- Interior space and qualtiy
- Long warranty
- Well equipped for a base model
- No lumbar adjustment
- Sub-par service intervals
- Fuel economy could be better
The Kia Stinger has been around on Aussie soil since 2017 and while it hasn’t been the biggest sales success that the brand hoped for, it is still a strong contender in the ever-shrinking large sedan segment. For the 2021 model year, Kia facelifted the Stinger with a new rear light bar, a new touchscreen, some new styling cues and some new interior trimmings. We tested the entry-level 2021 Kia Stinger 200S to see how much sense the base car makes.
For the Stinger to be a proper sports sedan, it needs to tick a few boxes: it needs to be comfortable and it needs to be sporty. The 2021 Kia Stinger 200S seems like it has both covered on the surface but read on to see if we think the Kia Stinger is worthy of all the hype.
Price & Specs: 8.5/10
The 2021 Kia Stinger range is priced from $50,050 plus on-road costs ($54,090 drive away) for the entry-level 200S as tested here, which largely shares its equipment with the $53,830 ($57,890 drive away) 330S.
Standard kit on the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, auto lights and wipers, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation, digital radio, dual-zone climate control, an alarm, keyless entry and start with remote start, faux leather upholstery, an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, paddle shifters and a six-speaker sound system.
Standard safety kit includes seven airbags, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and intersection assist, lane keep assist with lane follow assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, car occupant alert, a reversing camera with rear parking sensors and auto high beam.
Aside from the more powerful 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, the 330S adds quad exhaust tips with a bi-model exhaust, a dark chrome grille and other exterior details, Brembo brakes, a mechanical limited-slip differential and a V6-specific driver’s menu to the 200S.
Above the entry-level 200S and 330S models, the $57,730 ($61,690 drive away) GT-Line and $63,760 ($67,690 drive away) GT add 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery (Nappa for the GT), an eight-way electrically adjustable front passenger’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, alloy pedals, a heads-up display, suede interior roof trim, wireless phone charging, a 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, colour-adjustable ambient lighting and a flat-bottomed/heated steering wheel.
The GT further adds Nappa leather upholstery, Brembo brakes, adaptive dampers, an electrically adjustable steering column and a limited-slip differential.
On the safety front, the GT-Line and GT add front parking sensors, cornering lights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, safe exit warning and a 360-degree parking camera.
No cost colour options include ‘Panthera Metal’, ’Silky Silver’ and ‘Ceramic Grey’, while ‘Nero Orange’, ‘Hichroma Red’, ‘Micro Blue’, ‘Deep Chroma Blue’, ‘Aurora Black’ and ‘Snow White Pearl’ are $695 options. All models come with black upholstery, while the GT-Line and GT have the option of red on certain colours as well.
On the spec front we would like to see the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto like Kia uses in its smaller Picanto and Rio. Lumbar adjustment in the base cars wouldn’t go astray either, especially for highway miles, as well as heated seats – unheated leather is bloody cold in winter!
In our opinion, the 2021 Kia Stinger offers all the car most people will need. It comes very well equipped with standard safety features and lots of ‘toys’ to play with. It’s also hard to compare the Stinger with other cars on the market as it is one of the only rear-wheel drive large sedans for sale since the demise of the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.
Performance & Economy: 7/10
The standard engine available in the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit, which was carried over from the pre-facelifted car and has seen duty in a variety of Kia and Hyundai products. This is no bad thing as it produces 182kW of power and 353Nm of torque and propels the Stinger 200S from a standstill to 100km/h in just 6.0-seconds. On the move, the engine feels smooth and effortless.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight speed torque-converter automatic transmission. It is a fantastic transmission on the daily commute and doing everything a torque converter auto does best, but when shown a corner in anger, it can sometimes lack the rapid response that a dual-clutch transmission offers. There are paddle shifters to run through the gears but the transmission works best when left to its own devices.
Swapping between the different drive modes in the 2021 Kia Stinger 200s does change the character of the driving experience. Sport mode stiffens up the steering, makes the throttle response sharper and holds gears for longer whereas eco mode does the opposite trying to extract the best economy the car can get by relaxing everything down.
When you think of the 2021 Kia Stinger, fuel economy isn’t the first thing you think of – although you may be pleasantly surprised. The claimed average fuel consumption figure for the base 2021 Kia Stinger 200s is 8.8L/100km – our testing with a mixture of highway and urban driving, we got an average consumption of just under 8.0L/100km. This isn’t as good as the Mazda 6 with the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine which has an average fuel consumption figure of 7.6L/100km, although the Mazda isn’t as big as the Kia and it also isn’t rear wheel drive.
On the open road, the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S is composed and feels solid. You feel very comfortable at speed and the car doesn’t portray any of the unstable qualities that some past Kia products have displayed.
Ride & Handling: 7.0/10
Being a large sedan, the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S has to ride well to be successful in its class. Fortunately, it does ride exceptionally well. The Stinger does share its rear-drive platform with the Genesis G70, which means that the Kia benefits from engineering from a premium brand – no bad thing in our opinion. We tested the Stinger on the open road and sitting at 110km/h the ride was composed and compliant – you don’t feel the little undulations in the road and even at slower speeds, the smaller 18-inch wheels help the ride. The suspension is tuned specifically for Australian roads by Kia Australia, meaning the Stinger can cope with our city’s harsh roads.
When pushed on a twisty road the Stinger 200s then shows its weight and size. The car does feel solid at speed but when cornering the Stinger feels uncertain – sometimes it oversteers but then it understeers out of corners. It just feels unstable when shown sporty driving, which could be down to the softer suspension tune, the 18-inch wheels and the Continental tyres, which are more aimed at daily driving than dynamic driving.
When out on the open road you really notice the lack of road noise, not too much noise translates into the cabin – if any. There is a hint of tyre noise but that is about it. Visibility isn’t too bad out the front and sides but due to the large C-pillars visibility out the rear can be compromised.
The lane-departure warning can be a little intrusive, it corrects when it doesn’t need to and sometimes senses lanes aren’t there. The blind spot monitoring and radar cruise control works a treat.
Interior & Practicality: 8/10
Kia’s formerly sub-par interior quality reputation has been transformed recently and with the introduction of cars like the new Sorento and now the facelifted Kia Stinger, times have changed. Sitting in the cabin of the 2021 Kia Stinger 200s is a comfortable experience. The faux leather seats are supportive and the headrests of the front seats are some of the plushest we’ve ever felt in a passenger car. The seats themselves feel nice to the touch and the faux-leather is good quality. The design of the interior is also intuitive and pleasing to the eye with its chrome circular air vents and faux leather dashboard inserts.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen that adorns the dash of the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S is slim and sleek – it’s not too obnoxious but a sizeable upgrade on the pre-update’s 8.0-inch unit. The infotainment system is easy to use with easy to access menus and short cut keys underneath the air vents. The inbuilt satellite navigation is simple and easy to set, although it is easier to just connect your phone to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay and use a navigation app. The standard six-speaker audio system is quite good – there is a good sound range and good bass – although, the 15-speaker Harman Kardon system in the Stinger GT-Line and GT is definitely better.
The rear seats are just as comfortable as the front and there is a centre armrest with cupholders, vents a single USB-A output and a 12V socket. The legroom is more than acceptable and the rear doors are covered in soft touch materials, though headroom isn’t amazing for taller folk.
The storage in the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S is reasonable. There are pockets in each door, a large glovebox, a place to put your phone in front of the gearstick and a good amount of boot space. The Stinger comes with 406-litres of cargo space with the rear seats in place and 1,114-litres of space with the rear seats folded. While this isn’t a small boot by any means, the Skoda Superb liftback comes with 625-litres of boot space with the seats in place and 1,760-litres with the rear seats folded. But the Skoda isn’t rear-wheel drive, so its boot floor is lower.
Service & Warranty: 8/10
Like all other Kia products, the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S comes with a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The Stinger also has 12-months of roadside assistance, which is renewed for a further 12-months at every scheduled service for up to eight years.
Servicing the 2021 Kia Stinger 200S comes around every 12-months or 10,000km, which is relatively short in today’s age – the Skoda Superb’s service intervals are 12-months or 15,000km, for example. Servicing the Stinger 200S will set you back $1,209 over three years/30,000km and over the same period of time – but 45,000km thanks to its longer intervals – the Superb 206TSI will set buyers back $1,457. Comparing five-year service costs changes things significantly with the Stingers overall cost over five-years or 50,000km being $2,245 and the Skoda’s cost over five-years or 75,000km is $3,189.
2021 Kia Stinger 200S DiscoverAuto Rating: 7.7/10
The Kia Stinger is now one of the only affordable rear-wheel drive large sedans on the market. The question is, should you go for it and not an SUV? In a single word: yes. The 2021 Kia Stinger 200S combines healthy standard safety features, exceptional comfort and style for a price not seen by many other larger sedans. There are other sedans on the market such as the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Volkswagen Passat but none of them seem to capture the feel, fun and character of the Stinger.
Yes, there isn’t any lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat and yes the servicing intervals could be longer but for a car to hit the open road and cover hundreds of kilometres in there isn’t much more for the price that will do the job this well. Add in a quality cabin, a long warranty, a fun driving experience thanks to Australian suspension tuning and a healthy dose of practicality and it’s easy to see why a Stinger is a worthy choice over an SUV.