Kia Stinger review – Don't be put off by the badge, the Stinger deserves your attention - Kia Stinger ride and handling
In its most powerful V6-powered form, the Stinger works as a real drivers' car. While the four-cylinder models are also enjoyable
There’s something very satisfying about the way the Stinger gets down a twisty road. While you have to account for its size, which chips away at the fun factor on smaller B-roads, all Stingers pair accurate and well-weighted steering with keen responses, good balance and a useful degree of throttle-adjustability. This combination begins to make sense when you realise who heads up Kia and Hyundai’s dynamics team these days: Albert Biermann, formerly of BMW M division.
As with the way the Stinger performs, handling is limited to some degree by the car’s relatively substantial weight. Pushed hard, the weight provides a challenge for the springs and dampers, resulting in slightly ragged body control, a little too much roll, and a tendency to push wide earlier than some rivals.
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But a notch or two back from maximum attack (this is a “GT” rather than an out-and-out sports car, after all) those problems don’t seem to materialise. You’re still conscious of the Stinger’s weight but the car’s controls and handling characteristics all gel into something that’s both engaging and entertaining.
The steering doesn’t bristle with feedback but it does offer some. When combined with consistent and accurate responses, as well as reasonable weighting, you always feel in control of the car’s behaviour. Roadholding is good and all engines (but particularly the V6) give you the option of adjusting the car’s attitude with the throttle – though you’ll need to be in Sport (which relaxes the car’s safety settings) or Sport+ (which relaxes things further) to fully appreciate this, as Comfort mode doesn’t allow any shenanigans.
UK roads have slightly undone our initial impressions of the ride quality, but it’s by no means bad even in full GT S spec, even in Sport mode and on that car’s 19-inch wheels. In lesser Stingers on smaller 18in wheels (which still work visually – impressive given how lousy some rivals look in their lower trim levels) it’s better still, riding quite fluently for the most part with just subtle overtones of firmness to remind you that the car has some sporting intent.