The continuing popularity of high-riding SUVs has killed off all but one of this type of car, and this one might not be around for long.
Affordable rear-wheel-drive large sedans dominated Australia a generation ago. We’re now down to a cast of one: the Kia Stinger. Here are five things to know about the four-cylinder GT-Line version.
The Stinger’s probably doomed and it’s all your fault
Rumors swirl that production will cease as soon as this year. Kia hasn’t confirmed its demise, but with its focus squarely on electrification, the new EV6 electric grand tourer is an obvious successor. Strong selling models rarely get cancelled, so if the Stinger dies, it’s our own fault – we’ve been hypnotized by SUVs.
This Stinger helps you keep your license
The GT-Line’s 182kW/353Nm turbo four-cylinder means it’s no slouch, but the revhead in you will wish you’d gone for the 330S or GT with stonking 274kW/510Nm twin-turbo V6. The latter’s a heavy-drinking, bimodal exhaust-popping performance weapon that rips its way to 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds. The GT-Line takes about a second longer and lacks the V6’s aural theatre, but sling it into Sport mode and the four-cylinder is plenty responsive with decent low down torque. It also won’t sting you (pardon the pun) at the servo.
It has a proper grand tourer interior
GT cars need that laid back luxury for cross-country odysseys. The Stinger GT-Line nails it with power heated and vented leather seats, smart cruise control, a flat-bottomed perforated leather heated steering wheel, color head-up display, 10.25-inch touchscreen, Harman/Kardon audio, 64-colour ambient lighting and wireless phone charging. There’s oodles of safety kit too. You sit low in the cabin, which has decent space, abundant leathery touchpoints, aluminum trim and spoked circular air vents. Extrovert red leather trim’s a no-cost option. There’s ample rear space for the kids if they must come along and while the boot’s awkwardly shaped, most suitcases will fit in the 406-liter space.
SUVs simply don’t drive or look this good
The lure of the SUV is strong, but give the Stinger a chance. It’s a proper driver’s car: close-to-the-ground, superbly balanced and equipped with a limited slip differential and grippy Continental tires that deliver grin-inducing cornering speeds. It may not be SUV-supple over bumps but on smooth highways it purrs along with barely a peep in the cabin. Your SUV-owning neighbors will envy your lifestyle choice. The Stinger’s imposing and strikingly styled with an aggressive face, bonnet vents (albeit fake ones), fat rear arches, a rear strip light and quad exhausts. You feel quite the playboy hopping inside.
Life’s short: buy the V6, not this one
The GT-Line brims with features and luxury and probably offers all the performance you’d ever need. But you only live once. It’s $63,090 drive away – solid value – but for $69,890 you’re in the mad dog twin-turbo V6 GT. Hide your sensitive hat and buy it. Performance petrol engines without electrification are an endangered species and we’ll miss them when they’re gone. The GT drinks more (10.2L/100km vs 8.8L/100km) but it needs only regular unleaded so you’ll not end up in the poor house. In the GT your grand touring’s enhanced with Nappa leather, electronic control suspension, massive Brembo brakes and better tires. Add the performance boost, better noise and acceleration and it shines as the real midlife crisis family car.