Kia Stinger
(2017 - 2022)

  • Genuinely practical performance car.
  • Excellent levels of safety, tech and equipment.
  • Premium interior.
  • Great ride and handling.
  • Short service intervals.
  • Heavily abused examples not ageing gracefully in terms of rattles and issues.
  • Standard exhaust sounds a tad plain.
Overview

On paper, the Q3 2017 arrival of the Kia Stinger looked like mana from Heaven for Aussie petrolheads hurting from loss of their beloved, locally produced large sedans. Of all nations and of all place, Korea’s Kia had sprung a performance flagship five-door, suitably large in stature, available with a big turbo six-cylinder heartbeat and, importantly, rear-wheel drive.

For the most part, its half-decade on local terra firma has been a solid if unremarkable success. Both in terms of a modest sales success for Kia in a perilously dwindled mainstream large-car segment and in establishing a bit of a cult following that’s sure to bloom in future.

It’s a good car. It’s an exciting car, at least in its larger-engine choice. And with Chrysler putting the 300SRT to pasture it’s the last thing standing as a genuinely affordable four- or five-door rear-driven sport sedan. But it’s not quite the new messiah many had foreseen.

In October 2017, within a month or so of Holden shutting its Elisabeth plant in SA, the Stinger hit local showrooms in a choice of two turbocharged engines, each offering three variant trim levels depending on buyer budget and taste.

The heroic choice is the twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6. Plying 272kW and 510Nm through an eight-speed auto the form guide suggests it’ll hit 100km/h form a standstill in 4.9 seconds, traction loss notwithstanding. Sub-five performance if properly heady by most reasonable measure.

The sixes kicked off with base 330S at $48,990, offering all of the thrills – Brembo brakes, LSD – if trimming the frills, such as fake leather trim and AEB. It was a seven-grand set-up to the ($56k) mid-grade 330Si, which added leather, AEB, active cruise and 19s as perhaps the sweet value spot in the entire 2017 line-up.

The top dog GT sixer, at a tenner under $60k, stacked features such as active dampers, nappa leather, 360-degree cameras, a head-up display and 15-speaker premium sound. A bi-model exhaust ($2500) could be optioned on any V6 version.

A trio of 2.0-litre turbocharged four versions, offering a still-healthy 182kW and 353Nm, largely mirrored the six-pot line-up in spec, kicking off at a wallet-friendly $45,990 for the 200S. The four-pot Si was also three-grand cheaper that it V6 twin, while the 200 GT-Line, at $55,990, loses little to the GT in features (though isn’t identical) for those buyers where 6.0sec 0-100km.h performance was perfectly adequate, thanks.

Execution and design inside are quite sound an typically Kia but the big drawcard is the five-door liftback format that brings almost wagon-like practicality, if without quite so much luggage space (406 litres). In GT/GT-Line trim, the Stinger feels downright opulent.

The spirited clip of either engine choice is married with fine on-road character. The Stinger is comfortable and refined, underpinned by a ride and (locally fine-tuned) handling package intended to be measured against the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The three effective grades also bring slightly different suspension and steering tunings.

The Stinger got a mild facelift in late 2020 (for MY21) found in the current new range, including new wheels, new LED lights, a range-wide upgrade to high-spec 10.25-inch infotainment and broader safety for a breed that now started from just under $50k. A new quad-tip bi-model exhaust was added to all V6 versions for an academic two-kilowatt power hike.

Trainspotters after something a little different can search out one of a number of special editions launched locally to date, including the two-litre Rafa Edition (MY18) and the six-powered Carbon Edition and Night Sky Edition (MY20-21) variants.

The doomsayers are suggesting that Stinger’s days are numbered, a once compelling concept that arrived on the stage too late and one that might soon be retired due to a lack of sales interest globally. In the US, where it was debuted and largely targeted at, the Stinger hasn’t nearly risen to its makers hopes for popularity and buyer acceptance.

For now, the Stinger continues its steady course on the Aussie new car market.

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What goes wrong
  • The paint on Sunset Yellow Stingers was defective. However in Kia’s defence, of the 71 cars affected here in Australia, approx 75% of owners had their Stinger resprayed under warranty while the other customers opted for a full refund or a replacement vehicle.
  • There are some sporadic reports of other colours fading a little over time, this is not a common fault by any means, it is extremely rare but if you’re looking at buying one of these, thoroughly inspect the paint work.
  • The trim above the windows can stain or blemish due to the transparent blue plastic wrap that is put on the cars for shipping reacting with the plastic of the trim. This is easily fixed with a polish and Kia have replaced trim pieces that are being problematic.
  • Early model Stingers fitted with sunroofs have been known to get a bit rattly but again, Kia have generally fixed this under warranty.
  • Early models are also reported to have a rattle coming from the rear tailgate hatch but this is easily fixed with some washers and later models resolved this from the factory.
  • The fabulous Brembo brakes do love to exude copious amounts of brake dust all over the wheels and there are quite a few reports that they can warp if driven hard, resulting in shuddering and vibration at speed.
  • The solution for many owners has actually been fitting DBA rotors and pads, just don’t tell Brembo, they’ll get upset.
  • There are very occasional reports of the Central locking being faulty when ignition is on, however we need to state this is a very rare problem and generally sorted under warranty.
  • Mechanically, generally speaking there are no major common issues however both the four and six cylinder power plants can suffer from sporadic issues, in the same way we see with power plants from every other manufacturer.
  • There are reports of the rear diff failing. This is generally covered by Kia’s warranty however, the diffs may continue to fail and eventually, the warranty will run out and the cost of repair will fall back to then owner.
  • There are quite a few reports of the Brembo brakes beginning to shudder. This is commonly resolved by fitting aftermarket pads and rotors.
  • Quite a few Stingers are being modified and it is critical that all modifications are done professionally with quality equipment.
Model range, pricing & features

200S/330S

  • Price when new: $45,990 - $55,030
  • Price used: $37,500 - $72,000

The Base “S” model is available either with the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine (200S) or 3.3 litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine (300S).

The S comes equipped with a comprehensive of standard, comfort and luxury orientated features, however early S models did omit key safety equipment such as AEB, forward collision warning and lane keep assist.

As a result the base model was awarded a 3-star rating by ANCAP for omitting those key safety features. In February 2018, Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) was made standard as well as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, which in April 2018 upgraded the S model to a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

A 2021 facelift, also saw the S receiving more additional safety equipment and an upgraded infotainment system.

Adds:

18-inch alloy wheels
Brembo brakes (330/V6 models only)
Mechanical limited slip rear differential (330/V6 models only)
Body coloured bumpers, door handles and side mirrors
Diffuser
Launch control
3-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2017)
7-airbags: driver and front passenger, driver’s knee, front side and full-size curtain airbags
Seatbelts: pre-tensioners, load limiters and height adjustment for driver and front passenger
3-point seatbelts for all passengers
Two ISOFIX points with three top teather restraints
Adjustable headrests – front and rear (all seats)
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Electronic stability control (ESC)
Emergency brake display (hazard lights/stoplights)
Hill assist
Active hood pedestrian protection
LED daytime running lights
LED tail lamps
Rear parking sensors
Rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines
Alarm
Electromechanical parking brake
Cruise control
Keyless/proximity entry
Start/stop button
Intermittent wipers
Multi-functional leather (artificial) steering wheel
Tilt and telescopic adjust – steering wheel
Paddle shifters
3.5-inch monochrome driver’s information display
Trip computer
Dual-zone climate control
Rear air vents
Electric mirrors – folding and heated
Electric windows – front and rear with auto up/down for driver’s and front passenger’s window
Leather (artificial) upholstery
8-way power adjustable driver’s seat
6-way manually adjustable front passenger’s seat
7.0-inch infotainment system
6-speaker sound system
DAB+ digital radio
Bluetooth connectivity and streaming
Wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto
Satellite navigation
3.5mm AUX input
2x USB points
2x 12V auxiliary power sockets
60:40 split fold rear seats
Cup holders – front and rear
Illuminated vanity mirror – front passenger
Puddle lamps under door mirrors
Cargo cover
Cargo tie down points

February 2018 Update:
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
Adaptive cruise control
Lane-keep assist

April 2018 update:
5-star ANCAP safety rating

2021 Update:
Cyclist detection
Junction assist
Lane keeping assist with road edge detection
Bimodal exhaust system (330S only)
4.2-inch colour driver’s information display
10.25-inch infotainment system

Rafa Special Edition

  • Price when new: $47,990
  • Price used: $35,000 - $55,000

The Rafa Special Edition was part of a 2018 Australian Open series of special edition models launched by Kia, as Kia was a major sponsor for the tennis tournament.

The Rafa special edition featured decals in the Spanish flag and signed by Rafal Nadal, as well as the upgraded 8.0-inch infotainment system found on the Si and GT/GT-Line models, and a Babolat tennis racquet signed by Nadal.

Adds:

19-inch alloy wheels
Exclusive side body decals in the Spanish flag colours with Rafael Nadal’s signature
Special brown interior
8-0-inch infotainment system
Babolat tennis racquet signed by Rafa Nadal

200Si/300Si

  • Price when new: $55,990
  • Price used: $39,000 - $76,000

The Si model was available with the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine or the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine.

The Si added more safety equipment such as AEB, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, driver fatigue alert, front and rear parking sensors as well as rain sensoring wipers and the upgraded 8.0-inch infotainment system.

The Si model was discontinued in 2019.

Adds:

19-inch alloy wheels
5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2017)
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
Forward collision warning
Lane keep assist
Driver fatigue alert
Radar guided cruise control
Front and rear parking sensors
Rain sensing wipers
8-0-inch infotainment system
9-speaker sound system with two under seat woofers
Under-floor luggage tray
Cargo net

GT-Line/GT

  • Price when new: $55,990 - $64,960
  • Price used: $43,000 - $83,000

The GT-Line and GT models were the top of the range models in the Stinger range, with the GT-Line featuring the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and the GT model featuring the 3.3 twin-turbo V6 engine.

Additional luxury and comfort features included adaptive headlights, colour 7.0-inch driver’s information display, 360 degree camera, Nappa leather upholstery with driver’s seat memory, wireless phone charging and a 15-speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system.

A 2021 facelift saw cyclist detection and junction assist, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, 10.25-inch infotainment system, ambient lighting and a power tailgate fitted to the GT-Line and GT. The GT also featured a Bimodal exhaust system.

Adds:

Blind-spot monitoring
360-degree camera
Adaptive headlights
Auto high-beam
7.0-inch colour driver’s information display
Head-up display
Sports steering wheel
Alloy sports pedals
Suede headliner and pillars
Nappa leather upholstery
Lumbar support
Electric seat bolster adjustment
Seat memory – 2x settings
GT logos embossed on seats
Wireless phone charging
15-speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system

2021 Update:
Cyclist detection
Junction assist
Lane keeping assist with road edge detection
Blind spot view monitor
Rear cross traffic alert
Bimodal exhaust system (GT only)
10.25-inch infotainment system
Ambient lighting
Power tailgate

Carbon Edition

  • Price when new: $64,990
  • Price used: $71,000 - $81,500

The Carbon Edition was a special edition based off the GT model and featured cabon-fibre parts fitted to the vehicle as well as an Alcantara trimmed steering wheel.

Adds:

Carbon-fibre parts including: grille surround, bonnet vent-style inserts, side vents, wing mirrors, and rear diffuser-style insert
Alcantara trimmed steering wheel

GT Night Sky Edition

  • Price when new: $63,500 - $63,700
  • Price used: $62,000 - $68,900

The GT Night Sky Edition was a limited edition also based off the GT model, and featured the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, and added the Bimodal exhaust system as well as a light grey Nappa leather upholstery.

Adds:

Bimodal exhaust system
Light grey Nappa leather upholstery

Should you buy it?

Well the thing is, if you want a car this size, with this level of lift back practicality, with a powerful engine up front and rear wheel drive, what else can you buy?

Yes there are hot hatchbacks that are faster and some of them may even match the Stinger for luxury and equipment but they’re all substantially smaller.

Yes there are sedans and even lift-backs that match the Stingers size but for what this thing costs, none of them are as powerful or arguably as fun to drive.

And yes there are wagons and even performance SUVs that might offer similar levels of performance and are equally as practical but none of them offer Kia’s superb 7 year warranty and sheer ownership affordability.

So therefore if you’re shopping in the Stingers budget, and you want the same set of skills and attributes that the Stinger offers, you pretty much have to buy a Stinger.

It’s just incredibly fortunate that even when used, the Stinger is still an awesome thing.

Should you buy one, absolutely.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

7 years/unlimited kilometres

Servicing:

12 months/10,000kms

Tech specs

Body Style:

5-door liftback

Engines:

2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol (200S, Rafa Special Edition, 200Si, GT-Line)
3.3 litre V6 twin-turbo petrol (300S, 330Si, GT)

Power:

182kW (2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol)
272kW (3.3 litre V6 twin-turbo petrol)

Torque:

353Nm (2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol)
510Nm (3.3 litre V6 twin-turbo petrol)

Transmission & drivetrains:

8-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive (RWD)

Fuel Consumption:

8.8 – 10.2L/100km

Length:

4830mm

Width:

1870mm

Height:

1400mm

Kerb Weight:

1693 – 1793kg

Towing (braked/unbraked):

1500kg/750kg

Disclaimer

Information correct as of April 8, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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