Kia Stinger 2.0

T-GDI GT-Line S

Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDi V6 GT S, face
Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDi V6 GT S
Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDi V6 GT S, side
Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDi V6 GT S, rear
Kia Stinger 3.3 T-GDi V6 GT S, back
Kia Stinger, boot
Kia Stinger, dashboard
Kia Stinger, front seats
Kia Stinger, rear seat

KIA claims it has the 'Power to Surprise' and its classy Stinger certainly proves the point.

For the elegant Stinger takes the Korean company into territory normally occupied by the premium German brands.

The Stinger is the best looking vehicle thatKiahas produced and they describe it as a four-door fastback.

It is a real head-turner and its most obvious rivals are the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe and Audi's A5Sportback.

Designed by Frenchman Gregory Guillaume under the supervision ofKia'sdesign chief PeterSchreyer, the engineering was handled by AlbertBiermann, formerly of BMW.

That being the case it is no surprise that the Stinger is very good and is now the brand's flagship.

The USA and Asia where there is less brand snobbery will be the car's biggest markets and only a couple of thousand will be sold in the UK each year alongside the firms range of big-sellingSUVsand reliable hatchbacks.

The Stinger will change many perceptions about the brand and provideKiawith its next challenge - a tilt at the posh end of the market.

Its looks make a real statement with its long low bonnet and elongated profile that takes you to the handsome rump where four exhaust pipes and a neat spoiler hint at the car's performance.

Air intakes on the bonnet and flanks give it an aggressive look and 18-inch alloys and a dark chrome grille add to the package.

The Stinger looks great in pictures but even better in the metal and it received many admiring looks and complements during my week with it.

Most people were surprised when they discovered it was aKiabut they remained impressed by its stunning looks.

Available with a choice of two petrol and one diesel engine - all of them are turbocharged - and drive the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The 3.3-litre version is capable of 168mph and is the fastestKiaever but my car was fitted with the lesser 2.0-litre engine which still offers bags of power.

It would be good for 149mph if you took it to a German autobahn and tackles the sprint to 60mph in an impressive 5.8 seconds.

It is very smooth and quiet and is said to return a combined 35.8mpg. I got a little less than that but I enjoyed pushing this car so that was to be expected.

The Stinger turned out to be an ideal motorway cruiser but it also handled well on a blast on twisting country roads and it was also happy to potter about in town.

It is quite a long car, so there is plenty of room inside for four adults with good head, leg and shoulder room and the boot is also a decent size at 406 litres.

The cabin may not be as plush as some of the German brands but when it comes to standard equipment theKiahas the edge by a considerable margin.

Many standard items on the Stinger would be costly options on prestige models.

For the first time on aKiacar you get and excellent head-up display which projects speed, navigation and audio details on the windscreen to save you from taking your eyes off the road.

You also get a large touchscreen, heated electric seats and steering wheel, leather trim, satnav, intelligent cruise control, a fine sound system with nine speaker and asubwooferas well as a host of other desirable features too numerous to mention.

On the safety front the Stinger boasts all the latest equipment including autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, blind spot warning and an active bonnet that lifts slightly to reduce impact if contact is made with a pedestrian.

Prices for the Stinger start at just over £32,000 and rise to £40,535 for the 3.3-litre model but you get a great looking car for your money as well asKia'sunrivalled seven-year warranty.

FAST FACTS

Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDI GT-Line S

Price: £35,935

Mechanical: 244bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 5.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 35.8

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 181g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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