by Kannan Chandran
KIA has just redefined its logo. The name is no longer trapped in an oval, and has now been given stylistic freedom and a new slogan: “Movement that Inspires”.
That’s quite apt for the Stinger, the Korean brand’s sleek sedan that looks like a child from another parent when compared to the more utilitarian models popped out by the Korean brand.
Its sleek GT shape is sharp and contemporary, and in this era of SUVs, a welcome to behold. It’s nice to be able to see the sunroof when you’re standing beside the car.
The air vents on the bonnet, the textured grille with the complementary design on the lights and the large air dams provide a strong sense of purpose to the Stinger.
The Stinger is fetching from first sight. And it may be a modest update for the model, but it’s still refreshing to behold and gives the German marques a run for the money.
Actually, it’s a lot cheaper than the German equivalents, at *S$235,999. But the trade-offs are noticeable, too.
There’s a refinement about the German cars that aren’t matched in the Stinger. The Stinger has all the required bells and whistles, and maybe a few extra, but in that final polished finish, it just still lags with a slightly dated look; or you might call it classic, with the round air-con vents and mix of leather and plastic.
Safety equipment is up to speed, with programs to keep you in the lane, warn you of a possible collision, airbags, head-up display, paddle shifters, and so on. And there’s a blind spot view monitor, a video display on your instrument cluster which, when you indicate, gives you a live road-level image on the side you are turning in to. While well-intentioned, everything happens too quickly to be meaningful, or it’s just too distracting.
The Stinger is loaded with a slew of current communication equipment, with CarPlay, Android Auto and wireless charging ensuring you remain connected. But the test drive car had a slightly dodgy connection, with the display showing that CarPlay had lost the connection. Though it hadn’t since the music still played through the 15-speaker Harman Kardon system.
What the Stinger has, and which should be a reason to enjoy, is a big engine — when you consider all the smaller turbocharged powertrains generally on offer these days. The Stinger bucks the trend and holds on to a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 as an option that should offer a good kick when pushed.
It does and doesn’t.
The initial push is impressive as the Stinger launches to 100kmh in under five seconds. While it’s very assured in a straight line, it’s less so on twisting terrain and less than ideal surfaces. There’s a tendency to slip when pushed around corners. Some may consider that entertaining, and for those unable to handle too much power, it could prove unnerving.
The automatic shifting is good and punchy, but the paddle shifters seem to have a slight lag, which adds to the nervousness when doing anything more spirited.
The head-up display is kept to the bare minimum, which is good, and the drive select is a small knob on the centre console, rather than a touchscreen feature, which is a definite plus.
But, for its big engine, this is a relatively quiet cabin.
It’s only when you are in Sport mode — when the ventilated driver’s seat literally hugs you — and pushing closer to 3,000rpm that you hear the engine making its presence felt.
This allows the Stinger to be sporty or executive, depending on your preference.
Engine: 3,342cc twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Max output: 272kW
Max torque: 510 Nm
0-100kmh: 4.9 seconds
Top speed: 270kmh
Fuel consumption: 9.6L/100m
Fuel tank: 60L
VES banding: C2
* Confirm price with dealer www.kia.com/sg
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