KIA STINGER 200S IN A NUTSHELL: Despite all the noise you hear about Stinger’s powerful twin-turbo V6, this four-cylinder doesn’t exactly fall short of offering an engaging driving experience. But while it’s the most affordable Stinger in the lineup, the V6 isn’t much more money, and probably the better choice for those who appreciate what this car is really about.

What is the Kia Stinger?

Kia made a splash when it first launched the Stinger back in 2017. It came at a time when the locally-made Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon were on the way out, seemingly arriving at the opportune moment.

Unfortunately for Kia that hasn’t translated into the kind of sales they had hoped for, but the Stinger (both V6 and four-pot) do steady numbers each month and add a halo to the brand. It seems the Stinger, like the Commodore and Falcon before it, is the right car at the wrong time. Sedans are simply not as popular as SUVs.

But it’s a shame because the Stinger is a very nice car in so many respects and the four-cylinder, in particular, is overlooked.

What does the Kia Stinger 200S cost and what do you get?

Kia Australia recently tweaked the local line-up, ditching the Si trim level to simplify its structure – leaving the base 200S and the high-grade GT-Line. We’re driving the base model, which is priced from $47,190 plus on-road costs.

It comes generously equipped for what is the entry-point to the range, with 18-inch alloy wheels, auto headlights, LED daytime running lights, active cruise control, sports seats, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and dual-zone climate control air-conditioning. 

What’s the Kia Stinger 200S interior like?

One of the most impressive aspects of the Stinger, aside from its performance and layout, was its design. It has aged well in the cabin (infotainment system notwithstanding, but more on that later) thanks to the elegant simplicity of it.

The thick-rimmed steering wheel, the three round air vents in the centre of the dashboard and the horizontal layout of the key switchgear have all stood the test of time.

The materials are what you expect from a Kia, good quality without feeling premium, and dark grey dominates the colour palate; aside from a few well-placed metallic highlights.

Small-item storage is good throughout the cabin, with a variety of handy bins to pop your odds and ends.

How much space is there in the Kia Stinger 200S?

The Stinger is as much a family sedan as it is a sports saloon, so it boasts large car room inside.

Those in the front are well catered for with sports seats, which could do with a bit more lateral support but are otherwise very comfortable.

The back seat is a slightly different story, there’s respectable knee and toe room thanks to the long wheelbase but the swooping, fastback roofline does compromise headroom for adults slightly. 

The plus side of the fastback bodystyle is the 406-litre boot is easy to access and load large items, and it can expand to 1114-litres when you fold the rear seats down.

What’s the Kia Stinger 200S infotainment like?

Unfortunately for the Stinger, it’s infotainment system has now been superseded and once you’ve experienced the bigger, faster system it’s hard to look at this older generation. It still does the basics well, there’s nothing significantly wrong with it, but the 7-inch screen looks small after you’ve seen the new 10-inch widescreen display in the new Seltos SUV.

Having said that it still comes with a respectable six-speaker sound system, navigation, Bluetooth, digital radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay all standard.

What’s the Kia Stinger 200S engine like?

It’s only natural the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine has been overlooked compared to its twin-turbo V6 big brother. Doubtless, it lacks outright punch, but the 2.0-litre turbo does an admirable job of providing smooth, effortless performance in a large car.

Paired to the eight-speed automatic transmission it pulls strongly off-the-mark and shifts smoothly through the mid-range. It ultimately runs out of puff, whereas the V6 will keep pulling, but if you keep the turbo on the boil the 200S certainly feels sprightly. 

Kia offers the Drive Mode system as standard, it allows you to switch between Comfort, Sport, Smart, Eco and Custom modes for different engine and transmission response as well as engine noise. It’s a nice gimmick but it doesn’t dramatically change the character of the four pot. 

As you’d expect the four-cylinder uses less unleaded than the bent-six, a claimed 8.8-litres per 100km according to Kia. That compares to 10.2L/100km for the V6, which is a sizeable jump, relatively speaking, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker if you’re cross-shopping the two engines.

The biggest catch for the 200S is still (as it has been from the start) the relatively small $3000 price gap between it and the V6. If you’re going to spend nearly $50k on a large sedan these days, chances are you want the fastest, sportiest one you can get.

What’s the Kia Stinger 200S like to drive?

Kia was clearly focused on driving engagement when it designed the Stinger in a bid to change its image and attract a new type of buyer. After two years on sale, while it clearly hasn’t had the kind of widespread appeal that the Commodore and Falcon enjoyed, it has attracted a band of enthusiasts who appreciate what it offers up.

Rear-wheel drive intrinsically provides more feel for the driver but it still has to be executed properly and that’s what the South Korean company has done. It’s not as polished as a European offering (such as the new BMW 3-Series) or the new home-grown Genesis G70, but it fills a niche with some panache. The steering is accurate and the chassis is responsive, which are confidence-inspiring for the driver.

Like all models sold here, Kia Australia carried out a ride and handling optimization program for the Stinger to ensure it was better suited to our unique road conditions.

Unlike the GT-Line which has an adaptive damper set-up the 200S rides on a passive system, but it’s well-suited to local conditions. It has excellent body control for a large car while the suspension soaks up bigger bumps in the road with composure. It doesn’t handle smaller imperfections quite as well, feeling fussy at times.

How safe is the Kia Stinger 200S?

Standard equipment includes airbag protection for all outboard seats plus the usual acronyms – ESC and ABS – as well as a reversing camera and rear parking camera.

Autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning and lane-keeping assist are also included. However, as the entry-grade model, there are some safety features the GT-Line gets including blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

What are the Kia Stinger 200S alternatives?

In terms of large sedans the new imported Holden Commodore stacks up well on paper. In fact, you can get the 3.6-litre V6-powered, all-wheel drive RS-V Commodore for $46,990 (undercutting the Stinger). The Skoda Superb 206 TSI 4×4 starts at $51,790 isn’t quite as sporty but it is bigger and more sophisticated in many respects.

Genesis G70

If you really want rear-wheel drive then you might have to make the jump into premium territory. The Alfa Romeo Giulia starts at $60,900, BMW 320i at $64,900 and the Mercedes-Benz C200 at $64,500.

New on the block is Hyundai’s Genesis brand, which has introduced the G70 with the option of a four- or six-cylinder engine and priced from $59,000 plus on-road costs. That’s worth a look.

2019 Kia Stinger 200S pricing and specs

Price From $47,190 plus ORCs Warranty 7 years/unlimited km Engine 2.0L turbo petrol Power 182kW at 6200rpm Torque 353Nm at 1400-4000rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive rear-wheel-drive Body 4830mm (l); 1870mm (w); 1400mm (h) Kerb weight 1693kg Seats 5 Thirst 8.8L/100km Fuel tank 60-litres Spare Space saver

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