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    Kia Stinger (2018 - 2021)

    The independent definitive Kia Stinger (2018-2021) video review
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      STINGS LIKE A BUTTERFLY (some text hidden) SECTIONED_new_kiastinger_2017

      By Jonathan Crouch

      Introductionword count: 45

      Yes, it's a Kia. Yes, you might want one. No, this 'Gran Turismo' model isn't merely a copy of something German. This is the Kia Stinger. The looks don't lie. Here, we look at the original 2017-2021-era version of this car as a used buy.

      Modelsword count: 15

      5DR HATCH (2.0 PETROL / 2.2 CRDI DIESEL / 3.3 V6 PETROL [GT-LINE, GT-LINE S])

      Historyword count: 445

      Did you ever imagine that one day, Kia would bring you something like this? The company itself did. What we have here is their so-called 'Gran Turismo', the Stinger. Even now, it still looks quite something. But prior to the Stinger's original launch back in late 2017, Kia had been laying the ground work for it for a long time, with this basic design first shown as a 'GT Concept' prototype at the Frankfurt Motor Show way back in 2011. It came with quite a development pedigree too. The stylist, Frenchman Gregory Guillaume, was responsible for the jaw-dropping first generation Audi TT. As for the guy who led development of this car's road dynamics, well for those, you can thank Albert Biermann, who until 2014 was Head of BMW's M Performance division. Guillaume says his inspiration for this design lay in the Grand GT models he saw as a boy back in the early Seventies as they rushed past bombing down the Autoroute du Soleil to the South of France, cars like the original Giugiaro-designed Maserati Ghibli. What that translates into here is a very interesting look indeed, the stylised five-door hatch body shape closest in concept to sportier versions of mid-sized executive contenders like Audi's A5 Sportback and BMW's 4 Series Gran Coupe. Kia not surprisingly saw both these cars as close rivals, but also thought that what's on offer here could appeal to people tempted by sleeker premium sports saloons in this segment like Alfa Romeo's Giulia, Volkswagen's Arteon and Jaguar's XE. The Stinger's a fraction larger than models of that sort and, as well as being more arresting to look at, is also better equipped and claimed to be more dynamically focused, especially in top 3.3-litre twin turbo V6 GT S flagship guise. Like all variants in the range, this one sold at the kind of premium price point that was new to Europeans considering the Kia brand, though it was less shocking to customers elsewhere in the world. Those people were already used to moderately expensive Kia saloons we never saw here, models like the K900 and Cadenza. The Stinger sold in its original form in the UK from the beginning of 2018, initially with two four cylinder models available, a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre CRDi diesel, though these were dropped at the end of 2019. The top V6 3.3-litre petrol flagship model was available from launch at 2018 and lasted until late 2021, when Kia gave it a light facelift and some cabin screen updates. At this point, the range was slimmed down to only that top V6 GT S petrol model. Here, we're looking at the pre-facelift range.

      What You Getword count: 348

      German brands need to understand that you don't create a 'Gran Turismo' simply by switching to a five-door body shape from an existing saloon and adding a rear spoiler. Designer Gregory Guillaume seems to have appreciated that better than his counterparts at Audi and BMW and, as a result, the Stinger's longer, lower and quite differently proportioned from anything else in the segment. Mounted between complex dark chrome headlamp units that feature LED beams on the top V6 model, there's a different interpretation of Kia's 'Tiger Nose' grille, with jewel-studded metallic effect finishing. Primary cooling though, is dealt with by the large lower grille and air intake, which is flanked by scoops that channel cooling air to the brakes. Step round to the rear of the Stinger and you're also left in no doubt about the car's sporting intent, particularly on the top 3.3-litre V6 GT S version, which has twin exhausts poking potently out of each side of the aggressively-shaped rear diffuser. Inside, you sit low on leather stitched figure-hugging sports seats, view a broad faux leather soft-touch-trimmed centre console and grasp a flat-bottomed three-spoke D-shaped wheel over which you can also view a head-up display. The 8-inch centre-dash touchscreen is one of the elements borrowed from cheaper Kia models, but it's been well integrated. There are definite hints of Porsche and Mercedes here - the stubby auto gear lever, the 'jet turbine'-style three chromed central round vents - but the cabin's much more than some kind of derivative Teutonic 'homage'. It has its own sense of style and quality too, with cool metal surfaces, stitched leather trim panels and beautifully damped switchgear. What's on offer in the rear can't match the palatial standards of a rival Volkswagen Arteon, but it certainly out-classes competitors from Audi and BMW and if you take a seat in a rival Jaguar XE after trying one of these, you'll feel like you're in a supermini. Out back, if you avoid entry-level trim, you get a powered tailgate and once it raises, a shallow but quite spacious-looking 406-litre cargo area is revealed.

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      Scoring (subset of scores)

      Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates

      Performance
      70%
      Handling
      60%
      Comfort
      70%
      Space
      60%
      Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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