The Stinger has been available in Australia for a number of years now and recently received a mid-life upgrade for the 2020 range. I have to admit I was very much looking forward to getting behind the wheel as Kia has endured quite the renaissance in recent years with wholesale styling and engineering changes across the entire range that now spans 10 product lines.
It was a very damp day in Sydney when I collected the Stinger 200S finished in Silky Silver and black leather interior. The 200S is the base model Stinger which for the uninitiated like me was not immediately obvious. My first impression driving the 200S was the feeling of being in a solid, very comfortable and safe large sedan that is akin to its well established European competition.
|Life Style||Life Stage||Safety||On The Road|
|Looking for value
that’s not European
This was the first (of many) eyebrow raising moments of my week with the Kia Stinger 200S. The interior of this base model is extremely comfortable and completely belies its $50,000 price-tag. Put another way, the price-tag for a similarly comfortable and sized alternative from Germany would cost well above $100,000.
The front seats in particular are a very nice place to spend any amount of time. We spent a day running errands and felt no tiredness or discomfort at any point. The rear sets are also very comfortable although the head-room is compromised somewhat given the quad-coupe styling that makes the Stinger such an attractive car from the outside. Head-room in the front is very generous as is shoulder room and leg-room for taller co-pilots.
An Apple Car Play and Android Auto enabled touch-screen means there is no shortage of information available to the driver. This ensures that the number of buttons on the middle console of the 200S is kept to a minimum, and very ergonomically arranged for ease of use. A 12V and USB connection is standard as well as a 10W fast-charge USB slot for those times when you need quick top-up. Wireless charging is available from the next model up – the GT-Line. A 12V and USB slot are also available to rear passengers as well as air-conditioning vents with basic temperature control.
The high transmission tunnel running from the engine to the rear wheels gives a very cosy sense of comfort and safety matched with the low (but in no way blind) driving position. A short gear selector and driving mode selector are intuitively placed and very easy to use in conjunction with the 3.5” screen between the speedo and rev counter in the instrument cluster, which is very easy to read through the tilt and reach adjust able steering wheel.
The 6 speaker sound system is more than adequate for the price of the 200S although some of the more bass heavy songs on the Car Speaker Test playlist did trouble the front speakers at slightly higher volume levels. Steering wheel controls for audio, cruise control and the phone are very easy to read and use – especially at night being back-lit.
A real feature of the Stinger range is the exterior design which I think has done a better job of the four-door coupe styling than its contemporaries from Audi, BMW and most definitely Mercedes-Benz. At almost 5m in length and a 2.9m wheelbase the proportions of the Stinger are appealing from almost any angle.
The lateral curvature of the rear-end in particular is really pleasing to the eye with the four chrome exhaust pipes giving a premium and sporty look. The rear three-quarter view is arguably the Stinger’s most attractive angle.
The other feature of the Stinger that is not immediately obvious is that it is a hatch-back with the boot and the rear window raising as a single element of the car. The low lip on the rear ensures that loading the generous boot is very easy.
Other very appealing exterior features of the Stinger include an edge-to-edge tail-light assembly that flows around the rear of the car towards the rear wheels. I’m not sure how great it will look on the Neon Orange paintwork but on this Silky Silver version it worked well.
At the front, faux engine vents are a nice touch on the bonnet as are the vented opening between the headlights with the radar for the cruise control sitting behind a subtle black facia immediately below the Kia badge.
On The Road
The Stinger 200S tips the scales at 1.6 tonnes and the 2.0 litre turbo-charged 4 cylinder DOHC 16 valve engine does struggle a little from time to time although once up and running the car gets along very nicely.
The visual proportions of the Stinger flow through to a very solid feeling on the road where plenty of feedback and accuracy are communicated back through the very solid leather steering wheel.
A gaggle of safety systems including Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Detection ensures that every journey is a safe one. ABS, Driver Alert Assistance and Emergency Braking and Collision systems round out what is an impressive list of standard safety features.
The road-noise from the 18 inch alloy wheels is not at all intrusive although a little noise from the exterior mirrors was evident at motorway speeds and above.
Fuel consumption is a little high around town and the 60 litre tank can feel small if you’re working the engine hard.
Who Will Love This Car?
Both teenage children of mine loved the Stinger although neither are the target market. That being said, the Stinger makes a lot of sense as very competitive non-European option for the price and standard equipment. The comparable models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz are over twice the price. Sure there are reasons for that however, you really have to work hard to justify those when you drive them all back-to-back.
If you drive long distances and don’t want an SUV this is certainly a car that should be on your shopping list.
The 7 Year Factory Warranty is another not-without-merit feature to consider.
The 2020 Kia Stinger 200S as tested in Silky Silver will set you back $50,490 Drive-Away.