The Kia Stinger is officially here, and Kia Philippines launched it in such a huge way in the recently-concluded Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) that it made a lot of instant fans and left many of them wanting more. That said, as Kia’s first real foray into the performance car category, the Stinger is a bit of an enigma–the South Korean car maker calls it a sports sedan, but it looks more like a hatchback. Its long hood and muscular wheel arcs even make it appear like a coupe at certain angles. Fortunately, the rest of the car is much less confusing. In fact, if the ergonomic and user-friendly dash is treated as an indication, the rest of the car is quite easy to figure out.
Under the hood of the 2019 Stinger lies a 3.3-liter Lambda Turbo-GDI engine, an all-aluminum V6 direct-injection twin-turbo that’s the same one used in the discontinued Hyundai Genesis Coupe, albeit with more power at 365 hp. The powerful engine links to an eight-speed auto transmission, which is controlled by paddle-shift levers. A limited-slip differential keeps responses energetic and brisk. The car measures 4,830mm long, 1,870mm wide, and 1,400mm tall. As a rear-wheel drive, the Stinger powers to a 0-100kph acceleration time of 4.9 seconds.
As far as aesthetics are concerned, the Stinger is easily recognizable as a Kia, and lately, that has meant to be a good thing. Since the South Korean brand pirated designer Peter Schreyer from Audi back in 2006, their cars have become sharper in every aspect including style, performance, and comfort. Similar to the Optima in size, the Stinger is lower and sleeker, with front styling that is equally aggressive and graceful. The sides, however, are beefy yet sleek. How Kia manages to make these contrasts work is a mystery best left unsolved. The important thing is that they look stunningly irresistible. A front bumper integrated air curtain, aero fender garnish, rear diffuser, lipped trunk lid edge, and aero underbody covers further solidify the Stinger’s sporty appeal.
A step-up from the practical interiors that Kia is known for, the Stinger’s cabin comes outstandingly leather-wrapped, with plenty of refined design accents that scream upscale elegance. The driver’s seat is low-slung, giving credence to the car’s sporty flair. The aircraft-inspired vents at the center provide an unusual focal point, but it does serve as a nice reminder of what the cockpits of classic sports sedans used to be like before LCD screens came along. Though design cues are mired in sports car tradition, they very much belong to the digital age, starting with the instrument panel that consists of a seven-inch multi-function display, to the Integrated Memory System lets you store seat and side mirror settings, and on to the triple-zone climate control, ambient lighting, and ventilated front seats. There’s also a 15-speaker Harman/Kardon premium sound system to top it all off.
Performance cars are not known for comfortable second rows and large trunks, but both are surprisingly roomy in the Stinger. The backseat offers spacious seating for two grown adults, and definitely more than enough for kids to stay snug for long drives and out-of-town road trips. The trunk comes with a Smart Power feature for hands-free lifting, making loading stuff a snap. Need more space for cargo? Simply fold the rear seats down and voila, you get enough storage area for groceries, laundry, and more.
The Stinger is engineered to provide a high level of protection not only for the driver and passenger, but rear occupants as well. Overall body construction receives some key reinforcements in the tailgate opening, quarter panel, and underbody. Subframe panel joints are also made stiffer for stronger resistance to crumpling. A total of seven airbags provide outstanding passive safety. As for advanced safety features, there’s the 360-degree around view monitor, front and rear parking distance warning, and blind spot detection.
The Kia Stinger is here, and it’s ready to rock your world for PHP3.235 million. Equipped to fill the void left behind by the departure of its sister-make the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, this fastback demonstrates Kia’s commitment to innovation, quality, and ingenuity.