Kia Stinger review 2019

Find out more about the Kia Stinger in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Handsome design
  • Drives well
  • Generous level of standard equipment


  • Expensive running costs
  • Boot space not on par with rivals
  • Limited choice of engines and trim levels
Model review

Inspired by the Kia GT Concept which debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, the Stinger is a sleek executive five-door fastback produced by South Korean manufacturer Kia. It began production in 2017 so the saloon is relatively new to the scene, especially considering most class leaders have been around for much longer.

It’s slightly different to your run-of-the-mill Kia – the Stinger is a sporty model available in rear-wheel-drive, for example. In addition, it’s been set up by ex-BMW M Division chief Albert Biermann, meaning the car’s got some proper sporting credentials. There’s even a 365bhp performance version, while all models come with a Limited Slip Differential (LSD).

It’s more upmarket than the brand’s more mainstream models, with a considerable amount of premium feel throughout. As one of its flagship vehicles, Kia has noticeably gone the extra mile to add style, luxury and sportiness wherever it can.

Current model

As the Stinger is fairly new to the car market, we’re still in the first generation and, as of this being written, there have been no major facelifts of the vehicle – as would be expected in such a short time span.

However, there’s still much to talk about. First of all, there’s the Stinger’s focus, which is on being a sporty grand tourer. It’s not necessarily the fastest or the most luxurious saloon in existence but it’s definitely impressive considering the fairly reasonable price tag for the class.

Despite not necessarily excelling in every department, the Stinger is a great way for Kia to prove it can make a premium feeling, good-looking and fast five-door executive car in a segment dominated by tried and tested German competition. 

The benefit of going for the Stinger over, say, an Audi A5 Sportback, is that for the same amount of money, you can pick up a higher specification model. Sure, it might not be as polished and sophisticated, but there’s still plenty on offer and a lot to like.

Out on the road, the car lives up to its promising credentials, which is to say it performs well. However, for the best driving experience, you’ll have to go for the GT S model. This variant is powered by a sprightly 3.3-litre bi-turbo V6 and provides proper sports saloon power – 365bhp to be exact. It may not be as lairy as a BMW M3 or as raucously rapid as a Mercedes-AMG C 63, but the Stinger holds its own by providing both comfort when you want it and an entertaining drive upon request. 


Value for money

Prices for new Stingers start at £32,475, which is, on first thought, quite steep considering its mainstream badge. Look past the Kia marque, however, and you’ll find the stylish fastback is pretty well-priced when compared with its competitors, such as the £34,70 Audi A5 Sportback and £33,915 Jaguar XE.


The used market unfortunately isn’t home to massive bargains when it comes to the Stinger – keep in mind models can only be couple of years old at the most. That said, the cheapest finds start at around £23,000, which isn’t bad at all for such a car. Pretty much all examples are in good condition and have seriously low amounts of miles-on-the-clock too.


Looks and image

It’s no secret that the Stinger is a good-looking model – not just in terms of the Kia line-up, but the segment in general. Some may disagree, but we believe the majority of people will like its sleek silhouette, sharp front fascia and muscular stance. It’s definitely got a presence out on the road.

However, when it comes to image, we do have to address the elephant in the room – the Kia badge. For badge-conscious Brits, the fact it’s not been made by a premium name will be enough to put them off, even though the Kia name is currently held in the highest regard in its history. Look past this though, and you won’t regret it.

Video review

Space and practicality

The Stinger is a rather hefty saloon, meaning there’s plenty of passenger room. Even in the rear, where one may assume the sloping roofline might cut into headroom, space is in fact quite generous. If you’re really tall, you may struggle a tad, but overall room is plenty for a car like this – it’s very easy to get comfortable.

As well as this, there are plenty of handy cubby holes dotted around the cabin, so there’s also a lot of space for any small belongings you want to store.

Boot space, on the other hand, isn’t as plentiful. At 406 litres, it’s a bit behind compared with what the rest of the class is offering. For instance, the A5 Sportback has a significantly larger 480-litre boot. Although the Stinger does earn points back for it’s helpful hatchback tailgate, which makes loading items that bit easier.



There are currently three engines on offer – two petrol and one diesel. Starting with the smaller petrol option; it’s a surprisingly quick 244bhp 2.0-litre that’s offered with both GT-Line and GT-Line S trims. Then the other one is, of course, the 365bhp 3.3-litre bi-turbo V6 found in the top-of-the-range GT S trim.

The diesel, on the other hand, is still a good choice. It’s a 197bhp 2.2-litre that’s great for regularly doing a lot of motorway miles and getting better running costs. Really, there’s no bad choice when it comes to the Stinger’s engine range. Sure, it’s a bit limited, but there’s enough variety to cater for different people’s needs.


Running costs

Because of the rather powerful nature of the Stinger’s engine range, running costs aren’t particularly cheap. The best unit to go for if you want to keep costs low is the 2.2-litre diesel, which Kia claims will achieve a decent 48.7mpg on the combined cycle.

Meanwhile, the petrol options aren’t as fuel efficient. The 2.0-litre is pegged at 33.6mpg, while the 3.3-litre in the GT S gets 29.4mpg on average. These figures are by no means terrible and there are definitely worse cars out there – especially in the performance field – but there are class leaders that’ll be cheaper to run.

Things to look out for

Kia’s are generally reliable cars, which can be seen in various reliability surveys in which the brand has scored highly. Furthermore, the manufacturer offers a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, so buyers can take comfort in that if something does go wrong, it won’t break the bank.

Although, in terms of the Stinger itself, it’s a little hard to tell if the car will be reliable in the long term because of its currently short lifespan. 



There’s no shortage of Stinger competitors out there. Established rivals like the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe give the Kia a tough time. Other cars in the segment like the Peugeot 508 and Ford Mondeo also act as cheaper alternatives. Fortunately, the Stinger sits about in the middle of the executive saloon class when it comes to price, so it can convincingly make a case for itself.   



Depreciation is another thing which is difficult to calculate when the car’s only been in production for a few years. In those few years, however, the Stinger has fared about average, if not a bit below its competitors. It’s quite a desirable, handsome car, though the Kia badge probably isn’t doing it any favours when it comes to retaining value.

Trims explained

The Kia Stinger comes in three trim levels – GT-Line, GT-Line S and GT S.


GT-Line starts at £32,475 and comes with things like 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, smart cruise control and an eight-inch infotainment system.

From £32,475.

GT-Line S

Step up to the £35,975 GT-Line S, and that includes items such as a smart power tailgate, wireless phone charger, wide sunroof (electric one-touch with safety function), LED headlamps with dynamic cornering function and a 15-speaker Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System.

From £35,975.


The top-of-the-range GT S, which is priced from £40,575, has 19-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, Nappa Premium leather upholstery and a driver’s seat two-way side bolster support adjustment.

From £40,575.


  1. The Kia Stinger is a great addition to the segment
  2. It’s reasonably priced, with new models starting at £32,475
  3. Used models start at circa £23,000
  4. Good selection of engines, if not a tad limited
  5. Running costs aren’t amazing
  6. Cabin space is nice, although boot room is behind rivals
  7. Its brooding looks are complemented by a good driving experience
  8. Generous amount of kit offered as standard across all trim levels
  9. Not that many trims to choose from
  10. Tough competition from other saloons

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