I sold my MY18 GT-Line 9 months ago and replaced it with a BMW M240i. I genuinely miss the Stinger and feel regret whenever I see one on the roads. I've never written a car review before but my old Stinger deserves one.
The day I signed the contract to buy the Stinger, I went to a Ford dealership with my heart set on a Mustang. I sat inside it and the cheapness of the cabin disgusted me. I’ve had a 10 year old Golf that had a better interior. So anyway, I remembered reading about the hype of the Stinger and wondered if they had any in the showrooms, and as luck would have it the Stinger had been out for a week or two at that point. I sat inside and it was a night and day difference when compared with the Mustang. I decided there and then that I was going to buy it.
The car looked crazy good. My first impression was that it looked like a Maserati from the back and a Stormtrooper from the front. And almost four years later, it still looks gorgeous. It stands out on the road. As for the interior, like I said, as soon as I sat inside, I knew it was the one. A genuinely well-built interior with that distinct German feeling. The seats are nice, the steering wheel is cool with it’s perforations and flat-bottomed shape, the brushed aluminium trim around the cabin and use of soft leatherette/plastic and alcantara roof liner… it's just an overall nice place to be. Heated and cooled seats were amazing and the speaker system in the GT-Line was crisp and clear. Friends commented that it was like a spaceship inside, especially at night (even though there’s no ambient lighting). It was well-built; inside and out.
My biggest regret was going for the 2.0-litre turbo instead of the 3.3-litre turbo. I really felt that straight-line performance was lacking. Also, the sound fools you into thinking you’re driving a beast but in reality it sounds like any normal 4-cylinder car - you’ll get burned at the lights by more cars than you’d like. Nevertheless, it is ‘adequate’ in most circumstances but if you’re looking for that rear-wheel drive thrill, a Toyota 86 will probably give you more pleasure than the GT-Line. This is more of a cruiser, but you’ll get away with pushing the limits on a nice windy road.
The ride is good. On the highway it feels planted (unlike my M240i which tends to sway in high winds at speeds over 130km/h). The adjustable dampers are a nice novelty but not that impressive once you get used to it. You can still tell the difference though. Around town, it's a dream to drive. A bit big but smooth. I've gotten a few comments to say that I was driving fast, but it felt smooth and slow (which is a good thing from a comfort/insulation perspective). I wouldn’t bother putting an exhaust and big flashy rims on it - use it for cruising and you’ll be more than happy.
One strong selling point for this car is the value you get for what you pay. A 7-year warranty and a car that feels German? Yes please! Having said that, the fuel economy is terrible! My M240i does 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds and has a 50% bigger engine, yet still has noticeably better range. I was doing around 10-12 litres per 100 kilometres in the Stinger which is quite poor. The car is heavy, so that’s probably why it drinks so much…
As for technology, you can’t complain. Apple CarPlay and Andrioid Auto (albeit wired) is a must these days. It has wireless charging, a head-up display and all that good stuff. I really miss having that 360-degree parking camera and rear cross traffic alert. The gears are smooth and the flappy paddles aren’t bad, although it is annoying how they go back to ‘D’ automatically, and does it sooner than you’d like.
The car was reliable throughout ownership and the interior held up surprisingly well over the 55,000km I owned it. The boot is surprisingly large probably thanks to that hatchback. Rear seats are cramped though; they look nice and if the driver and front passenger don’t have their seats all the way back you’ll be alright, but if you’re a 6-foot man like me then expect complaints from the back. Also, the middle seat is silly; I felt sorry for whoever sat there.
In terms of what I think would make it better - a 3.0-litre diesel engine will give the best of both worlds (with torque and fuel economy), a fully digital dash would be nice, and wireless CarPlay would take the connectivity to the next level.
In conclusion, the Stinger is a good car. Don’t expect it to be as fast and thrilling as it looks but if what you want is a nice-to-be-in car that is smooth on the roads, has a lot of toys, and you don’t mind the fact that you’re driving a Kia, then this is the car for you. I genuinely miss it for everything except the performance. My BMW has everything the Stinger didn’t; adrenaline excreting performance, perfect weight balance, and a prestige badge, but honestly I will be seriously thinking about getting a 3.3-litre Stinger for my next car. Props to Kia for making a car that I formed an attachment to!