The Stinger has 5 drive modes: Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport +. For a throaty growl move the dial just below the gear shift to Sport while Comfort is just that.
KIA has cleverly integrated an ‘active sound system’ that relays the engine noise through the car’s audio system for better aural satisfaction when moving the car up the revs.
Harmon Kardon speakers, yes all 15 of them, blast out the tunes from the DAB radio or your own iPhone/Android playlist via the front – and rear – USB ports. The Stinger’s satnav is housed in an 8-inch touchscreen which could ideally be angled (like the Sportage) more towards the driver. What I do love are the speed and nav systems reflected onto the windscreen in front of me. Much safer than glancing to my left to check the map.
Visibility is good, thanks to the 360-degree around view monitor. Although I always prefer to look behind me when reversing. It’s all too easy to miss cats, children and the rest of humanity checking their phones completely oblivious to two tonnes of steel in their midst. Headlights are automatic as you’d expect and I find the Welcome and Follow Me Home light system very useful when arriving in the dark.
I’m an expert ‘paddler’ now – these are located the side of the column and the system reverts back to automatic once you release them. Very handy if you forget to put it in gear while in a queue. Likewise, the KIA’s start-stop system while stationary means greater fuel economy and no emissions. Nice touch. As are the brakes which were smooth and put to the test many times during my attempts to avoid mowing down errant and erratic cyclists – the bane of any inner city motorist. As well as when driving through Richmond Park – the lycra-clad racers refusing to go single file, but instead en masse like a murmuration of starlings. You get my point.
On a long trip to the West Country, I thought the low-slung seating might make me more tired. Absolutely not. Thanks to the independent suspension the road holding is excellent and the ride in the Stinger is smoother than I expect. KIA has clearly designed the Stinger to be a comfortable long-range tourer and made comfort a priority. I love the way the snug seats have eight adjustment modes – and a cool memory function for the driver as soon as you get in. The lumbar adjustment means total support for those long drives. Exactly what the GT was built for.
The front leather seats are blissfully heated (as is the D-shaped leather steering wheel) and there’s a ventilated option for summer. The best season for making use of the one-touch sliding sunroof. In recent winter weather, however, I was glad to push back the fabric cover and get more daylight into the cabin. Only one quibble for rainy days – the Stinger has no rear wiper. Rain-splattered rear windows that I can’t clear – or see out of – while driving is a pet peeve. You’d expect this in a soft-top convertible – but not £35k+ worth of high tech engineering.
Safety features in the Stinger GT-Line S include front and side airbags, and the very useful Lane Keep Assist which buzzed if I drifted too close to the white lines. Other safety elements include a blind spot warning and ‘forward collision avoidance assist’ – particularly welcome on slow sections of the M23 this weekend when I was driving alongside roadworks at 50mph. ISOFIX child seat fixtures are standard, as are child safety rear door locks.
An exciting addition to KIA’s familiar stable of saloons, hatchbacks, SUVs and estates, the Stinger 2.0 T-GDi GT-Line S is a fabulous entrée into the refined world of the classic grand tourer. With plenty of space for five adults plus luggage, this stylish beauty is begging to drive you and your friends to the South of France this summer. Five versions are available in the UK, all with turbo-charged direct-injection engines, synched with an eight-speed gearbox. And the range-topping GT-S is equipped with a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that soars from 0 to 60mph in 4.7 seconds. Now that’s what I call a Stinger.
KIA Stinger 2.0 T-GDi GT-Line S Specs
- On The Road Price: £35,935
- 7-year/100,000-mile warranty
- Fuel consumption: Urban 25.7/Combined: 33.6
- CO2: 181 g/km
- Engine: 1,998cc
- Cylinders: 4
- Valves: 16
- Max Power: 244bhp at 6,200rpm
- Torque: 353nm
- 0-60: 5.8 seconds