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Kia Stinger — long term review
A fabulous halo car for Kia
Each time I walked up to the Kia, or parked and glanced back, a little swoon ran down my insides. It’s a fabulous-looking thing, so much the better for the absence of pretence in the nameplate. At red lights, folk would knock on the window: “That’s a Kia? Wow mate, lovely.”
Kia people are careful not to call it a sports car. I wish other makers of 1,900kg four-doors were as transparent. If it tried to be scalpel-sharp, that’d undermine its appetite, and yours, for long distances. But it will wink and join you for some fun when the road allows. It’s properly powerful and clearly – very clearly – rear-driven, yet the way it communicates the grip and traction is really special. So I wasn’t intimidated driving it the length of the winter on summer tyres.
In summer itself, I did a lovely roadtrip to Alsace, drinking in Eastern France’s quiet hill roads. But there were several late-night and early morning schleps along our own motorways, and then I was just grateful for the running refinement, the bright headlamps, subtle lane-support system, heated steering wheel, electric vented seats, HUD, and simple-to-use infotainment. Provision of that boring stuff is part of the modern GT job description, and it’s all standard here.
When I first saw the size of it, I did wonder if it’d be a pain around the tight streets of my neighbourhood. It’s long, even taking into account the big boot. But no, the all-round camera system is among the best anywhere, so I could make use of every available inch of parking space or width restrictor.
Nothing went wrong, not any little tiny thing, but that’s not wholly uncommon. The absence of designed-in irritations or foibles (excess weight aside) is far rarer, and to be cherished.
For a first try against some attractive global opposition, the Stinger turns out to be an amazing effort, and a fab halo car for Kia. As for me, this is the most over-delivering long-term test car of all the dozens I’ve run. I liked it at the beginning, absolutely adored it by the end.