2020 Kia Stinger GT-Line Review | Asian Car Guide
September 21, 2020

2020 Kia Stinger GT-Line Review

2020 kia stinger gt-line

The Stinger resulted from years of planning by Kia to make a name in the performance car world.

With hallowed names like Peter Schreyer (designer of the original – and iconic – Audi TT) and Albert Biermann (ex BMW M chief responsible for the E46 M3 and E39 M5) backing the new flagship Kia, expectations reigned high for the new entrant in the hotly contested performance luxury saloon segment.

By and large, it succeeded. In my previous review of the 3.3-litre variant, I praised the car for its torquey engine and ride comfort, although understandably there were some teething quality pitfalls, on the very first-generation Stinger; and Kia had never done a rear-wheel-drive sedan before.

I review the Stinger again, now behind the wheel of the more accessible GT Line with 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine punching out 182kW, 6,200rpm, power and 353Nm, 1,400-4,000rpm, torque.

Although the GT gets most attention, it is notable that the GT Line, from $59,690 drive-away, represents great value.

Outside the car is almost indistinguishable from the GT – still the quad exhausts, LED lights front/rear and even the fake air vents on the bonnet.

The only giveaway is 18-inch alloys which look tamer than 19-inch wheels on the GT.

Otherwise – every bit as menacing and alluring.

The lines freely stretch across a long wheelbase, giving a convincing impression of a four-door coupe, sleek, low-slung, with virtually no unsightly angles.

The front end is chiselled with the trademark Kia ‘Tiger Nose’, the bonnet long, and the rear finishes with a unique light design stretching towards the C-pillar.

A benefit of the coupe-like body is the rear hatch opening, making the car far more practical for loading bulky items than a saloon. Overall, an arresting look, quite distinctly Kia.

The moment you open the doors, heavy and closing with a Teutonic thunk, you realise this is not like any other Kia.

Once in, you’re greeted with some familiar elements from other luxury cars – the turbine air vents (Mercedes) and gear lever (Audi), for example – but it comes together distinctively enough without feeling copycat.

Highly legible Instrument gauges are backlit in white. In between resides a high-resolution trip computer which, like the central screen, is logically laid out with clear and easy-to-understand menus not dissimilar to be found in other Kias.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels perfectly done, great to hold and mounted with paddle shifters.

The first thing I noticed is how spot on the seating position is, as if transplanting pedal, seat and steering wheel placement from a BMW M car.

The seats themselves offer ventilation, one of the many little luxuries that will delight at this price point, also heads-up display, suede roof lining and wireless phone charging.

I would say the overall ambience is particularly luxurious.

Additional to a large rear hatch opening, the rear seats also fold down easily – offering large loading space conventional saloons simply can’t match.

The car measures 4,830mm long, 1,870mm wide and 1,400mm tall. With a huge transmission tunnel for rear-wheel drive, the middle second-row passenger will be fighting for both leg and head room.

Rear passengers can charge phones via a convenient USB port and adjust air-con temperature.

Low-slung seating position and broad bonnet certainly put the driver in the mood for spirited driving. Kia markets the car as a Gran Turismo – grand tourer – and this is important when framing the car’s capabilities – to drive sportily and offer involvement, but not really an all-out sports car.

Kia has cleverly engineered the car to answer all the questions a grand tourer needs to deliver on. It is simply rock steady at speed on the highway, virtually steamrolling imperfections on the road, no doubt aided by not insubstantial kerb weight (1,693kg) which in this case actually helps its cause.

Despite the lack of several technologies that come standard in the GT, such as adaptive suspension, a mechanical limited slip differential (LSD) and variable steering, the passive dampers for example are very well-judged.

If anything, the fact that the car feels so polished even without these aids show that the basic underpinnings are just excellent.

It already feels mature, a car that has gone through several generations.

When I drive it hard things start to unravel a bit. The engine, while giving very good low-end torque that feels more than adequate for most situations, starts to struggle a bit hauling all that weight.

The top-end doesn’t deliver the same rush as at lower rpms, it works a bit laboriously. However basically the GT Line is very accomplished, delivering a comfortable, secure and fun drive that you just want to get more and more of.

Competitors are simply not as fast, do not possess the same breadth of abilities, or are not able to attain this performance – with 7 year unlimited kilometre factory warranty. Plus 7-year/70,000km capped-price servicing plan, costing $4,068 (averages $581 per service).

It is worthwhile giving this car a test drive if your priority is an engaging drive.

An extremely accomplished car with the 2-litre engine, hinting at the magic and sense of wonder of the more expensive 3.3 Litre.

How much?

  • Price: $59,690 Drive Away
  • Engine: 1,998cc four-cylinder
  • Power/Torque: 182kW at 6,200rpm / 353Nm at 1,400-4,000rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Safety: 5 star ANCAP