Kia Magentis 2007 Review
The Magentis has replaced the ordinary Optima, and it is much more than simply a half-decent model rejig.
Initial impressions, from the driving position to the feel of the wheel, had all the hallmarks of a surprise packet, and the Magentis was not deceiving us.
After tooling around in the Magentis between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and out to rural Norwell among the cane fields for a week, there was enough evidence to conclude this is the genuine article.
There is a V6 and a four-cylinder engine and both went through the road-test garage.
Overall, the Magentis is refined, well built and, if you can handle the plain-Jane exterior, it is on the pace in just about every area.
For $31,490, as tested, the V6 is a whole lot of car with a lot of kit in the mix.
It is all dressed up with everywhere to go.
There is a nice balance of soft and hard plastics inside, easy-to-interpret controls, comfortable seats and a fair amount of room for rear passenger comfort.
It is generously appointed with all the gear such as trip computers that give you the important read-outs, steering wheel-mounted cruise control, alloy wheels with a full-size spare and MP3-compatible audio system. There is a long list of active and passive safety gear that makes more expensive brands look of questionable value.
Traction control, ABS, electronic brake distribution, ESP stability control, active head restraints, and the list goes on.
It's all there and occupants are protected by airbags all-round, including side and curtain.
In automatic trim (with the sequential manual gate), the Magentis 2.7-litre V6 is quiet and refined. Although there didn't seem to be a whole lot of difference in performance, the four-cylinder car seemed a little perkier and a little better synchronised in city traffic.
Fuel economy alone, which was almost a litre per 100km better, would be enough to tip buyers into the four, not to mention the savings on registration and insurance. As tested, the four-cylinder in EX-L luxury pack trim adds leather, 17-inch alloys, climate control, eight-way power driver's seat, faux aluminium trim, foglights and the five-speed automatic with tiptronic sequential shift as standard. Make no mistake, this is more than worthy to take on Toyota's four-cylinder Camry launched last year.
There are times when cruising in the Magentis that you feel like you're in a $40,000 premium saloon. And this is no surprise if you know the model's history.
Part of the refinement is explained by the Magentis heritage. It is a relative of the outstanding Hyundai Sonata and is loosely based on that car. There was a degree of tyre roar coming off the 17-inch Michelins on the four-cylinder variant.
Fuel consumption was around 8.2L/100km for this test of stress-free, low-rev driving while the V6 returned around 9L/100km.
The Magentis is reasonably well damped with good body control and neutral handling.
Overall, it is a highly respectable unit which would hold its own against any immediate rival. In terms of a safe, highly kitted-out package the Magentis has few peers.
The base four-cylinder Magentis starts at $25,990 ($29,490 for the EX-L luxury pack), rising to $31,490 for the V6.
Some may be dismissive of Kia products based on past experiences with various models, but the Magentis is one to seriously consider and quite possibly the best passenger car the Korean firm has made.
Range and Specs
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data