Used Kia Magentis review: 2006-2008
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If the early cars Kia launched here were rather cheap and cheerful chariots the Magentis was a car that signaled the company's intention to become a more serious player on the local motoring landscape.
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 squarely at the middle ground of the market that was occupied by cars like the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Honda Accord, a tough gig in any language, but it was well equipped for the task.
While looking to move away from the cheap-and-cheerful image it had from its launch Kia nevertheless stuck to the concept of value-for- money through a long list of standard features while still delivering a more desirable car.
The Magentis 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 boasted double overhead camshafts with variable valve timing for good flexibility across the rev range. At its peaks it developed 119 kW at 6000 revs and 221 Nm 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 138 kW at 6000 revs and 247 Nm 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 air-conditioning, remote central locking, power mirrors and windows, trip computer, cruise, CD player and 16-inch 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.
IN THE SHOP
The Magentis was a major step up in quality from the Optima it replaced and that's reflected in the fit and finish, the feel and the driving experience. It's also reflected in the reliability owners have experienced.
The few complaints from owners have been minor rather than anything of a major nature. Make the usual checks for crash repairs and ask for a service record to make sure the maintenance has been kept up.
IN A CRASH
Kia fitted the Magentis with an impressive array of safety gear, including six airbags, anti-skid brakes and electronic stability control. It was so well equipped that ANCAP awarded it four stars when it was crash tested.
UNDER THE PUMP
Kia claimed the 2.4-litre Magentis would return an average of 8.1 L/ 100 km and the V6 9.3 L/100 km. Cars Guide readers report they get on average 8.5-9.5 L/100 km.
One reader has run his on E10 and says it gets 11.1 litres/100 km on the ethanol blend, compared to about 9.8 L/100 km on regular unleaded.
Facing retirement Bob Archibald decided to downsize from his petrol- guzzling ED Falcon to a smaller, more economical car. After finding the prices of cars like the Camry and Accord too steep he settled on the 2.4-litre Magentis EX. He was very impressed by the warranty and the safety features it had, but also the roomy cabin and large boot, as well as the responsiveness of the four-cylinder motor and smoothness of the auto. A year on from the purchase he couldn't be happier with it, he says it has been reliable, economic and fun to drive.
John Williams needed a new car quickly after his other car had been damaged in a hailstorm and he settled on a 2006 Magentis EX. He admits being worried by the cheap and cheerful tag associated with KIA, but decided to take the chance anyway and he has been more than pleasantly surprised. So far it's done 55,000 km and he has had to have a leaking timing chain cover attended to, he's replaced the rear brake pads, and there's a so far undiagnosed knock coming from the rear of the car. He's critical of the cruise, the take-up of the auto that allows the car to roll backwards on an incline, but says they're minor.
. Pleasant styling
. Roomy cabin
. Good boot
. Full-sized spare
. Willing four
. Much improved quality
. Plenty of equipment
THE BOTTOM LINE
Reliable and refined mid-sized sedan with a high level of equipment and impressive safety.
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Range and Specs
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