and some DAB+ radio, and both offer excellent clarity. We're big fans of the sound system – it offers plenty of punch and works a charm in that cabin. That said, it could be better: our model has the mid-range audio system with nine speakers and two woofers, but the GT gets a premium 15-speaker Harman Kardon set-up.
After a couple of days behind the wheel and almost 2000km amassed, we arrived back in Melbourne with a thick layer of bugs attached to the front of the car.
Fuel consumption over this trip really surprised us, coming in at a little under 8.0L/100km on the highway cycle.
We're excited to put the Stinger through its paces. Future instalments will cover servicing, track performance and all the niggles that have appeared since collecting the car. Stay tuned for the full rolling diary!