EXCESS, that is the world we live in. Always searching for bigger, better and more. But do you really need all the fancy extras and shiny things? The 2021 Kia Stinger 330S raised this question in our minds.
It made us wonder why you would buy the higher spec Stinger GT when the 330S has everything you need, and performs so well.
The Kia Stinger is the performance sedan that Australia needed to take us into the post-Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon era.
Big on space, big on performance and with aggressive styling to match, the Stinger will win a place in your heart the moment you drive it. It definitely did for this writer.
Let’s start with the engine. That’s why you’re reading this review, and not one about the lesser-powered but equally impressive 200S and GT-Line.
The Lambda II 3.3-litre, twin-turbo V6 found in the GT and the 330S we had on test, produces 274kW and 510Nm. Enough to propel this sedan weighing a smidge under 1800kg to 100km/h in under 5.0 seconds. That’s fast.
The V6 is mated to an 8-speed, silky smooth automatic gearbox, which accentuates the linear nature of the powerplant. Its shorter ratios translate into faster acceleration, and make using all of that power and torque a dream.
Speaking of acceleration, the Stinger 330S is fitted as standard with a mechanical limited slip differential and launch control, minimising the amount of power that is wasted through wheelspin.
The diff also does a great job in the corners, keeping all that power in check and propelling you with a minimum of fuss towards the next.
Should perfect racing lines and apexes mean little to you, and you wish to treat the throttle pedal with reckless abandon, there is plenty of well-balanced fun to be had in the right conditions too.
Kia’s DMS system lets you select your desired driving mode, from ECO to Sport, as well as SMART, which will adapt to your driving and choose the correct mode for your current style. The 330S does go without electronic control suspension though.
The excellent 4-piston Brembo callipers up front, clamping 350mm discs, and 2-piston versions on the rear, with 340mm discs, do a great job pulling you up when they need to. They look the part too.
There is no mistaking a Stinger on the road either. Its striking GT fastback shape and aggressive front end remind us of a Manta Ray swimming with its mouth open, with the entire look combining to form a unique silhouette on the road.
Equally elegant and purposeful, there is something for everyone when it comes to its design. This is also where we start to discover the differences between the 330S and the GT.
On the outside, the Stinger 330S misses out on 19-inch wheels, instead settling for an elegant 18-inch wheel and tyre package with a higher profile, which equates to a more comfortable ride.
Other than that, different colour finishes on the door handles and side mirrors, and an exclusive Aurora Black colour option for the GT are the only changes to note.
Inside, the Stinger 330S differences are more numerous, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are missing out when it comes to features.
An 8-way power adjustable, sports artificial leather seat comes as standard in the 330S, as opposed to Nappa Leather with memory function in the GT. There’s no flat-bottom heated steering wheel either.
The range topper also grabs a larger 7.0-inch colour instrument cluster, compared to the 4.2-inch screen offered here in the 330S.
A colour head-up display, some fancier trim and sill pieces and adjustable mood lighting are the other omissions.
Infotainment is almost on par, with the 330S settling for a 6-speaker sound system, instead of the 15-speaker, Harmon/Kardon premium sound system in the GT. That’s probably the biggest let down.
Thankfully, the rest of the infotainment system is well and truly covered thanks to a 10.25-inch colour LCD touch screen powering DAB digital radio.Satellite navigation with 10 years traffic information and updates is also included.
Crucially, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard. Safety is an interesting aspect of our less is more theory too, and the one that really sparked the idea in the first place.
Kia have done an exceptional job of dividing the essential features and the nice to haves between the 330S and the GT. The latter gets front parking sensors, a 360-degree view camera, and blind spot view monitor.
It also grabs safe exit warning among a few other things. Not really deal breakers when you think hard about it. It would be nice to see rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist on the 330S, instead of just the GT as well.
Now back to that question we posed at the beginning of this article; do you really need all the fancy extras and shiny things? The 2021 KIA Stinger 330S answers with a resounding no.
It’s proof you can have an excellent car that does all the essential things you could ever need. Not that the Stinger GT doesn’t have its place, as there are people who will settle for nothing less than the best, and that’s okay too.
The 2021 Kia Stinger 330S is priced from $53,990 (drive away), compared to almost $69,000 for the GT. That’s a significant saving you could spend on a holiday with the family, all while knowing you have a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Kia Stinger 330S, contact your local Kia dealer.