- Long warranty
- Good quality interior
- Very comfortable
- Tyres could be better
- Sub-par service intervals
- No wireless Apple CarPlay
Kia has had the Stinger in their local line up since 2017 but for the 2021 model year they did a midlife facelift adding more tech, safety features and new exterior styling. The range was also updated and diced down to just four models. The model we tested here is the top spec four-cylinder model the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line. Ever since the demise of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, rear-wheel drive large sedans in Australia have been a rarity on the market with the only remaining models: the Kia Stinger and the Chrysler 300C.
Attributes that were associated with the Commodore and Falcon that need to be a part of any large sedan are comfort and performance. On the surface the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line seems to have this covered with its comfy looking seats and sporty GT-Line aspects. So does this new updated Stinger live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
Price & Specs: 9/10
The 2021 Kia Stinger range kicks off with the entry level 200S that’s priced at $50,050 plus on-road costs ($54,090 drive away) – it also largely shares its equipment with the Stinger 330S which is priced from $53,830 ($57,890 drive away). Above the entry level 220S and 330S models is the model we tested here, the GT-Line which is $57,730 ($61,690 drive away) and the top-spec GT, which will set you back $63,760 ($67,690 drive away).
The 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, a 10.25-inch colour touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation and digital radio, wireless phone charging, a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, configurable ambient lighting, eight-way adjustable electric leather front seats that are both heated and cooled, drivers memory settings, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, keyless entry and start with remote start, LED exterior lighting, auto lights and wipers, a heads-up display, a leather-wrapped, flat bottomed and heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, alloy pedals and a suede headliner as standard.
We would like to see the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as smaller cars in the Kia range such as the Picanto and Rio have this feature yet the flagship Stinger does not, which boggles the mind.
In terms of safety kit, the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line comes with 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, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a blind-spot monitoring camera, rear occupant alert, a 360-degree camera with front and rear parking sensors, ISOFIX anchors, an alarm system and auto high beam. The Kia Stinger range has a five-star safety rating.
No cost colour options include ‘Panthera Metal’, ’Silky Silver’ and ‘Ceramic Grey’, while ‘Nero Orange’, ‘Hichroma Red’, ‘Micro Blue’, ‘Deep Chroma Blue’ (as seen on our GT-Line test car), ‘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 as seen here.
We see the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line as the sweet spot in the range. It offers plenty of safety features, comfort amenities, performance touches and just toys in general for most people.
Performance & Economy: 7/10
The standard engine available in the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit, which was carried over from the pre-facelifted model and has been seen in various other Kia and Hyundai products in the past. It produces 182kW of power and 353Nm of torque and propels the Stinger GT-Line from a standstill to 100km/h in just 6.0 seconds, which on paper is quite impressive. On the move, the engine feels smooth and effortless although around town and in stop start traffic it can feel a little sluggish and slow to respond.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight speed torque-converter automatic transmission. It is a fantastic transmission in daily commuting 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 shift through the gears but the transmission works best when left in drive and to its own devices.
Swapping between the different drive modes in the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line via the drive mode selector in the centre console 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 slowing everything down.
The claimed average fuel consumption figure for the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line is 8.8L/100km and in our testing with a mixture of highway and urban driving, we got an average consumption of 9.4L/100km. Push the Stinger – or purchase the V6 – and fuel consumption will easily sit above 12L/100km.
Ride & Handling: 8/10
Sharing its chassis with the Genesis G70, the Kia Stinger is quite the dynamic package. Thanks to its Australian tuning program, Kia has made a car that rides and handles exceptionally well. Even despite its large 19-inch wheels, the Stinger’s ride is very comfortable and despite its sporting intentions, it’s never harsh. It sits very well at 110km/h on the freeway with very little fuss, the ride is compliant and you never feel too much of the bumps in the road.
As we stated in out Stinger 200S review, when the Stinger is pushed, you do feel its size and weight – tipping the scales at 1,758kg (kerb weight) there is a bit of weight to lug around. But it handles quite well with excellent grip, reasonable chassis communication and positive steering feel as well. It changes direction quickly and confidently, though the V6 Stinger models are better handlers thanks to their limited-slip differentials.
Visibility in the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line is not amazing thanks to small windows, especially the rear 3/4 view. But road noise levels are pleasingly low.
Interior & Practicality: 8/10
The interior of the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line is a nice place to be. The materials used are good and there is a lot of standard features. The electric leather seats in the GT-Line are comfortable and supportive – you can spend a long amount of time in them without getting sore or tired. The quality of the leather used in the cabin is very good and the leather dash panel is a nice touch too. The headrests are also some of the softest we’ve seen from a non-premium brand. The swooping dash is eye catching and the chrome air vents are a nice touch making the interior feel a little more premium.
The touchscreen that sits atop the soft touch dash is a modern looking 10.25-inch unit that was new to the mid-life update to the Stinger. The clarity and resolution of the screen is quite good, the colours are bright and the text is easy to read. The infotainment system is also easy to navigate with the shortcut keys under the air vents and Apple CarPlay is simple to setup. The 15-speaker Harmon Kardon is excellent – there is fantastic bass and the sound is crisp.
Sitting in the rear of the Stinger is a comfortable experience. There is plenty of leg and shoulder room, although taller passengers may find head room a struggle due to the slinky coupe-like roof. Rear passengers will also be pleased to see that there is rear air vents, a single USB-A input, a 12-volt input, a fold down centre armrest and cupholders.
There is a reasonable amount of interior storage with small pockets in each door, a large glovebox, centre console storage, a place to put your phone in front of the gearstick and a good amount of boot space. With the rear seats in place, the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line has 406-litres of cargo space and folding the seats down opens the boot up to handle 1,114L of cargo. While this isn’t small at all, the Skoda Superb liftback has a huge 625-litres of boot space with the seats in place and 1,760-litres with the rear seats folded.
Service & Warranty: 8/10
The 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line comes with the brand’s famous seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The Stinger also comes with 12-months of roadside assist as standard, which is further extended by 12-months at every scheduled service for up to eight years. The Stinger has service intervals of 12-months or 10,000km which is 5,000km under what is offered with other cars such as the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat.
Servicing the Stinger GT-Line over the span of three-years or 30,000km will set owners back $1,209 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 the 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 – though you can choose a five-year service pack for just $1,700.
2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.0/10
For a model that is still only in its infancy, the Kia Stinger has done a good job of grabbing the hearts of Australian automotive enthusiasts. Picking up where the beloved Commodore and Falcon left off, the Stinger GT-Line offers decent performance, great handling and exceptional standard features for a reasonable price. There is not much else on the market that can compete with the Stinger and it pretty much has the market to itself.
While it could do with better tyres and the boot isn’t as big as the Superb, the 2021 Kia Stinger GT-Line is a great car that has very little not going for it. It looks fantastic, drives very well, has a good amount of standard features and has an excellent warranty. In a market full of SUVs, the Stinger is a refreshing sports sedan that prioritises rear-wheel driving fun over practicality, and for that, we love it.