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2017 Kia Stinger GT review
OWNER RATING 9.8 /10
  • Being underestimated by everyone; Performance and acceleration that scares me; Quality of craftsmanship; Eye-catching design and refined interior; Safety features and technology (including a banging sound system); Practical everyday usability for a family car
  • 360 cam could have doubled as a dash cam; Wireless charge space could be deeper; Subwoofer under the seat could be more effective; Fuel economy is (as expected) a little high
PRICE N/A
ANCAP RATING
10

by Trent Gibbs

I was introduced to the Kia Stinger GT early on, before production and release in Australia. I had never owned a Kia before and knew very little of the brand, but the idea of a ‘family sports car’ at a reasonable price had me interested. As a single-income family of four, the seven-year warranty and capped-price servicing were especially attractive.

My main concern was how I would fit in the cabin. I’m 6ft 6in/125kg, and I’d always owned large sedans, so cabin space was important. Especially with two kids under four years of age kicking around in the back seat in their boosters. Safety and fuel economy were the other main considerations. I was keen for a test drive to make up my mind, and I highly recommend it for anyone considering a Stinger. You’ll be instantly convinced, and it will immediately allay any concerns, just as it did for me.

It was a snug fit but comfortable, so that was the first hurdle overcome. What I really noticed was the quality of craftsmanship, which surprised me, and I say with confidence that it is very befitting of the grand touring class. The GT has the luxury of a European sedan that some competitors have become known for, and even lazy about. The trim is refined with actual alloy and stitched dash, but it’s not at all over the top. Kia really has kicked it up a notch here and shown how it should be done, but for a much smaller price tag.

I have owned it for three months now and the handling and performance are remarkable! There is not much to criticise. The only negatives really are: the wireless charge space could be a little deeper; 360 cam could have doubled as a dash cam; subwoofer under the seat could be more effective. Although, the 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is still absolutely banging!

There is also the argument about the exhaust note, but I like it quiet to not attract the wrong sort of attention or wake the kiddies when I leave in the morning. However, if that is the list of criticisms then I’m really being picky – very little improvement could be made.

The attention I do get is all good. On the road from other drivers, or when I pull up at the shops, all eyes are on me. People have been asking a lot of questions and they can’t believe this thing of beauty is a Kia. It’s perfect for everyday practical use because of the massive hatch/boot space. I can fit the pram and a trolley load of bags, which is why I bought it – simply to drive it just like every other family sedan I’ve owned, and I couldn’t be happier.

The technology is very edgy, with head-up display/G-force meter all new to me. The G-force meter is great to see the effect of 365hp (272kW), because you sure can feel it when it puts you back in your seat. The 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo with eight-speed auto is action packed, especially in Sport mode. There’s a little lag at first, but there is an emotional connection when I put my foot down. I’ve had some serious fun showing off what it can do against the good old Aussie V8s. It’s always a good thing to be underestimated or thought of as the underdog, only to prevail. It even scares me sometimes, and that is why I love my Stinger – how it makes me feel!

If you’re a highway driver, Eco mode with adaptive cruise and lane assist will be your best option because it almost drives itself. This will also give the best fuel economy at about 8L/100km, which will make your back pocket happy while it’s seated in the air-conditioned Nappa leather seats.

There’s a bunch of safety tech too, like autonomous emergency braking, rear cross traffic detection when reversing and blind spot monitoring. These all keep my family and I safe, in addition to the reliably responsive Brembo brakes (front and back), which have all proven their worth already. I don’t know how I lived without all this stuff for so long.

Its design and vibrant colour are eye-catching and it has been mistaken for a Maserati, which is hilarious for a car that is only $60K. The phrase ‘power to surprise’ is no joke because it surprisingly ticked all my boxes and then some. The Kia Stinger GT is now the benchmark, and without doubt a game changer!



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2017 Kia Stinger GT review Review
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