FOR the life of us, we can’t understand why there isn’t a 2020 Kia Stinger GT in every second driveway in Australia. It’s a phenomenal car for the price, but maybe that’s the problem, it’s a car, and not an SUV.
We’re obsessed with utes and SUVs. I don’t mean us here at Exhaust Notes Australia either, I mean us, Australian vehicle owners. We need to get over it, and fall back in love with cars. Proper cars.
You know, the ones that make you smile when you accelerate, because they sound good, feel good, and are good. The kind of vehicle that can get you where you’re going super quickly, and power off the line from a standing start.
Saying that, one of the things Kia has been criticised for with the Stinger is the audio enhancement of the exhaust note to make it sound beefy. But in the case of our 2020 Kia Stinger GT, we didn’t need that assistance.
You see, it came with the optional bi-modal exhaust (a $3200 extra including installation). It’s worth every cent. The exhaust note is vastly improved. It sounds like a proper performance car, and it does it without any aural assistance to get it there.
Did we mention that for the first time, the 2020 Kia Stinger GT is also loaded with launch control. Add that to the mechanical limited slip diff and you have the makings of a special car indeed. Who cares that it comes from Kia or Korea. It’s a bloody good car.
Powered by a 3.3-litre twin turbocharged V6 petrol engine, generaring 272kW and 510Nm, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the Stinger is capable of 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds.
Fuel economy was an impressive 9.4-litres/100km during testing (Kia claims 10.2 combined). Riding on 19-inch machine-finished alloy wheels, the Stinger GT is shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber (with 225/40 fronts and 255/35 rears).
It stops with the help of Brembo 4-piston caliper and 350mm ventilated front discs, with 20-piston cailer and 340mm on the back. LED lights abound, and there’s a powered sunroof, puddle lamps and lots of bronze look dark chrome all over the place.
The quad exhaust pipes don’t just sound great either, they look special too thanks to their chrome coating, and the exterior mirrors are heated for those cold winter mornings.
It has five drive modes, including Eco, Comfort, Sport, Smart and Custom. The first three are obvious, Smart lets the car choose what’s best for your driving style, and Custom is well custom.
We recommend going full Sport in custom mode but swapping the suspension to comfort. It’s a little too rigid quite frankly in full Sport mode. Sport with Comfort suspension strikes an almost perfect balance.
Inside, there’s an electronically adjustable steering column, and some super comfy Nappa leather appointed sports seats, complete with a GT logo. The driver’s seat is 8-way power adjustable, with full lumbar support.
Rear seats are split fold, which is great when you need extra boot space, but rear head and leg room are not brilliant. It is a liftback after all. The rear centre arm rest does have cup holders though.
The driver’s seat does move when you switch the vehicle off, which tends to squish your rear passenger’s legs before the sensor kicks in and stops. It will definitely freak your rear seat passenger out the first time it happens, just ask this author’s wife.
The steering wheel is flat-bottomed and sports a GT logo (Kia have planted those everywhere), paddle shifters are on hand if you want to drive it like a manual, and the instrument cluster is digital and full colour, as is the head-up display.
The GT also comes with a cool and exclusive interface that shows oil temp, a torque and boost gauge, lap timer and G-Force meter. It’s awesome to watch the numbers go up and down. Just quietly it makes you want to see how high you can get the boost.
The infotainment system is pretty damn good to pilot your way around, with the ability to mess with vehicle settings to improve performance, and handling. It’s an 8-inch bezel-less screen, with the usual radio and Bluetooth functionality as well.
It also has DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation with live traffic for 10 years from purchase, and a wickedly good 15-speaker sound system that features two sub-woofers and an external amp from the cool kids at harman/kardon.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both on deck too, with full voice recognition functionality. It’s a handy feature when you have to reply to a text message. You can just speak your reply and it does its thing. Well mostly anyway.
Heated and vented front seats make your journey extra comfy, as does the dual zone climate control. There’s rear air vents, and two 12V power outlets, one front and one rear, as well as two USB charging ports.
Although these are both up front, a decent charging cable will reach the one in the centre console, with the second to be found in the front tray. Wireless phone charging completes the stylish and sporty interior package.
Here’s a random fact about the Stinger GT you may not have known. Believe it or not, you can actually tow with it. It has a 1500kg (braked) towing capacity. You may never actually use it, but it’s handy to know.
Active safety features include ABS, electronic stability control and vehicle stability management, hill start assist, emergency stop signal, autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, and lane keep assist.
There’s also blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and driver attention alert, along with daytime running lights, a 360-degree camera view and rear view camera with in-audio screen display and dynamic parking guidelines.
There’s even dynamic bending lights for cornering and high beam assist. That’s without counting multiple airbags and child seat anchor points, an alarm and an immobiliser. It’s safe. Need we say more.
The standard 2020 Kia Stinger GT is $63,990 drive away. Add the bi-modal exhaust we mentioned earlier and it brings the price to just on $67.200 drive away. It comes with a 7-year warranty, and capped price annual servicing for the same time frame.
Two interior choices are available, depending on the exterior paint colour you choose. For anything other than Hichroma Red, Neon Orange (our test vehicle) or Micro Blue, you can choose either a red Nappa leather trim or the standard black sports leather.
The latter is the only option in those three colours. The 2020 Kia Stinger GT also comes in Panthera Metal, Deep Chroma Blue, Ceramic Grey, Silky Silver, Snow White Pearl, and the GT-exclusive Aurora Black. Sunset Yellow is no longer available.
Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Kia Stinger GT, contact your local Kia dealer.