With the early release of an all-new 2007 model planned, the Magentis undergoes no changes for 2006, except that the LX Anniversary Edition of 2005 is now simply named the LX. Prices do not change from 2005 levels.

Seated between the mid-range Kia Spectra and the top-of-the-line Amanti, the Magentis is known as the Optima in the U.S. It is a sister car to the 2005 Hyundai Sonata, but does not yet share that 2006 model’s all-new platform.

The Magentis is a bargain-priced, quasi-luxury car, packed with features at a relatively low price. The LX uses a 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder; the LX-V6 and EX-V6, obviously, move up to a 2.7-litre V6.

The LX comes with a five-speed manual (a four-speed automatic can be added for $1,000), along with air conditioning, power sunroof, power windows with one-touch-down on front, cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel, CD player with six speakers, illuminated entry system, 15-inch wheels and floor mats.

The LX-V6, along with the larger engine, adds the automatic transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, 16-inch alloy wheels, woodgrain interior trim, and fog lamps.

The EX-V6 adds side-impact air bags, leather interior with heated seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, body side skirts and chrome accents.

While it’s easier on the budget, the four-cylinder is at odds with the car’s elegant styling and upscale interior; it’s buzzy and noisy, with a rough idle, and it’s light on power when you need it. The V6 is a much smoother and better choice. Steering is a bit vague, and the car tends to be front-end light on the highway. The interior is spacious but the seats are hard, and the vent controls are smaller and tougher to move than they need to be. Look forward to the all-new model, which, if it’s anything like the 2006 Hyundai Sonata, should definitely address all of those concerns.

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