There was a time when this writer would not be caught dead driving a Kia. These days, the Korean brand is a far cry from what it was a few years ago. Gone are the days when producing cheap, boxy and weird looking cars were the norm.
Thanks to a corporate repositioning most especially in terms of design, with the likes of Peter Schreyer and Gregory Guillaume at the helm, the design and quality of the Kia fleet of vehicles from cars to SUV’s have dramatically changed. Looking at this week’s road test unit will attest to Kia’s global plans in the next couple of years. This sports sedan represents a significant step forward for the Korean manufacturer.
Not only does the Kia Stinger looks stunning, it drives heavenly too. It is a motoring enthusiasts wet dream. Pardon my French, but this writer experienced a sensual reawakening behind the wheel of the Stinger. It has an aggressive, yet graceful design cues that stands out like a K-Pop star in a crowd. What is even better, the car performed on a level way above my expectations. It no longer feels Korean, it feels European.
A quick walkaround would reveal that the Stinger is about the same size as the Optima sedan but is lower, sleeker and a tad more powerful. The test unit delivered to my doorstep by the boys from Kia PH was the top spec GT Trim which had a potent turbocharged 3.3 liter 365 bhp V6 bolted underneath the hood. It rides on a 19-inch wheel set up, Brembo brakes, adaptive suspension dampers, a launch control system, variable steering ratios, aluminum pedals, scuff plates, a flat bottom steering wheel, rounded off by a nine-speaker Harmann Kardon audio system. Need I mention the neck-breaking acceleration of this sports sedan when you put the drive the mode to sport?
This writer also like the dash layout and the seven inch centrally mounted touchscreen with Apple CarPlay-Android Auto capable audio system. Although I admire the swathes of leather around the interior, it is a downside for a tropical country like ours whose noontime temperature hits the high 38’s sometimes. Leave it parked under the sun and you’ll get my point.
The Kia Stinger is drawing the line on the sand against its competitors from Bavaria and Stuttgart. It is sending a strong message to Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz, even the likes of the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro that they have a fight in their hands. Although traditional buyers might tend to look the other way because of the badge which still lacks the prestige, all I can say is this, it is your loss gentlemen. The Stinger is not just a good Kia, it is better to anything in comparison or any sports sedan well above its price range. A note to ponder on, the Stinger was developed and tuned at the infamous Nurburgring. Now go and buy yourself a Kia!