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Kia Stinger 2019 review: GT

This car makes a good first impression and is guaranteed to turn a few heads.
Dan Pugh
Marketing manager

18 Jan 2019 • 7 min read

Buying a car with four rather than two doors shouldn’t mean having to say goodbye to a little driving fun now and then. And for those mums and dads looking for a family taxi with some punch, I have good news. 

For my weekend test I drove the 2019 Kia Stinger GT. It's the kind of four-door performance machine that might just make you reconsider that sensible SUV.

Priced at $59,990, the Stinger GT is the flagship of the six variants on offer and comes with a long list of standard kit, including an electric sunroof (not panoramic), auto-dimming side mirrors, colour head-up display, alloy sports pedals, Qi wireless phone charging, plus faux-suede headliner and pillar trim. 

So, how will the sports sedan handle taxiing myself and the kids around suburbia? We had the weekend to find out. 

Saturday

The schedule for the day involved dropping off my daughters for their all-day dance practice followed by taking my son and his friend for a day out.

As four-door performance cars go, the Stinger GT is definitely one of the best-looking options. It has plenty of street presence, with a sleek side profile and an aggressive front stance. The front spoiler, side skirts, rear spoiler and rear diffuser are well integrated, and all add to the car's performance cred. 

  • As four-door performance cars go, the GT is definitely one of the best-looking options, with its sleek side profile. As four-door performance cars go, the GT is definitely one of the best-looking options, with its sleek side profile.
  • It has plenty of street presence, with an aggressive front stance. It has plenty of street presence, with an aggressive front stance.
  • The rear spoiler and rear diffuser are well integrated, adding to the car's performance cred. The rear spoiler and rear diffuser are well integrated, adding to the car's performance cred.

This car makes a good first impression and is guaranteed to turn a few heads. Those in any doubt of this car’s performance potential need look no further than the menacing-looking chrome-coated quad exhaust pipes adorning the rear. I know it’s been around a while now, but it's still hard to believe this is a Kia.

Upon entering the cabin we are greeted by a significant amount of red Nappa leather covering the seats and much of the interior panels. It complements the grey metallic exterior well to convey a surprisingly premium feel. The dash design and layout is a far cry from the Kia’s of old, with a decent amount of attractive-looking materials and finishes on display. 

The driver's seat is positioned low and provides a snug fit thanks to the powered bolster and thigh support adjustment. Combined with the electric steering wheel adjustment, I was able to quickly find my ideal driving position. The front passenger seat gets electric adjustment, too, and both front seats have heating and ventilation. 

  • There is a significant amount of red Nappa leather covering the seats and much of the interior panels. There is a significant amount of red Nappa leather covering the seats and much of the interior panels.
  • The driver's seat is positioned low and provides a snug fit and both front seats have heating and ventilation. The driver's seat is positioned low and provides a snug fit and both front seats have heating and ventilation.
  • There’s ample room and comfort for the kids in the backseat. There’s ample room and comfort for the kids in the backseat.

There’s ample room and comfort for the kids in the backseat, with two cupholders in the pull-down centre armrest, as well air vents and bottle holders in the doors. Head room for taller adults is slightly compromised by the sloping rear roof line, whereas legroom is reasonable and I was comfortably able to sit behind my driving positioning (I'm 180cm). You’d fit three kids across the back without too much hassle, but not three adults.

On the trip to drop off my daughters, my son hooked up the smartphone via the 8.0-inch touchscreen. And soon the fight was on to decide the driving music to blast through the 15-speaker harman/kardon audio system. It’s worth noting the touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and there is built-in nav with free updates for 10 years.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The 8.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

The GT seemed perfectly at ease playing the role of taxi around the suburbs in comfort mode, and as sports sedans go, it makes for a decent daily driver. This is largely care of the adaptive dampeners (standard on the GT), which did a better than expected job of keeping us all comfortable regardless of the road condition. Equally, the acceleration in comfort mode was ample to get out of tight traffic snags.  
 
Parking the Stinger on the street or at the local shopping centre was easy, care of the 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors and decent visibility from the driver's position.  

Sunday

A relatively easy day, with Stinger only called on for light duties like shopping and a trip to the park. Importantly, this gave me the morning to drive the GT on my own.   

Up front, the GT has a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine producing 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque, matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission directing power to the rear wheels. Of the Stinger engine family, this one is the star, and so rightfully accounts for 96 per cent of vehicles sold. The 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds certainly grabs attention. 

The GT has a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine producing 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque. The GT has a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine producing 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque.

It’s not so much the acceleration but the way it achieves it. In Sports mode from a standing start, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres grab the road hard and the turbochargers kick in early, blasting the car forward at break-neck speed. All of which is soundtracked by the booming bi-modal exhaust (a $2500 option). The steering has a good weight to it and provides plenty of confidence, offering great feel around bends. 

There’s a decent amount of storage throughout the cabin, with a pair of cupholders between the front seats, bottle holders in all four doors, a covered central storage bin, and space for your phone in front of the gear selector. The elephant in the room is the Stinger’s small boot capacity of just 406 litres and it's lack of useable space thanks to that sloping roof line. Not great for carrying kids' bikes or scooters.

  • There’s a decent amount of storage throughout the cabin with bottle holders in all four doors. There’s a decent amount of storage throughout the cabin with bottle holders in all four doors.
  • The Stinger’s small boot capacity is just 406 litres. The Stinger’s small boot capacity is just 406 litres.

The five-star ANCAP rated GT comes armed with a long list of safety kit, including auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, driver attention alert, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, and seven airbags (dual front, front-side, full length curtain and driver’s knee). 

Added to this is blind-spot monitoring, as well as rear cross-traffic alert and auto high-beam headlights. For parents, there are dual ISOFIX attachments for the rear window seats, and three top-tether hooks.

Over the weekend we covered around 420km of suburban and city driving, swapping between Comfort and Sport modes with a little spirited acceleration at times. The trip computer displayed a fuel-consumption reading of 10.3 litres / 100km, almost spot-on Kia’s claimed combined consumption of 10.2 litres /100km. Its smallish 60-litre tank may have you returning to the bowser more often than expected though. 


The Wrap

Kia deserves high praise for the Stinger GT. They have produced a real head-turner that will happily play the role of family taxi, and, when prodded, deliver true grin-inducing sports car thrills and performance. 

The GT might be the priciest, but it’s also the pick of the bunch with a long list of standard tech and safety equipment to keep you safe and entertained. Worth a look.

Would this sporty sedan work for your family? Tell us in the comments below. 

 

Likes

Acceleration
Can be a daily driver
Street appeal

Dislikes

Small boot
Sports exhaust optional
Giving it back

Scores

Dan:

4.5

The Kids:

$60,490

Based on new car retail price

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