While the mid-grade Si and top-grade GT-Line and GT variants carry the maximum five-star result, the entry-level Stinger S only managed to record a three-star score owing to its difference in specification.
Kia Australia was brief in its response to queries from TMR, offering “no comment” in relation to the results.
While every Stinger sold throughout Europe and New Zealand comes with a five-star recommendation, Kia Australia’s controversial decision to strip autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assistance systems from the base model prevented the sub-$50,000 Stinger S from sharing full marks with more expensive models in both V6 and four-cylinder form.
The lower rating for the Stinger S is a direct result of its lack of ‘safety assist’ technology, as its physical occupant protection does not differ from higher-grade versions and is sufficient for a five-star rating.
The car was tested by the more stringent Euro NCAP body as a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel model not available in Australia, though ANCAP used computer modelling and manufacturer data to extend the result to Australia’s petrol four-cylinder and V6 models.
Reportedly Kia considered having the model tested by ANCAP in Australia before choosing to test the car in Europe.
While the majority of Stinger orders have so far been for the five-star Stinger Si and GT variants, ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin says the Stinger falls short of customer expectations.
“As a new market entrant, the Kia Stinger has generated a lot of public interest and consumers should expect a five-star safety rating for this calibre of vehicle,” Goodwin says.
“Australasian customers should feel let down that important safety features are being left out of the vehicles we’re being supplied. We would urge Kia to offer the same safety specification across all variants and all markets to ensure the best safety outcomes.”
Goodwin urged Kia to revisit the Stinger’s safety specification or remove the base model from its range.
“Australasian consumers have come to expect five-star safety and, for this calibre of vehicle and at this price-point, there should be no safety exceptions – five stars should be the minimum safety rating offered across all variants,” he said.
“We would urge Kia to either upgrade the S variants or delete them from their Australian model line-up.”