Thursday, September 16, 2010

2007-2009 Kia Magentis

My first car review since August. For the first of the cars will be a Kia Magentis.

Introduction: The Kia Magentis was first introduced in 2000 as a replacement for the Mazda based Credos. The Kia Magentis is mostly a re-badge of the Hyundai Sonata with minor differences. Since 2009 Kia has decided to take a slightly different route by altering Kia's styling and interior styling from its Hyundai parent.

Yes, the Kia Magentis does not have a very interesting nor long enough history. Its no surprise that when I first encountered it I didn't have much interest in it.

Performance: The standard early Kia Magentis are equipped with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that develops 162 hp and 164 lb.ft of torque. In 2009 the Kia Magentis got an update in its 4-cylinder where the engine now produces 175 hp and 169 lb.ft of torque. The early Magentis was capable of acceleration from 0-100 km/h in a bit over 9 seconds while the newer 2009-2010 Magentis was able to accelerate from 0-100 in a bit under 9 seconds. The older Magentis engine was not very exciting nor felt very refined, the noisy drone was present. The newer Magentis engine felt a bit more refined although it overall didn't change perception of the car very much.

My Score(both): 5/10 - A mediocre engine, not very exciting in both versions.

Handling: Starting with the older Magentis, unfortunately the car handled a lot like how the engine felt...boring. The steering on the old Magentis feels particularly numb and feels disconnected. It doesn't inspire any confidence in the corners, you might even back off because of how very little information the wheel gives you. Ride comfort was surprisingly disappointing given how the car isn't able to carve out corners. Its a bit choppy when driving over rougher roads. When given the wheel of the new Magentis, things are a little big different. The wheel no longer has the same numb feeling and disconnected feel the older car had. The wheel is still as light as the old one but the turning feels more sharper and thus you're more confident to take the car into the corner. The ride comfort is also nicer than the older car surprisingly despite its improvement in performance. The newer Magentis feels much nicer to drive over the old one but it doesn't feel as sporty as other midsized sedans nor is the most comfortable.

My Score(2007-2008): 3/10 - Numb, inert, feels disconnected, not that comfortable thus makes driving very boring

My Score(2009): 7/10 - Decent steering feel, better cornering, better ride comfort but still a bit lacking though.

Interior: Once again starting with the old Magentis. The interior is unfortunately very boring and not a particularly nice place to be. Its a sea full of dull grey and black plastics, none of which looks very nice and none of which looks like material of quality. The seats don't feel all that comfortable. The stereo like all older Kia and Hyundai vehicles is awful to use and listen to. Fortunately interior space is decent so is trunk space. With the newer Magentis a few changes have been made. Most of the dull grey plastic was removed. The stereo was also replaced with a newer unit with red display to fit with the newer white and red dash gauges. The plastic quality has also been stepped up a notch. The seat is still a bit firm but not as stiff as the older seat. I didn't find the Magentis interior to be as good as the Sonata's interior redesign, a sense Hyundai gave Kia little money. Still, its a bigger improvement over the older boring one. The build quality in both cars are pretty good, both cars are built in Hwasung, South Korea.

My Score(2007-2008): 3/10 - Depressing, low quality plastics, a rubbish stereo, not very comfortable seats and overall very boring but its at least reasonably spacious.

My Score(2009): 6/10 - Decent level of plastic, a nicer environment, better stereo but compared to other vehicles just a average interior.

Styling: With the old Magentis, much like everything else I've said about it this car looks so dull. This particular styling is so anonymous that I'm sure people can point out each part that looks similar to some other cars. It appears Kia spent no money to style this car probably due to the problems from the old Magentis which was styled but not very well. The newer one again changes things up. The headlights are much more aggressive and sharper than the dull round ones from the older car. The grille is now Kia's signature grille and it actually goes quite well with the newer front styling. The rear is a little bit more conventional and looks a lot like a Honda Accord, while it goes well with the front considering how different it looks there...I was hoping Kia would also do the same to the rear. Still, its good that Kia wants to change its image.

My Score(2007-2008): 1/10 - So boring, you can tell nobody bothered to style it.

My Score(2009): 7/10 - Front end looks nice and different, rear is still on the boring side.

Value for money: The Kia lineup in general has never been bad value for your money. Whatever Kia is often always the cheapest in its class and if that's all that matters to you then they're usually worth it. The older Magentis is so anonymous that as a used car its a bit of a bargain often lower than 13K for one that has a bit above 60,000 kms. The newer one because its better doesn't suffer the same bargain. The problem the newer car has to deal with is its sibling the Sonata. The 2009 Sonata is just as inexpensive but overall a much better car and a nicer car to be in. Unless Kia offers a nice deal on a Optima, it'll be overshadowed unless one likes its looks over the generic looking Sonata.

My Score(2007-2008): 8/10 - Very cheap to buy, even cheaper to buy used.

My Score(2009): 6/10 - Its Hyundai sibling the Sonata is nearly as cheap but overall better in every way, its best hope is on its looks.

Overall(2007-2008): 20/50 - A below average car, its just too bland and boring.

Overall(2009): 32/50 - Much better than the older one, sadly it suffers from not being as good as the 2009 Sonata.

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