NEW FOR 2008:

– 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine increased by 1 horsepower (to 162)
– Stereo auxiliary jack added

An all-new model in 2007, the Kia Magentis is virtually unchanged for 2008, save for the horsepower rating, and a new stereo jack to accommodate music players.

Known as the Optima in the U.S., the Magentis is a sister car to the Hyundai Sonata. It comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder or 2.7-litre V6. The 2.4-litre comes with a five-speed manual in the base LX model, which can be optioned to a five-speed automatic transmission; the LX Premium and all V6 models use the automatic exclusively.

Features on the LX include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, heated cloth seats, CD stereo with wheel-mounted controls, tilt column, cruise control, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, variable intermittent wipers, 60/40 split folding rear seat, and floor mats.

The LX Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, electronic stability control, tilt and telescopic column, power sunroof, fog lamps, and eight-way power driver’s seat. It can further be optioned with a leather package.

The LX-V6 is similar to the LX, but adds 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, and tilt and telescopic wheel.

The LX-V6 Luxury adds 17-inch alloy wheels, stability control, automatic climate control, leather seats with eight-way power driver’s adjustment, leather-wrapped wheel, power-adjustable pedals, power sunroof, windshield wiper de-icers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, compass and outside temperature gauge.

The Magentis’ redesign is a good one, and this is a solid player in the midsize sedan market. The four-cylinder can be underpowered when called upon, and the smooth-running V6 is a better choice. The manufacturer’s specifications allow towing up to 454 kg (1000 lbs) without trailer brakes, and 907 kg (2000 lbs) with trailer brakes, but only with the four-cylinder with manual transmission or the V6; towing is not recommended for the four-cylinder with automatic. While it is directly related to the Hyundai Sonata, there are some key differences, including the front suspension, V6 engine and interior, so it’s important to test-drive both before you choose.

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