Paul Horrell continues his test of the Kia Stinger with some thoughts on its long-distance driving comfort, fuel economy and active safety.
What are we testing? The 2018 Kia Stinger GTS (UK)
Who’s running it? Paul Horrell
Why are we testing it? To find out how a Korean performance saloon goes down in the home of European performance saloons.
What does it needs to do? Here in London England, the roads are clogged with premium German metal, with a smattering of Jags and Alfa Giuliettas too. Can a Kia hold its head up – both in driver appeal on quick European roads, and in the public vote? Oh and how much of a pain in the wallet is a 3.3-litre V6 car weighing 1855kg, in the land of the AUS$2.70 litre of unleaded.
2018 Kia Stinger GTS Specifications (UK)
Price $59,990+ORC Warranty seven years, unlimited kilometres Safety Five Star ANCAP Engine 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol Power 272kW at 6000rpm Torque 510Nm at 1300-4500rpm Transmission eight-speed automatic Drive rear-wheel Dimensions 4830mm (L) 1870mm (W exc mirrors) 1400mm (H) 2905mm (WB) Weight 1855kg Turning Circle 11.2m Spare Temporary Spare Boot Space 406-1114L Fuel Tank 60l Thirst 10.2L/100km
I really like the Stinger on motorways. But fuel cost is an issue. It’s easy to see why in Europe people drive 2.0-litre diesels, even in their big German prestige saloons. Over most of the continent it’s possible to travel at an indicated 130-140km/h without attracting the police. A diesel would drink 6-7 litres/100km. The Stinger gulps about 10.5l/100km.
But the way the Stinger’s V6 just hums along in the background is extremely relaxing. There’s also a particular joy to be found when the outside lane clears. It kicks down about three ratios, the engine’s voice hardens, the full 272kW comes out to play and it just rockets away from blocking traffic, the gears flicking casually up again as I lift off (later sometimes than I should).
At a cruise I have developed a habit with the lane-assistance system. I normally keep it off, because I don’t want my driving skill to deteriorate. But I switch it on when I’m changing settings on the navigation orstereo, or receiving a bluetooth phone call.
The system has various settings. The most active of them will constantly fidget at the wheel to keep you in the centre of the lane. Perhaps you might find it reassuring to have a constant reminder it’s working. But honestly most of us don’t want quite such a spirited ghost in the machine.
The more relaxed setting doesn’t impose any force on the wheel, unless you’re quite close to the edge. That’s the one I’ve chosen via the settings menu, so when I hit the on/off switch that’s what I get.
Actually the infotainment system isn’t too distracting. It does all I want it to do, with a straightforward native navigation system that gets its traffic awareness from my phone as a wifi hotspot. But there’s also CarPlay which gives access to Apple’s and Google’s maps and voice-activated routes and searches. And you can thereby dictate texts and whattsapp messages, if you don’t mind that they’ll sometimes come out hilariously garbled.
What’s excellent, and quite unusual, is that the CarPlay is so well integrated with the Kia’s built-in system. You can switch between them seamlessly. You can show the CarPlay track that’s playing even while you use the built-in navigation system. In many cars, the CarPlay feels like an add-on, while here it acts like it was designed-in from the start.
What else about long Stinger journeys? The seats are great, with electrically adjustable lumbar, side and leg support. The stereo is fine. But it needs a rear wiper in the English winter, and there’s a bit of tyre noise.