SOUND engineering allied to good value...that's the mantra of the South Korean car giants Hyundai and Kia.
Finely chiselled lines and sporting pretentions are more usually the province of prestigious German marques and a few Italian hopefuls.
But with the introduction of the Kia Stinger things are changing.
From any angle the low-lying fastback is elegant and sleek with an identity and appearance distinct from rivals yet every bit as pretty.
Straight from the pen of design guru Peter Schreyer - once of Audi - it manages to be absurdly practical as a family a car as well as achieving immediate acclaim as one of the best looking saloons on the road.
What's more it's rear drive - a first for Kia in UK - which increases its appeal to keen drivers who value the cornering qualities of a rear driven axle.
And needless to say strong value and quality engineering remains paramount.
Inevitably at launch, the spotlight fell on the most powerful model in the five-strong Stinger range, the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, but for those who want the exciting looks without the wallet-busting economy of a 365bhp petrol guzzler, there's a diesel version with 197bhp 2.2-litre four cylinder.
It may not have that neck-snapping momentum but the CRDi is no slouch with bags of mid-range torque and acceleration to 62mph in a snappy 7.3 seconds. It will go on to a max of 143mph.
Fitted with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, as are all Stingers, complete with steering wheel paddles, the CRDi feels like a well thought-out, mature sports saloon with a high standard of equipment and finely tuned road handling.
The rear drive configuration is coupled to independent suspension through MacPherson struts at the front and a five-link double wishbone at the rear to give a composed ride that's capable of absorbing bumps and ruts with controlled vertical movement and a minimum of roll on fast bends.
Steering is sharp and rewardingly precise and weights up nicely around tight bends.
Noise levels are subdued with just the usual diesel rumble at idling speed. The standard fitment glass sliding roof is among the best available and provokes a minimum of wind resistance when open.
There's ample room for four on board, though the low roofline at the rear cuts headroom for backseat passengers. The hatchback boot with folding rear seats is a boon for families offering 406 litres of luggage room and up to 1,114 litres when the seats are flat.
No shortage of treats within the smart, leather trimmed cabin. Heated front and rear seats, dual air con, eight-inch touch screen with sat nav, power seat adjustment, and electric tailgate are all standard.
The interior is attractively and tastefully styled with plenty of stowage space but I would have appreciated wider door pockets. The current ones are too narrow to take a sunglasses case. Another niggle were the front side windows that failed to clear on the outside when lowered.
Despite some hard driving, the CRDi's fuel consumption never dropped below 34mpg and on a long run the average was 39mpg.