This week I chatted to Kia Motors South Africa CEO, Gary Scott. And lucky for us, it wasn’t only about one car.
I have two cars in the garage: a Blue Flame Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX+ and a Hi Chroma Red Stinger GT.The Sportage is my wife’s daily driver and, on weekends and excursions, I tend to drive us as a family. It is a C-segment SUV. The Stinger is my current company car – it is a D-size sedan, which sounds quite boring but is, in fact, very far from the truth! Size and performance wise, it is closest to an Audi S5.
The Sportage has a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine and is surprisingly nippy. This suits my wife having to juggle work and the school, sports and social lives of three demanding kids!
The Stinger has a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 pushing 272 kW and 510 Nm through the rear wheels. With a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds, it’s a wonderful tool to recalibrate the perceptions of the KIA brand among the ‘vrrr paaah’ brigade. As some owners have shown us, the chassis and transmission can easily handle a lot more power.
The Sportage has always been the least conservative model in the SUV segment. Its premium design appeals to those with an eye for detail, with a fairly even split in appeal between male and female buyers. It was facelifted recently, and received an 8-speed auto gearbox as the most notable mechanical upgrade.
The Stinger was brought in to celebrate KIA’s 20-year anniversary in South Africa. We offered a limited run of 25 units to the public (all taken up!), and had a handful of marketing units – including the one I am driving. For us it is a showcase of what the brand is capable of, with a lot of the tech finding its way into our more mainstream offerings. It is a super comfortable mobile office and turns heads every day on the road, for that built-in Rockstar vibe. People think it is Maserati or a Jaguar. I love it!
My wife and I chose the Sportage together. Coming from KIA’s state-of-the-art factory in Slovakia, it has that “hewn-from-granite” build quality that is hard to match even in the premium SUV segment. I am very happy with the active and safety packages, as well as the handling characteristics, to transport my brats comfortably, safely and stylishly. Apart from the standard service plan and industry-leading unlimited kilometre factory warranty, Sportage tends to hold value well, so it will be an easy early upgrade when the next generation comes along.
The Stinger’s best feature is its surprisingly comfortable ride and cossetting ambience. And the surplus of power and handling prowess definitely inspires confidence – I tend to arrive at my destination feeling fresh.
The Stinger is POA – we have not officially secured any more allocation beyond our limited run that we sold direct to the public using an “executive concierge” concept. I could be enticed to bring special orders in. 100% deposit secures!
The Sportage has a range wide enough for every pocket and need. We start at just over R400k for the Ignite and this model is our range topper at R578k.