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Kia Stinger – surprise package saloon from Korea on long-term test

Kia Stinger – surprise package saloon from Korea on long-term test

Kia Stinger – surprise package saloon from Korea on long-term test

The way that Kia has evolved in recent years means that a large, well-appointed saloon has every chance of cutting it against the predominantly German opposition. Here's how it's shaping up.

Our car: Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDI GT-Line S List price when new: £36,470 OTR Price as tested: £36,470 Official fuel economy: 35.8mpg (EU Combined)

Fuel economy this week: 33.7mpg

OK, so it's not the fire-breathing, twin-turbocharged V6 version of the Stinger which has been worrying some of the established performance saloons; rather our most recent long-term test car is the four-cylinder, 2.0-litre single turbo version. 

Where the V6 version lures with angry performance and a zest for fast driving, this is a more subdued affair – although it still delivers a not insignificant 244bhpat 6,200rpm and a useful 260lb ft of torque between a lowly 1,400rpm and 3,500rpm.

For the record, the top speed is 149mph, with 0-62mph acceleration in 5.8 seconds.

Our first impressions are of a well-proportioned saloon with sleek good looks. You might call it generic, but it certainly attracts some attention - one gent even thought it was a BMW until he got close enough to red the badges. He was not alone and I have received several other compliments, and you can't help but notice people sneaking admiring glances as you drive. 

Inside the Stinger is spacious, especially for rear-seat passengers, but then at 4.8 metres in length it's quite a big car so that's to be expected.

What newcomers to Kia might not be expecting is the overall level of fit and finish inside, not to mention the comprehensive level of equipment that comes as standard.

More of that later, as the list of extensive is so that that it's tedious, but for now the Stinger is proving to be very comfortable. I would like to think that's thanks to the selectable drive modes (Comfort being the obvious default) although as with many of these driver-selectable settings there doesn't appear to be a lot of difference between them.

Gripes so far are minor: the hello/goodbye chime is quite cheery but soon becomes wearing. I wonder if there's a way of switching it off.

Also, the mirror-folding switch is incredibly sensitive. And, since it is located at the front of the door-mounted switch panel, it's incredibly easy to fold the mirrors merely by brushing the switch as you pull the door closed.

First-world problems, eh?

The Stinger also feels quite heavy, particularly in urban use. Not as bad as ponderous, but the 2,185kg gross vehicle weight makes itself felt during acceleration and brisk cornering. On the plus side, in theory that weight should make it a great cruiser. Time will tell.

The good news? Note the overall economy figure, which is as dear as dammit a match for this car's official EU Combined fuel consumption. That was recorded on a late-night run back from Goodwood, with little traffic and at sensible A-road speeds, then cruising back to London on the A3.

However, once settled into my regular congested commute, the economy has plummeted - on one occasion showing only 17.7mpg. But in fairness to the Kia any car is at its most efficient when moving at cruising speed, rather than in stop-start traffic.

A short trip to France this weekend will show its motorway mettle, but already there's enough substance to prove that Kia has moved well beyond the budget hatchback territory in which it made its name.


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