Some cars are difficult to sum up succinctly, but the Kia Stinger is not like that. Wow is the word that happily captures most of its turbocharged talents.

Not that long ago the Korean carmaker was known purely for providing mass-market transport rooted in value.

But take one glance at the Stinger, Kia's first grand tourer and first rear-wheel-drive car in Europe and it is clear that has all changed.

Stepping into a completely new sector for Kia, the five-door fastback aims to evoke the feel of the golden age of sleek 1970s grand tourers and judging by its ability to turn heads it achieves its objective effortlessly.

With its long bonnet, short front overhang, long wheelbase, cabin positioned towards the rear of the car and lengthy rear overhang, this is a car that oozes design, technology and, crucially, desirability.

But as elegant as the Stinger is to look at, it is its ride and handling that make it a real class act.

The three large, powerful turbocharged engines available for the Stinger are all ideally suited to its role as a long-distance tourer. The car driven here was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine that develops 244 horsepower, ample to deliver swift acceleration and easy cruising.

A 2.2-litre diesel and 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 are also available and all are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with an electronic drive selector to let you switch between driving modes at the touch of a button.

Far from being a hard-nosed sports car, the Stinger delivers an exceptionally comfortable ride, with nicely-weighted steering and hugely powerful brakes, an ideal combination for long-distance travel.

It is available in three trim grades, all of them seriously upmarket. The GT-Line specification model driven here you slip into a low-slung, electrically-adjustable, heated driver’s seat in a luxurious cocoon of leather. The leather-trimmed, wing-shaped dashboard is broken only by the eight-inch touchscreen for the navigation and infotainment system and leather also adorns the door armrests, the flat-bottom steering wheel and gearshift.

Between the front seats sits an aluminium-finish centre console with a chrome strip running all the way around the cabin, suede-feel roof lining, satin chrome interior door handles, alloy pedals, stainless steel door scuff plates and five spoked circular air vents.

With loads of space for five adults and a seriously capacious luggage space, every model has twin-zone automatic air conditioning, a seven-inch digital display and a head-up display which allows key information – speed, navigation instructions and audio, cruise control and blind spot detection information –  to be projected on to the windscreen.  

All models also come with a DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth with music streaming. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also offer voice control.

While the Stinger might have retro looks it packs plenty of the latest technology on board including emergency braking, which automatically intervenes to stop the car if you fail to respond to a potential accident.

Also fitted is lane keep assist to prevent you accidentally drifting into an adjoining lane; high beam assist to adjust the headlights; a camera-operated driver attention warning that advises when it is time to take a break and a speed limit information system.  

If the wow factor from the South Korean-built Stinger isn’t enough to woo you then remember it still has the same seven-year/100,000-mile transferable warranty that covers all the company's other models.

Auto facts

Model: Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDI GT-Line

Price: £31,995

Insurance group: 34 (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 35.8mpg

Top speed: 149mph

Length: 483cm/189.6in

Width: 187cm/73.4in

Luggage capacity: 14.3 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres

CO2 emissions: 191 g/km

Warranty: Seven years/ 100,000 miles