KIA STINGER 330S
The Stinger finds itself in the right place at the wrong time
WE NEEDED this. Without a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon at Bang For Your Bucks we have welcomed the Kia Stinger with open arms. Mainly because a cuddle with a four door, long wheelbase, and brawny rear-drive sedan would help ease the absence of Aussie-made fast cars. Oh, and it’ll give the photographers an easy drift shot or two.
But we haven’t lobbed it into this battle for entirely selfish reasons. Kia has been keen to sink the Stinger’s teeth into our formula after a hiding at Performance Car of the Year (against exotic competition), especially since big cars have reaped solid results at this BFYB event before.
The Aussie Holden Commodore SS Ute bowed out last year with a category win and outright fourth place behind the SS Redline. Meanwhile, the Kia has proven its 3.3-litre twinturbo V6 packs just as much punch as our old V8 larrikins.
Its 5.07sec standing sprint to 100km/h here would have split the old LS3-powered pair’s 5.01 and 5.13sec acceleration figures in 2017, along with their 400m times. Additionally, its lap time, braking and handling data would have breathed down the SS Ute’s neck. So how’d our Stinger finish towards the back end of 2018’s order?
You could cast suspicions on our choice for the bargainbased 330S. We’ve seen the Stinger go faster with wider rear rubber; the Si and GT variants get 255mm-wide rear Continentals on wider rear rims, versus the 225mm you’ll find on the back of the S. But the Si’s 4.89sec/13.01sec acceleration figures, as seen at PCOTY, would only move it up one place at BFYB this year. The GT’s adaptive dampers aren’t a solution either. They would have to reduce its lap time by a second to overcome that variant’s $11K price hike just to maintain ninth at BFYB.
Nope, the Kia’s less-than-amazing result has been decided by much tougher competition. The hot-hatch breeding season over the past 12 months has moved the goal posts on cornering speeds, lap times, price, and straight-line figures so far forward the Stinger has had no chance to really sizzle.
The judge’s scorecard has reflected that much. We rue that it has auto paddles, but no true manual mode and the fact stability control can’t truly be killed. But in contrast to the Infiniti, the Kia Stinger throws together a decent package for much less. It points true, with a nicely weighted tiller that’s geared well, and even though there’s a fair bit of roll, it handles like a Commodore SS, rather than an unlikeable oaf.
Maybe if Kia slashed the 330S’s price and made wider tyres and adaptive dampers an affordable option it’d make real waves here. But for now it’s ninth place. –
THE KIA HAS PROVEN ITS 3.3-LITRE TWIN-TURBO V6 PACKS AS MUCH PUNCH AS OUR OLD V8 LARRIKINS