Stinger puts four to the fore in NZ

Two four-cylinders and a single V6; is this the Stinger lineup Kiwi revheads with rear-drive preferences were hoping for?


PRICING and specification details have finally come out for the Kia Stinger, a perceived heir apparent to territory that will be abdicated in a matter of weeks by the Commodore SV6, but the Korean brand’s distributor still cannot pinpoint when its rear-drive sedan will come on local sale.

In an advisory accompanying press material sent out today, a spokesman acknowledged the Auckland-domiciled local operation is “…still waiting for a final decision on launch date, but it has gone back a bit, though (we are) still hopeful of getting the cars here before the end of the year.”

Further details are expected to be announced soon.

However, at least now there’s clarity about what it will cost – and what it will bring.

The one surprise is that Kia NZ is not going anywhere near as big with the powerplant that is making all the headlines as it could have.

The only opportunity to experience the brand’s much-lauded 272kW/510Nm twin-turbo V6 will come from buying into the line’s flagship, the GT-Sport, which Kia NZ says will start at a recommended $69,990 plus on road costs.

The two other Stinger variants coming have much less sting, being powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, developing 193kW and 353Nm. This engine has often not been regarded as highly by the overseas’ press who have driven the models back-to-back.

The off-line sprintability is not too bad by four-cylinder standards, with Kia citing ability to hit 100kmh from a standing start in six seconds, but it is obviously going to be much less enthralling than the V6, which the brand says is capable of a suv-5s time.

Respectively tagged EX Turbo and GT Line, the four-cylinder models will have recommended retail prices of $54,990 and $59,990 respectively.

All three variants have leather interior, paddle shifters for the range-common eight-speed automatic transmission, autonomous emergency braking, smart cruise control and LED headlights.

Kia NZ has not offered an explanation about why it has restricted to just one V6, but outwardly the strategy suggests a sense of cautious thought about the real sales potential of big six-cylinder sedans. Clearly more variants are available –  Australia, which launches Stinger in November, plans to have no less than three V6s, outfitting in S, Si and GT formats.

Our neighbour obviously have negotiated a sweet deal with head office. When taking only exchange rates into account, the Australian base V6 is around $2000 cheaper than the the base four-cylinder here, while the mid-range Si costs just a couple of hundred bucks more than the NZ-market four-cylinder GT Line. The flagship edition, which is thought to be dressed identically in either country, is $64,703 ask across the Tasman.

As point of (fleeting) reference, given that Holden will cease making the current Commodore at the end of October, the SV6, with a 210kW engine, lists at $56,990. The SS and SS-V V8 sedans, which pack the 304kW V8, range from $64,990 to $76,490.

Kia NZ has previously cited that it would be reasonable to imagine the Stringer sitting in the $60-$80,000 band, but that comment has always been in respect to the V6.

Kia NZ boss Todd McDonald has offered that the Stinger will lift Kia here into a different league, cutting “this is a car with the x-factor.”
“You haven’t seen a Kia like this before. Stinger has the power to surprise in any number of ways, not least through its rear-wheel-drive architecture, which will stamp it as a true driver’s car.”