Rattle and hum

Stinger almost set to silent mode

ANDY ENRIGHT

KIA STINGER

Date acquired: April 2018

Price as tested: $60,685

This month: 1484km @ 11.2L/100km

Overall: 1821km @ 11.5L/100km

Waze and means

Given the idiosyncrasies of the inbuilt sat-nav, Iíve taken to using Waze, ported to the centre screen through Android Auto. Itís truly excellent, skirting you round traffic snarls, warning you of broken-down cars and lurking police units. Your routeís estimated time of arrival is nearly always spookily on the money too. The downside of running the app all the time is that it munches through data, Optus still apparently treating mobile data as if itís some critically scarce natural resource.

HOT SOURCE Stingerís excellent seat warmers go from zero to thermonuclear in a matter of seconds

BEFORE you ask, the Stinger is still being driven around in Eco mode in a bid to silence the optional sports exhaust. I thought Iíd give it a chance and try another mode but itís only really bearable when drowned out by the stereo. One upside to schlepping about in the Kiaís most relaxed mode is that the last tank of fuel was consumed at the unexpectedly frugal rate of 9.3L/100km.

The downside of bypassing the exhaustís bi-modal mode is that the Stingerís now more silent than the Red October and something is not quite right at the stern. Thereís a persistent noise that I havenít quite got to the bottom of, but it sounds as if the tailgate latch isnít quite engaging properly, setting up a constant rattle on anything other than babyís-bottom-smooth roads. Of which there are precisely none in my vicinity.

Other than that, the news is all good. Although we tend to think of the Stinger as something at the sportier end of the class, it makes a beautifully relaxed GT car if you keep the suspension in its comfort mode and just make the most of the active cruise control and the Gold Class-proportioned front seats with their heating and cooling functions. On the daily commute, the biggest challenge is usually staying awake. This languorous side to the Kiaís personality only makes the full 272kW, when deployed, even more startling.

In the wet, you need to be ready for the tail to have a bit of a slither, even with the stability control resolutely retained. The electronics are casual, only really intervening if it thinks youíre intent on swapping ends. Punch it away from the lights on a damp road and itíll buck and yaw quite entertainingly, but itís something thatíll raise eyebrows if youíre not ready for it. Once youíre used to it you can either pre-empt it with a feather of the throttle or just wade in and ride it out.

The tyres look to be retaining a decent semblance of tread on them, despite the lax stability control. While performing some cornering duties for our snapper, it was noted that the fronts almost looked as if they were rolling off the rims. The pressures were all correct, and this merely lends weight to my suspicion that these Continental ContiSport Contact 5 tyres might be just a tad doughy for the power and weight of the Stinger. For the Stingerís Aussie launch on the Wakefield Park circuit, the Contis mysteriously disappeared and were replaced by Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S rubber. That speaks volumes.

ANDY ENRIGHT