Kia Stinger GT review
The Kia Stinger is a smart-looking coupe that’s exciting to drive, comfortable and comes with a seven-year warranty – but it’s almost as expensive as more premium alternatives
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If you’re looking for a large, exciting coupe that can whisk you far away at a considerable pace at the end of the working week then you should check out the Kia Stinger GT.
Sure, it might not have the badge kudos of upmarket saloons such as the Audi A5 Sportback and VW Arteon, but the Kia Stinger GT’s styling means it stands out from these cars like a baby tiger in Battersea Cat’s Home. Even in entry-level guise, it looks like one of the sportiest saloons on sale.
This momentum continues inside, where you’ll find the Stinger GT gets one of the classiest Kia cabins yet, with flowing forms, a leather-covered dashboard and dashes of silver plastic. Everything’s easy to use, too, and all models get wireless phone charging and a responsive, easy-to-use 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav.
So you get a lot of kit in the Stinger, but not so much in the way of space. The rear seats are nice and supportive, but there isn’t a lot of space for your feet under the front seats and tall passengers will wish there’s a bit more headroom.
The boot is a bit shallow, too, and although there’s enough space for a family’s holiday luggage, you’ll be better off with an Audi A5 Sportback or Volkswagen Arteon if you need to carry anything particularly bulky.
The Stinger GT is a remarkable first attempt at a Grand Tourer from Kia and a genuinely fun car that’s held back by its budget badge and premium price tag
The Kia Stinger GT compensates for its practicality shortcomings with the way it drives. It’s a big car but feels like it shrinks around you when you’re driving down a twisty road. There’s plenty of grip, too, and it’s capable of putting a smile on your face in a way the Arteon can only dream of.
Dial-down the speed and the Stinger transforms into a comfy cruiser that’s perfect for long road trips in comfort – especially in Blue Edition and GTS models with their standard adaptive suspension.
It’s a bit noisier at a cruise than an A5 or Arteon, but like those premium alternatives, it comes with lots of tech to keep you safe. Despite its size you won’t feel tense driving it around town either, thanks to light steering and standard 360-degree birds-eye camera that takes the stress out of parking.
If you’ll spend most of your time around town then get the Kia Stinger GT with the 2.0-litre petrol for its quiet blend of smoothness and performance. The 2.2-litre diesel will get impressive economy if long motorway trips are your thing, and the range-topping 3.3-litre petrol V6 turns the Stinger into a genuinely rapid car.
This variety makes the Stinger a compelling alternative to the A5 Sportback and VW Arteon. The Kia gets lots of kit as standard, with few optional extras, a seven-year warranty and a sense of fun that its German alternatives just can’t match.
Read on for our in-depth interior, practicality and driving review sections or head over to our Kia Stinger GT deals page to see how much you can save on your next new car.
Common Kia Stinger GT questions
Is the Kia Stinger rear-wheel drive (RWD)?
Yes – unlike some modern saloon cars, the Kia Stinger GT comes with rear-wheel drive as standard. Even top-spec GTS models with twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engines come with rear- instead of four-wheel drive, such as you’d find in many rapid German alternatives.
The Kia Stinger GT is quite a large car with plenty of space in the front and a reasonably roomy boot. Rear-seat headroom leaves a little to be desired, however…
Be careful when you adjust your seat if you have passengers in the back – lower it a little too far and they’ll be in danger of losing a few toes…
The Kia Stinger GT’s leather front seats are supportive and mounted low down in the cabin to make it feel sporty. They come with adjustable lumbar support to help stave off backache on long drives.
Despite looking like a swoopy sports car, there’s still plenty of headroom in the Kia Stinger GT’s front seats, so you can get comfy even if you’re very tall. The seat and steering wheel even slide out of your way automatically to make it easy to climb in and out – just like in a Mercedes.
Unfortunately, space in the back isn’t quite as generous. There’s just enough headroom for a six-foot-tall adult (if they’re happy to slouch slightly) but there’s very little space under the front seats for passengers to put their feet.
At least the outer rear seats are soft and supportive but the central seat is harder, higher and much narrower. Combine this with a tall lump in the floor and the back of the Stinger’s only really suitable for kids.
Thankfully, it’s easy to lift in and secure a child seat thanks to the Stinger’s reasonably wide rear doors and clearly marked Isofix points. Unlike in an Audi, these sit behind handy folding flaps rather than annoying removable (and easy to lose) plastic covers.
The Kia Stinger GT’s interior might look quite sporty, but it still comes with plenty of handy cubby holes to help you keep it looking neat and tidy. There’s space for a one-litre bottle under the front armrest and in the front door bins, while the two cupholders in the centre console can hold a large bottle and a drinks can at once.
The glovebox is pretty roomy, but then it has to be – the owner’s manual alone is big and heavy enough to work equally well as a doorstop for the entrance to a nuclear bunker. In the back, you also get a set of reasonably roomy door bins and a folding armrest with two generous cupholders.
The Kia Stinger GT might be a big car, but its boot isn’t quite as roomy as in an Audi A5 Sportback or a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. There’s enough room in the Kia’s 406-litre boot for a set of golf clubs or two large suitcases and two soft bags, but both the 480-litre Audi and BMW can carry noticeably more.
The boot’s square shape makes it reasonably easy to pack full of large boxes but there’s quite a tall boot lip that’ll make lifting in very heavy items rather tricky. You can tuck a small soft bag or a few valuables under the boot floor but there’s nowhere to put the parcel shelf when you remove it.
Need to carry some very long boxes? All Stinger GTs come with two-way (60:40) split-folding rear seats so you can carry bulky items and a passenger in the back at once. Fold all the rear seats down and the Stinger’s boot grows to 1,114 litres – enough to carry a bike with its wheels attached but a whopping 186 litres less than in a 4 Series Gran Coupe.
Thankfully, just like in the BMW, the seats fold almost completely flat and there’s no annoying step in the boot floor so you won’t put your back out pushing large boxes right up behind the front seats.
There’s a reasonably frugal diesel model but for outright pace you’ll want the turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 – it’s seriously quick, but also seriously thirsty
Top-spec GTS cars are sportier than any Kia deserves to be – they’ll even tear from 0-62mph faster than some Porsches
You can get the Kia Stinger GT with one diesel and two petrol engines – all of which drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This unit is reasonably smooth and doesn’t jerk at slow speeds like the twin-clutch DSG gearbox available in some A5 Sportback diesels, but it isn’t as responsive as the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe’s automatic ‘box.
If you do lots of city driving you’ll want to pick a 2.0-litre petrol model. It’s not just cheaper to buy than the diesel, it’s quieter at low speeds and a touch more frugal around town.
Sure, this four-cylinder unit isn’t quite as smooth as the larger V6 petrol but it’s still more than quick enough to keep up with fast-moving motorway traffic. Unfortunately, it’ll struggle to match the diesel’s fuel economy out on the open road – Kia claims it’ll return 35.8mpg but you’ll have to tread very lightly on the accelerator if you want to break the 30mpg barrier.
As a result, the 2.2-litre diesel will be much more suitable if you do plenty of motorway miles. It’ll cost you around £2,200 more to buy than the entry-level petrol but it’ll return around 45mpg compared to Kia’s claimed 50.4mpg figure.
Unfortunately, this increased fuel economy comes at the expense of performance – 2.2-litre models take around 1.6-seconds longer to accelerate from 0-60mph than the cheaper petrol version and they rattle and growl more than a comparable Audi or BMW when you pull out to pass slow-moving cars.
If it’s a sporty four-door car you’re looking for, then the 3.3-litre V6 Stinger GTS is the model to go for. It doesn’t just get sportier bumpers, bigger alloy wheels and four exhausts – under the bonnet there’s a twin-turbo V6 engine that’ll power it from 0-60mph in less than 4.9 seconds. That’s faster than a Porsche Boxster sports car.
Sure, it can’t hold a candle to the diesel in terms of fuel economy but you won’t have much trouble matching Kia’s claimed (if rather modest) 26.6mpg fuel economy figure. If fuel costs are important to you, it’s worth considering that the posher Audi S5 Sportback can manage 10mpg more while a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe M440i hits a claimed 41.5mpg. Both models have similar performance to the Kia.
Its low-slung seating position and long bonnet might make you think the Kia Stinger GT would be a pain to drive around town, but its fairly thin front pillars give you a good view out and (in comfort mode) light controls mean threading it down a tight back street won’t be too nerve-wracking.
Sure, rear visibility is pretty poor but at least you get a clever 360-degree surround-view camera system in GT-Line S and GTS trim to help make parallel parking a bit easier.
Along with BLue Edition cars, these GTS models come with adaptive suspension as standard t let you choose between Comfort and Sport settings. The former helps take the edge off large bumps and potholes while the latter stops the car’s body from leaning too much in tight corners.
Unfortunately, even with this techy suspension fitted, the Kia Stinger GT doesn’t feel quite as poised as a 4 Series Gran Coupe. You can only get it with rear-wheel drive too, so it can’t leap out of bends as quickly as a four-wheel-drive A5 Sportback or give you the same stability on slippery winter roads.
If you’re feeling slightly less racy, the standard Stinger does a decent job cruising along at motorway speeds. Unfortunately, you’ll hear a little more wind and tyre noise than in a Mercedes or BMW and imperfections in the road can send stronger vibrations through the cabin in Blue Edition and GTS cars with larger 19-inch alloy wheels.
So it might not be quite as relaxing to drive on long journeys as these German cars but you can rest assured the Kia Stinger GT will be just as safe. It earned an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2017 thanks, in part, to its automatic emergency braking system. This’ll apply the brakes automatically to help avoid low-speed collisions if the system senses an obstacle in the road ahead.
The Kia GT Stinger interior looks far better than anything you’ll find in any other Kia, but it doesn’t feel quite as plush as in an Audi, Mercedes or BMW
Kia Stinger GT colours
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