The Kia Stinger packs some punch with a twin-turbo V6 under the bonnet.
The Kia Stinger packs some punch with a twin-turbo V6 under the bonnet.

Which car can replace my V8 Commodore?

THE QUESTION

I have a 2015 V8 Holden Commodore which I love but need to replace in March. I am thinking of getting a Ford Mustang. Do you have any ideas about a car like the V8 Commodore? I drive about 35,000km a year.

Clare Dewan, email

THE ANSWER

Can you wait until July? If you can, then you can add the right-hand drive version of the Chevrolet Camaro to your shopping list. We're still very light on details, including an all-important price that's certain to be above the Ford Mustang, but it's something to think about. Still, the reality of cars like yours is that they are turning into dinosaurs. Big, muscular, rear-wheel drive cars are in retreat in most countries and the loss of the Commodore and Falcon in Australia is a reflection of that trend. There are still V8 sedans and coupes in the US. South Korea could be a surprising saviour with the Kia Stinger. It's a full-size sporty sedan with coupe styling and a turbo option that matches the outputs of your Commodore in a modern package.

THE CHOICES

FORD MUSTANG GT, from about $63,000 drive-away

If you're not a rock-solid Holden person then the Mustang, after the death of the Falcon, makes a lot of sense. It's not cheap when you go for the V8 to match your Commodore package and you will have to get along without back doors. But it's a surprisingly refined drive and the waiting list has been cleared for instant deliveries.

CHRYSLER 300C, from about $59,900 drive-away

It's more of a limo-bus than a sports sedan but the gangsta looks of the big C are impressive. It gets along well enough if you avoid lots of twists and turns. It's as practical as a Commodore, although let down a little by American-style seats and second-grade cabin quality. The basic car has a V6 but if you spend $65,000 on the SRT you get a thumping 6.4-litre Hemi V8.

300C: Gangsta looks and massive Hemi V8.
300C: Gangsta looks and massive Hemi V8.

KIA STINGER 330S, from about $54,000 drive-away

Don't think about the basic four-cylinder car and go straight to the 272kW twin-turbo V6 that claims 4.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint. The Stinger has a great name, a practical cabin, a giant rear hatch and rear-wheel drive for enjoyable motoring. The 330S sits in the sweet spot for driving and specification with a drive-away price of about $53,500.

Stinger: Practical cabin and twin-turbo V6.
Stinger: Practical cabin and twin-turbo V6.

WILDCARD

Chevrolet Camaro, no price yet

The all-American two-door has finally been confirmed for Australian sales, although not until the second half of next year. It will be sold with Chevrolet badges through HSV dealers - HSV is doing the right-hand drive conversion - and it will be the SS specification with V8. The final details and pricing will not come until much closer to the on-sale date.

Camaro: Supercharged 6.2-litre V8 and right-hand drive conversion by HSV.
Camaro: Supercharged 6.2-litre V8 and right-hand drive conversion by HSV.

THE VERDICT

Kia wasn't aiming the Stinger at the Commodore but has created a car that fits easily into the same slot. It's big, comfortable and practical and backed by a great warranty. The twin-turbo gets along briskly and it has old-school rear-wheel drive. It's a winner.



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