Kia Magentis 2006 Review
The Magentis is the first car to be launched by the new Kia Motor Australia, with the Korean manufacturer taking over the Australian distribution in March.
The company acknowledges there's work to be done in improving the Kia reputation. High levels of standard specification as well as "segment leading value" are among its plans, and it starts with the Magentis.
It's not exactly a standout in the looks and performance departments, but Kia's new family sedan has a good list of safety features and equipment and in a time of rising petrol prices, records good fuel economy.
The Magentis, which takes over from the outgoing Optima, is available in three models, with two specification levels of a 2.4-litre, four cylinder engine, delivering 119kW at 6000rpm and 221Nm at 4250rpm and a more powerful 2.7-litre, V6 model, producing 138kW at 6000rpm and 247Nm at 4000rpm.
It shares architecture with the Hyundai Sonata but has an all-new body with a longer wheelbase, a stiffer body shell and new suspension systems.
Its average appearance is most likely to appeal to a more conservative market. Metallic paint spices things up, but only slightly and comes at an extra $250. The base EX model, priced at $25,990 for the five-speed manual or $27,490 for a five speed automatic, comes standard with cloth seat trim, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, an MP3 compatible radio/CD player with steering wheel controls, power door mirrors, power windows, cruise control and automatic headlights.
The EX-Luxury, available with a five-speed automatic transmission as standard, offers leather interior trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, a leather covered steering wheel and shift knob, electronic controls on the driver's seat and full climate control. It's priced at $29,490. The range-topping EX-L V6, at $31,490, adds dual chromed tailpipes and V6 badging.
On the interior, the different shapes and aluminium trim found on the luxury models makes it look a little basic and cheap in style.
The dash is also quite short, offering the front passenger more leg room, but on the downside positions the centre controls further away than usual. In terms of safety, the Magentis is well-equipped and has ABS with EBD, emergency brake assist, electronic stability program (ESP) with traction control, dual front SRS airbags and side SRS airbags.
Safety seems to be something Kia is particularly proud of in this car, and a quick test around the skid pan at Eastern Creek Raceway showed the benefits of driving with ESP.
Kia positions the Magentis against the Mazda6, Subaru Liberty, Honda Accord VTi and Toyota Camry as competitors. While it won't undergo safety testing until the end of this month, Kia anticipates a four-star Euro-NCAP crash test rating for its newest vehicle, following in the fashion of the Kia Carnival.
It records a combined claimed fuel consumption of 8.6 litres/100km for the four cylinder engine and a claimed 9.3 litres/100km for the V6, making it the most fuel efficient petrol V6 in the medium segment under $55,000. The 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine feels more enjoyable to drive than the V6, and is where Kia believes most volumes will be sold. The V6 feels a little sluggish, taking longer to reach the desired speed, and not as exciting as a V6 should be.
But the majority of Magentis owners will not be too concerned about the negatives, particularly the performance, but will accentuate the positives of this affordable family sedan.
Added to that list of positives is the Magentis' five-year/130,000km warranty and a full-sized alloy spare on all models. So for a basic, reliable car on a budget, the Magentis is worth a look.
Range and Specs
Lowest price, based on 3 car listings in the last 6 months