WHEN the first of the five door executive coupes came out I was not impressed.
If you want a coupe, you want a coupe I thought - a sleek two or three door sporting car majoring on style and performance over practicality.
But manufacturers like Audi and BMW persisted in making the more practical sleek five doors and other makers joined them, finding a ready market.
One of the more recent to join the clan is a match for the others in almost every way. The multi-award winning Kia Stinger is a fantastic tour-de-force of a sporting hatch, oozing style and matching that with superb performance.
I spent a wonderful week with the 2.0-litre turbo petrol and sent it back with huge regret. This is a car for most reasons and one that I certainly could live with as my only transport for the rest of my days.
It drives better than many cars costing thousands of pounds more, really looks the part of a sophisticated grand tourer and betters the standard equipment of the competition for far less money.
It also comes with the excellent, market-leading Kia seven year 100,000 mile warranty for complete peace of mind.
The very smooth 2.0-litre engine puts its power through the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox that has paddles behind the wheel to ring the changes manually.
And with more than 240bhp on tap, it's up to almost anything demanded of it. 60 miles an hour comes up in under six seconds and it will fly all the way to a heady 149 miles an hour where the law allows.
Everything about this car is little short of brilliant.
The engine is inaudible and hugely refined until pushed up the rev range, when it adds to the joy with a wonderful blast of sound.
The gearbox makes the changes so smoothly and quickly that they are almost seamless and full auto does everything so well that I can see few owners bothering with the manual setting.
Engine response and kickdown are brilliant, making quick and safe overtaking easy on any straight piece of road. Yet so good is this car that it will also trickle through town at tickover revs without changing down unnecessarily.
The gearbox has a Sport mode that simply gives quicker responses if you're pressing on, notably improving the kickdown speed.
But of course, the engine is always at higher revs and so it will cost in economy if used a lot.
The Stinger's chassis major's on excellent comfort, even with huge wheels and sprayed-on ultra low profile tyres.
But in the S model I drove, it comes with five driver choice settings, adjusting the dampers to firm up or soften the ride with Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Smart.
However, it does everything so well in Comfort that having tried the others, I left it there for the rest of the week.
This car has a lovely feel on the road, composed and controlled even with the great ride. It simply rolls over all surfaces, leaving driver and passengers completely comfortable.
There is some bump/thump from the wheels and tyres, but it's no worse than the vast majority of other cars, many of which are vastly more expensive than this one.
The power steering is direct and full of feel and even in the comfort setting, cornering speeds are excellent with huge levels of grip.
It corners almost flat and feels tremendously safe at all times. In fact, it comes with a five star Euro safety rating.
The only slight minus point I could find was the low roofline and the standard electric sunroof. These combine to make a low driving position for taller drivers, which takes some getting used to.
Rear legroom and headroom is good however and the boot is also large enough for plenty of luggage.
The high level of standard kit includes sat nav, with an eight inch screen and traffic and speed camera warnings.
It comes with cordless phone charging, electric heated leather seats, polished pedals, multi-function steering wheel and a head-up display on the inside of the windscreen showing speed and the local speed limit.
It also has stability control, keyless entry and starting, powered tailgate, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple Carplay, reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors, on top of a wide array of electronic safety devices.