The Magentis aimed to improve Kia’s image, writes Graham Smith
F THE early cars Kia launched here were cheap and cheerful chariots the Magentis signaled the company’s intention to become a more serious player.
A distant cousin of the Hyundai Sonata with many shared components, the Magentis replaced the unloved Optima in 2006 and brought a new level of quality and driving experience to the company’s range. THE Magentis was aimed at the middle ground of the market that was occupied by cars such as the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Honda Accord, a tough gig in any language, but it was well equipped for the task.
It was an attractive, front-wheel- drive, four-door sedan with a roomy cabin and large boot, and two models, the EX and the EX-L, or Luxury.
As the entry level model the EX had a four-cylinder engine, but the EX-L could also be had with a V6 for a little more punch.
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder had double overhead camshafts with variable valve timing for good flexibility across the rev range.
At its peak it developed 119kW at 6000 revs and 221Nm at 4250 revs, enough to make it a willing performer. For some road testers the four was a better choice than the 2.7-litre V6 engine available in the EX-L, which lacked the low-end punch of an engine of its size and type. When delivering its best the V6 produced 138kW at 6000 revs and 247Nm at 4000 revs.
EX buyers could choose between a five-speed manual and a five-speed auto, but those who chose the EX-L got the auto standard.
Buyers of the base EX got airconditioning, remote central locking, power mirrors and windows, trip computer, cruise, CD player and 16inch alloys.
Those who stepped up to the EX-L also got leather trim, power driver seat, fog lamps and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Both models had a split-fold rear seat and a full-sized spare wheel.
On the lot
YOU can buy the four-cylinder EX for $ 9500-$ 12,500. Add another $2000 and you can have the EXLuxury. For the EX-Luxury with the 2.7-litre V6 you will have to pay $13,000-$15,500.
In the shop
THE Magentis was a major step up in quality from the Optima and that’s reflected in the fit and finish, the feel and the driving experience.