Ase­ri­ous stepup

The Ma­gen­tis aimed to im­prove Kia’s im­age, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

IModel watch

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.

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