What is it?
Kia reshuffled the Stinger cards in mid 2019.
Australia now has a choice of a 2.0-litre 200S and GT, and the spunky, V6-engined 330S and GT-Line.
There’s also a limited run Carbon Edition based on the V6.
What’s it cost?
Recommended retail for the 200S is $47,190 plus onroads, or $50,490 driveaway if you live in Sydney.
That’s a lot of coin to ask for a large sedan with a turboed four potter for motorvation.
Holden’s Calais is $45K driveaway at the time of writing — also with a 2.0-litre turbo four.
The 200S comes with a decent equipment list as standard though.
A 7.0-inch touchscreen, down from the 8.0-inch found elsewhere, houses DAB audio, satnav, and visual graphics for the selectable drive modes.
Smartphone apps are standard, as is Bluetooth streaming for playback via the six (not 15) speaker system.
Seats aren’t cloth covered, and the front pews are powered.
Climate control aircon covers the fact there’s no heating or venting for the front seats.
The driver’s display is a simple monochrome display that bisects two analogue dials, showing its budget-orientation.
Outside our test vehicle was finished in Silky Silver that highlights the slinky lines of the Stinger.
Kia should be proud that they got the looks so right the first time.
However there is a front end change for the 200S.
The headlights aren’t the side-by-side LEDs, instead it’s a single globe setup inside the same housing.
It gives the 200S a somewhat droopy-eyed look.
Rubber is from Continental and the slightly down-market look alloys are 18 inches with the 225/45 ContiSport tyres.
Safety isn’t skimped upon.
If you can’t live without front parking sensors, then perhaps the 200S Stinger isn’t for you, as they’re not fitted here.
Otherwise you do get Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS) and Lane Keep Assist, plus pedestrian oriented Active Hood Lift Assist on board.
However you don’t get Rear Cross Traffic Alert or Blind Spot Detection.
That’s why cars have wing mirrors and a rear vision mirror — and a rear view camera nowadays.
What’s it go like?
Maximum power from the turbocharged four is 182kW, but it needs to rev to get those numbers, with peak power arriving at 6200rpm.
Peak twist is easier to find between 1400 and 4000rpm.
Although there’s 353 torques, as Clarkson calls them, there is also the matter of over 1800kg to overcome.
It means initial acceleration isn’t as el rapido as might be expected.
Once the turbo spins up, it then has to get that mass moving — that’s the hard bit.
Once underway it’s fine though.
Throttle response is quick thanks to the fly-by-wire system.
Rolling acceleration isn’t spectacular, but neither is it slow.
There’s not a lot of noise either, with a dull drone from the engine and not much else from the quad-tipped exhausts.
Steering tends to the heavy side, even allowing for the drive modes — Sport, Eco and Smart.
That’s not a bad thing as some cars go too far when it comes to assistance and a tissue paper’s sneeze can affect direction.
It also means that turns and curves and lane changing require a bit more muscle.
That’s the hidden delight of the Stinger.
When it’s alive it really is a driver’s car, not merely an appliance for transport.
That alive bit . . . it needs to warm up as the 8-speed auto is uncomfortable with being woken from an overnight slumber.
It simply didn’t to show any smooth manners before it’s fully awake and warmed up.
Changes were jerky, indecisive, and very unhappy. Warmed up and happier after a coffee, it then showed the manners expected of a slick, well sorted, auto.
The long body, with nods towards Italy and England, has the driver placed roughly amidships.
This provides a sense of balance in the handling, with predictable movements front and rear.
It’s that seat of the pants feedback that tells the driver that it can be a driver’s car.
Get out and go highway driving and it’s a superbly sorted Grand Tourer.
It’s relaxed, unstressed, and ideal for eating up big distances.
What’s not easy to find is good urban fuel economy.
Kia quotes a frightening 12.7 litres of gogas for every 100km covered in the urban jungle.
It’s the kind of number that has owners of V8s going “duuuuuuude”.
Get it on the highway and a more friendly 6.5L/100km is possible from the 60-litre tank.
Our final figure was 9.3L/100km on an approximately 60/40 urban/highway split.
That’s within cuddling distance of Kia’s claimed 8.8L/100km.
What we like?
- It’s Kia flipping its middle finger at sedan and brand detractors
- Once warmed up, it’s a proper sporting car and Grand Tourer
- Base model still well equipped
What we don’t like?
- Dollar factor for an entry level car
- Urban economy figure is its weakspot
- Uncertain manners when driving from a cold start
The bottom line?
Although not without its faults, the Kia Stinger 200S is still an enjoyable enough drive to consider.
Weighing against it is weight and price. The V6 is the enthusiast’s car, the 200S for those that like a big sedan — but aren’t driving oriented.
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Kia Stinger 200S, priced from $47,190