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Confirmed! All 2018 Kia Stingers in Australia offer manual over-ride of the transmission

Practical Motoring has had it confirmed today that all 2018 model-year Kia Stingers offer manual over-ride of the transmission when in Sport Mode and with ESC switched off.

LAST WEEK, Practical Motoring ran an article confirming that all MY19 Stingers sold in Europe (arriving in August) would feature an updated transmission calibration that allowed for manual over-ride of the automatic transmission. This ‘fix’ was announced by Kia in Europe in response to owners and journalists complaining the transmission when in Sport Mode and the gears being shifted via the paddles would automatically upshift before red line.

At that time, Kia Australia wasn’t aware of when or if that calibration would be available in Australia. Practical Motoring had previously, and recently, tested a 2018 model-year Stinger and driven it in Sport Mode and shifted gears using the flappy paddles. The result was the transmission would automatically upshift when approaching the red line. However, it turns out we were missing one little thing.

See, Kia Australia confirmed to Practical Motoring this morning that all 2018 model-year Stingers sold in Australia already feature the manual over-ride functionality but, as well as being in Sport Mode you also need to have switched off ESC. Kia hasn’t publicised this Easter Egg, partly because you can imagine it doesn’t want people driving around town in Sport Mode with ESC off and we can’t blame them.

Rather, this capability is intended for track use only. So, rest assured, all 2018 Kia Stingers sold in Australia already feature the manual over-ride. It pays to ask a question several times. See, I’ve looked back through the press kit many times and couldn’t find any mention of this feature.

Does this manual over-ride make the Stinger a better car? Nope. But it does make it the same as most performance-oriented vehicles with driving modes and flappy paddles. So, is it a good thing? If you’re planning on track driving your Stinger, yes, probably. Anything to be mindful of? Yes, just because the Stinger will now sit there and bounce off the rev limiter doesn’t mean you should let it; the best way to drive quickly on a track, or anywhere, is to upshift before you hit the redline.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober