• It's beautiful.
    • A seven-year warranty on a performance car from a reliable company
    • The quiet, comfortable cabin and blasting stereo
    • Looks like we're stuck with a single generation
    • The unavailable wagon version (have you seen those renders?!) would have been the be-all-and-end-all car for me
    • We didn't get the AWD version in Australia
    5 Star

    About the Kia Stinger

    Andy purchased this Kia Stinger used for $47,500 (including all on-road costs) in 2022. Andy would buy this car again because: “I would absolutely buy this car again. To me, it is essentially everything I want in a car, and even somewhat in excess in some areas. My next car will be the same, just a newer model, though I must say that I do prefer the badging, wheels and tail-lights of this model, pre-facelift.

    I love that basic Kia badge. It makes me smile, the audacity. It’s a success in my eyes, even if it wasn’t strictly a sales success. The Stinger elevated the brand; raised that badge up to a new level, along with many eyebrows, all over the world; enthusiasts and journalists alike.

    Knock knock. Who’s there? It’s us, Kia, and we’re not mucking around.
    By the way, there’s this thing called an EV6 in the mail.”

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    Stinger review, Part 1: The Honeymoon.

    I should mention here I am just over a month into ownership. I can’t be trusted to give nuts and bolts, hard-yards ownership tales.

    I can tell you I needed to have the headlights adjusted, and was treated extremely well by the very busy local Kia service department.

    My previous cars have all been older, more utilitarian chariots, not this Nappa-leather-sliding-welcome-seats kind of experience.

    On arrival at the service centre, I was made to feel like I had joined the Kia club. *Patricia said that her son was a Stinger man and that Ceramic Grey was the correct choice.

    I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had fitted me for a smoking jacket and we all reclined to soft upholstery for a chuckle about the shortage of chips and the price of 98 RON.

    In reality, the boys in the workshop might take an hour or two so I was handed the keys to the new Carnival and took my Mum to the beach in that lovely, floating thing to find a superior type of chips to compliment some calamari.

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    The ownership experience has been wonderful, so far.

    This car is the family daily driver, with two very happy small children in the back, calling out for Sport Mode on every school run

    I’m not allowed to use swear words within this review and so I cannot properly quote myself from the few times I have loudly and vocally expressed my appreciation towards the heavens, through the sunroof.

    Honestly, I waited a very long time for this. People might laugh at me because it’s not some European super-car, but any enthusiast will understand looking slowly, happily around the cabin, gripping the wheel in disbelief that it’s finally, bloody, yours.

    I’m trying to come to terms with inevitable stone chips and long walks across car parks as I try to avoid the swinging doors and rampant bumpers of my fellow man as much as possible.

    Like walking your new puppy Dachshund, people are only too happy to stop and talk, and I truly enjoy meeting fellow car-appreciators, relishing in my new, unpaid, position as Kia brand ambassador – dealing out Ceratos, Stingers and Carnivals like an overzealous croupier at the Advice Casino

    Oh, and I’ve out of nowhere become a high-stakes investor in Bowden’s Own car wash products. I’m that guy now.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    Absolutely stoked. Buying used.

    My long and embarrassingly overthought cross-shopping process landed me on the brilliant Mazda 6 wagon, with the stinger to remain the dream for another few years – but then, the ‘dream’ was only going to cost about $6000 more. Chase your dreams and sell some guitars.

    I am happy that there is such a thing available to me. I like that there’s an ‘attainable’ dream car out there, like the Stinger.

    I’m not really practically interested in Supercars and giant 4WDs. I don’t have the budget for a Porsche Panamera, and I don’t believe I will ever have to climb the mountain that would be making the decision between an RS6 versus the AMG E63 S.

    This one was aimed at me.

    The features list is very long, with, as far as I know, the only options being a few premium paint colours.

    If there’s someone I could thank personally for not having an ‘options pack’ this and a ‘subscription’ that, I would love to know their address.

    Loveable features?

    The seats.
    The front seats form part of the extremely enjoyable, immersive stereo system, having a subwoofer hidden under both positions. Careless Whisper never sounded so good.

    Now, add to all that some soft and supportive, glorious-smelling black Nappa leather, and all sorts of adjustment and indulgence (including a gentle hug from the active bolsters in Sport mode), and you have a recipe for extended happiness.

    Would you like heating and ventilation with that? Awesome, we have you covered.

    The engine.
    Being pushed back into those seats by 510Nm of twin-turbo torque will not likely get old at any time soon. (Unlike the Dachshund)


    Being a sedan, a car in the world of the dual-cab and SUV.

    Simply being a low-slung, shark-looking GT car designed to cruise long and corner sharply, making every drive feel like something. Something good.

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    It is brutally fast.

    This is all well and good, but the Queensland speeding fines are also brutally expensive.

    The acceleration is a wonderful thing to have up your sleeve when encountering deadly caravans and other over-laden obstacles on country roads. And no freeway entry ramp will ever not be fun again.

    Economy heavily depends on how you drive a car like this: rocking two tonnes, two turbos, and six cylinders.

    My wife, for instance, happily glides around in Eco Mode, sipping away with gentle acceleration.

    We live in a mountainous area that is generally hard on cars, either uphill acceleration or heavy breaking constantly. A powerful car with brilliant handling and epic brakes is exactly what we needed.

    I was expecting hefty fuel bills when I bought the car, and I am averaging 10.5 litres per 100km, which works for me.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    What doesn’t it have?

    Surrounded by safety tech and driver assistance like the 360 parking camera and my colourful friend the head-up display, I have to wonder what more I need…

    Well, some folks really respond to a huge digital display behind the wheel, complemented by a huge digital display in the middle of the dash. We don’t have that here, going with a more classic-looking instrument cluster and small/medium on-dash infotainment tablet. Muscle car style.

    I have never felt under-informed by the car. Just as I have never used the G Force metre. Maybe I should get out more.

    It doesn’t have wireless Apple CarPlay, which is the only real omission I can put my finger on. It has a perfect little charging pad for your phone in a little hidden cubby complete with a sliding roof, so minimalist and neat, marred forever by a USB lead dangling about the place like teenager legs.

    My favourite tech is driver-based.

    The 360-degree cameras are brilliant and easy to flip through the views whilst manoeuvring this CX-9 length saloon around the daycare car park.

    The rear cross-traffic alerts are equally useful, with a little warning beacon that can see oncoming traffic as I back my magnificent, coke bottle inspired rear-end into the danger zone of oncoming lunatics.

    The head-up display is clear and helps to keep an eye on the ever-increasing speed, but also integrates blind-spot warnings and more importantly, map directions in concert with the infotainment display working together like a tiny little team interested in getting me safely to where I want to go.

    The digital radio icon is a Gibson Explorer electric guitar, which is my spirit animal and makes me smile when I see it.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    It begins with the sliding welcome seats. I love this feature, it’s like a little reward for having to swoop down into a car instead of entering your SUV at hip-level or above.

    There are two user memory settings to lock in the seemingly infinitely electrically adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel. My driving position is extraordinarily comfortable even on very long drives and it’s easy to add some side bolstering should the corners come asking.

    You feel planted to the road, the car is heavy and low and doesn’t roll around in corners looking for tummy rubs, keeping its mind on the job and cutting in with stability control if you push those rear wheels too far.

    Interestingly, the off button for such limitations is openly positioned right by the gear lever and results in hilariously easily-controlled sideways tyre destruction.

    The adaptive suspension has two settings, Comfort and Perfect Roads (Sports mode).
    Perfect Roads is very stiff and best suited to racetracks or roads nowhere near a poor or complacent council. I believe they have those overseas.

    Comfort is the place to be most of the time, and is nice and solid feeling, though still a little firm – allowing for those wonderful driving dynamics.

    I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t wish for a Super Cloud Lux mode occasionally on some of our more deranged surfaces.

    I’ve thought about increasing the tyre profile for more comfort, but that would be like ‘fixing’ Kirsten Dunst’s teeth – she’s perfectly lovely as she is.

    Do you have any additional comments about your car?

    Seriously though, the Kia Cerato GT is the best value car on the road, and have you ever considered a mini-van that looks like a badass SUV, and drives like a pillowy limousine? Well, do I have a story for you…

    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling9.5
    Price & Features9.8
    Performance & Economy9.8
    Ownership Experience10