Kia's new V6 likely to sting premium car rivals.
Byline: ROBIN ROBERTS firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Kia Stinger 3.3 V6 is going to lift eye-brows and expectations for the Korean brand.
Its PS40,000-plus price is expensive for those used to its stablemates, while its styling, performance and refinement will have drivers of rival German brands thinking why couldn't they save money and move into this newcomer.
With input from former Audi and BMW leading engineers perhaps we shouldn't be surprised the Stinger is so good in many ways.
Not only is it stylish, well engineered and built but it also comes with an excellent seven-year transferable warranty and, in a market where residuals reign, it can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best.
Standard equipment on the range-topping Stinger includes LED beams, Brembo brakes, nappa leather, heated and ventilated front seats, head up display, eight-inch infotainment screen, wifi and Apple CarPlay with sat nav and advanced handling and braking controls.
After a brief flirtation with the flagship model in the Stinger range in February, we were keen to drive it for longer and we noticed the economy improved from our initial 25.8mpg to 27mpg as more miles were put on the clock.
The very sophisticated, smooth and willing 24v V6 3.3-litre petrol engine packs a useful 365bhp and while it can sound thrashy at high revs if you hold down the gears, given its head and the creamy eight-speed automatic gearchanges and it is far more composed and content.
It is a motorway cruiser at heart, swallowing five people without complaint and taking a big load of luggage as well.
We didn't find it cramped but we did notice the poor visibility without rear wash/ wipe or when pulling out or reversing and the standard sensors and camera are essentials you rely on.
Access is good to boot and cabin, the seats big and well shaped with good adjustment and they are leather covered, heated and chilled for the two in front.
The driver has a brilliant instruments and infotainment display but must learn to master the multitude of switches which are not always conveniently set out.
Steering was a little lifeless but the powerful Brembo brakes reassuringly slowed the 1.85 tonnes car and the gearbox as silky even if you decided to play with the paddle shifts on the column and explored the dynamic settings.
It was a big car and felt like that on the road at times. Road holding was good thanks to the sophisticated suspension and big tyres, but it did not feel as responsive as it might given the power available to enjoy.
The big tyres did pick up a lot of road rumbles although the suspension smoothed out the bumps and with little wind or mechanical noise when cruising the drumming underneath stood out as a result.
There is no doubt that the Kia Stinger 3.3 V6 is a big advance for the Korean brand and also a serious threat to more established premium brands which it can match and in some areas exceed with refinement.
> Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDI V6 GTS