For the 2021 season Kia’s popular Stinger five-door family hatchback has been refreshed with new and enhanced safety and convenience features. Kia is highly regarded by Australians for the way it listens to us in what we like – and what we don’t, and the Stinger is a fine example of this.

The Kia Stinger is a long, low vehicle that look like a sporty sedan not a five-seat family car. Forget all about these ridiculous pickup trucks that are cluttering our roads these days, the Stinger is a proper car for smart families.

The thick rimmed, leather-wrapped steering wheel is pleasant to use. The instrument binnacle has a combination of analogue and digital instrumentation. The gauges are ringed in a metal look and feature red needles.

Contoured seats are available with leather-look trim, while the driver can take advantage of an optional four-way air-cell lumbar support and side bolsters for increased comfort.

Stinger now features Bluetooth Multi-Connection allowing multiple smart phones to be paired at the same time.

An upgraded 8-inch touch screen is used to control satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth compatibility and music streaming backed up by nine speakers, including two under-seat woofers.

Kia Stinger is offered in four- and six-cylinder engines. Our test car was the four-cylinder turbocharged petrol which displaces 2.0 litres and produces 182 kW of power, and 353 Nm of torque in a nice range from 1400 rpm to 4000 revs.

Part of the 2021 upgrades means that Autonomous Emergency Braking now has Cyclist Detection and Junction Assist to its existing car and pedestrian capabilities. This uses the front camera and radar to apply the brakes if danger is detected while turning across oncoming traffic.

Lane Keeping Assistance features Road Edge Detection and will look after careless drivers when the Stinger is detected wandering from its lane or towards the edge of the road.

The top-grade models have Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist to prevent collisions with cars in the adjacent lanes. The Blind Spot View Monitor is linked to the turn signal operation and displays a camera view of the blind spots in the 7-inch supervision cluster.

Stinger GT and GT-Line models now have the Safe Exit Warning feature which alerts passengers with a sound and visual warning if there is an attempt to open the doors with traffic approaching from the rear.

Tall passengers have to bend a fair bit to get into this semi sporty hatch, which may not suit occupants who aren’t as young as they used to be. Try for yourself if you’re carrying passengers who may not like this

The boot is generous with depth and width but the swoopy roof makes it comparatively low.

There’s Launch Mode to add even more to the smile on your face. Put you left foot on the brake, engage Drive, flatten the accelerator pedal, release the brake, and off you go. It gets from zero to illegal on most roads in Australia in just 4.9 seconds on its way to a top speed – where it’s legal of course – of 270 km/h.

Is it any wonder that the Kia Stinger is much appreciated by police drivers now that Commodores and Falcons no longer come out of Australian factories?

The eight-speed automatic seems keen on minimising fuel use by chaining up to a higher gear soon than we like. You can get it into a semi-manual mode by using paddles behind the steering wheel.

Brembo brakes are highly regarded by Aussie car enthusiasts and those on the Stinger do their job with no fuss. Obviously, the brake engineers have had Germany in mind for high-speed touring.

Ride and handling tuning were tested not only on closed circuits but also on Germany’s famous Nurburgring Nordschleife. As well as on public roads in the Northern Territory and several of our states.

Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management ensures stability under braking and cornering by controlling the car’s Electronic Stability Control if it detects a loss of traction.

The lane keeping assist is benign, offering a gently nudge of the steering wheel when the car wanders off the straight and narrow, unlike some systems that rudely intrude on the steering wheel at the slightest movement.

Something that we didn’t like was the auto-levelling and dipping headlights which switched between main beam and low beam illumination seemingly at random, regardless of the visibility ahead.

Official combined fuel consumption is 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres, the test car came up with 13.5 litres around town and a miserly 6.2 litres on motorways and level country roads.

Kia Stinger is a well-sorted family car that’s pleasant to drive and to ride in. It’s engineered to suit Australian drivers and the road we drive on.

It definitely deserves a place on your shopping list. Perhaps a place that you create by crossing off a pickup truck…


Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Stinger 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan)

Capacity: 1.998 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 182 kW @ 6200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 353 Nm @ 1400 rpm
Fuel Type: 91RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 201 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic

Length: 4830 mm
Wheelbase: 2905 mm
Width: 1870 mm
Height: 1400 mm
Turning Circle: metres
Kerb Mass: 11.2 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Seven years / unlimites kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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