The Stinger’s 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
At first glance, the Stinger’s interior appears pretty special. You get a trio of round, metallic air vents that looks like they’ve been pinched from a Mercedes while the simple, minimalist dashboard feels – for the most part – just as soft and squidgy as in an Audi or BMW.
But prod a few surfaces under the neat metal climate control switches and things start to get harder, scratchier and much more brittle. The glove box lid, door bins and steering wheel centre trim all feel miles behind what you get in a German alternative in terms of quality.
Thankfully, the Kia comes with plenty of high-tech kit to distract you from the cabin’s patchy feel. Even entry-level models get an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and neat head-up-display – so you can feel like Tom Cruise piloting a jet fighter when you nip down to the shops.
You also get satellite navigation, smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices and electrical lumbar support so you can while away hundreds of motorway miles without worrying about lower-back pain.
Pick a mid-range GT-Line S car instead and you’ll get a panoramic glass roof to make the Stinger’s interior as airy as possible, a beefier 15-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and a nifty 360-degree camera system that helps make parking a breeze – you’d have to pay extra for that in an Audi A5 Sportback. Fork out for a top-spec GTS model and you’ll get extra lumbar support and a memory function for the front seats – ideal if you share the car with someone.
Remove the Kia logo from the steering wheel and your passengers would have no idea they were sitting in a car that shares a badge with the humble Picanto…
All Stingers come with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that sits up on top of the dashboard so you can glance at it easily as you drive along. There’s also a bunch of expensive feeling metal shortcut buttons so you can switch between its key features easily on the move.
The screen’s reasonably sharp but the menus aren’t particularly colourful or easy to read, so tweaking some of its more detailed features might be best left to your passenger once you’re on the move. There’s also a rather thick plastic bezel around the screen that might have looked fine in a £12,000 Kia Rio, but is slightly out of place in a sports saloon costing three times that.
You do get a neat split-screen home page that’ll show both a map and a menu at once so you won’t miss upcoming sat-nav directions, but it doesn’t feel as modern as the super-slick systems you get in an A5 Sportback or 4 Series Gran Coupe.
That said, it’s still pretty responsive and inputting a postcode into the standard-fit sat-nav is a breeze. Adding waypoints or adjusting your route is a doddle and you can even mirror your Apple or Android phone’s display to use your favourite navigation apps instead of Kia’s own system.
These systems also let you make phone calls using just voice commands – handy if you want to impress your passengers – but, unlike in an Audi or BMW, you can’t do this with the standard Bluetooth connection.
The same can be said of the Harmon Kardon stereo you get in GT-Line S and GTS cars – the 15-speaker system sounds much better than the entry-level car’s stereo but isn’t quite on the same page as the upgraded systems in German alternatives.