We have been talking about the Kia Stinger for quite a while. And to be honest, Kia for quite a while. And the whole Korea car thing.
On one hand, you have cars created by a company that has been learning how to get things right almost a decade at a time. This is a good thing, because they concentrated on really learning things or acquiring the abilities they needed. But they did all this without necessarily being a slave to their marketing mantras. Many people felt that the at-the-time-upstart Korean cars were just trying to make products that most people would want. They set a goal, such as learning production or understanding engine development or acquiring design daring, and they went for it.
The Stinger on our cover is just one example of how this process works. You have, by the numbers, a car that will bang against every barrier there is on the stats side. You can quote this spec or that one, and the car clearly has its cred. It is also very eye-catching and makes people decide very early on how they feel about it. And it’s usually considered pretty spot-on for a nice, hot four-door. Which most of the market isn’t really looking for. According to many modern car companies, people who want sedans in this market are looking for the sportiness or the luxury they can’t really get in the SUV/Crossover range. We forget how wonderfully balanced a good sedan can truly be.
So, the four-door configuration has become the emotional rather than the practical buy for many. Look around. Even Camrys, once considered the indication that the US market was done with sedans by many automotive journalists, are swoopier and more dynamic.
And this is where Kia is with this car. It is clearly attention-getting and aggressively styled. It is meant to put a smile on your face and a little extra gravity to your right foot, but it doesn’t go the whole hot-hatch “we’re going to hurt you” route. It is a car you get for yourself, because you know what you want and what you will enjoy most. It probably won’t spend all day every day on the track braking deep into corners and coming out hot, but it could do that once in a while, perhaps. This is all great news because it is a sign that the brands are treating the consumers as increasingly intelligent and discerning buyers. Which, let us face it, hasn’t always been the case. Some of the old names still do things that make you wonder. There’s even a web-based ad now we were trying to figure out, deciding whether or not the company was actually misleading the viewer about a safety feature. Kind of a letter versus spirit of the law thing. Which we really think shouldn’t happen.
This newly-arrived Stinger is meant to send a message. To say that Kia is still punching hard and their new distribution arm is serious. All good things in the industry and consumer side. The fact that the guys think the car is so fun is an added bonus. Nice to see that passion and daring still count.