NEW FOR 2009:

– Redesigned exterior and interior
– More powerful four- and six-cylinder engines
– Standard electronic stability and traction control

For 2009, the Kia Magentis undergoes a mild facelift, with new grille, bumpers, fog lamps, headlamps and side garnish; inside, there’s a new centre fascia and door panels. Both engines receive a power boost, with an additional 13 horsepower and 5 lb-ft of torque in the four-cylinder, and an extra 9 horsepower and 2 lb-ft of torque in the V6.

Sold as the Optima in the U.S., the Magentis is a sister car to the Hyundai Sonata. It comes with a choice of 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder, or 2.7-litre V6. The base 2.4-litre LX comes with a five-speed manual transmission; it can be optioned to a five-speed automatic that’s the sole choice on all other models. Trim levels are the LX, LX Premium and LX Leather with the four-cylinder, and LX-V6 and LX-V6 Luxury with the six-cylinder.

Features on the LX include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, CD player, tilt wheel with audio controls, cruise control, power locks with keyless entry, power windows with auto up/down driver’s side, variable intermittent wipers, wiper de-icer, overhead sunglass holder, heated cloth seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, anti-whiplash front head restraints, electronic stability control, traction control, and floor mats.

The LX Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, tilt and telescopic wheel, power sunroof, fog lamps, and eight-way power driver’s seat.

The LX Leather adds leather upholstery, leather-wrapped wheel, sport mesh grille, black headlamp bezels, and aluminum interior accents.

The LX-V6 is similar to the LX, but also includes 16-inch alloy wheels and fog lamps.

The LX-V6 Luxury adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, electric stability control, Sirius satellite radio, leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic wheel, power-adjustable pedals, power sunroof, sport mesh grille, black headlamp bezels, solar glass, backlit LED temperature display, auto-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, digital compass, leather upholstery, aluminum interior accents, and eight-way power driver’s seat.

The Magentis’ power boost adds to this model’s appeal; the four-cylinder is now a viable contender both in performance, and in cheaper buy-in and fuel costs. It’s a comfortable car and feels sportier, both in its powerplant and its handling, to its Sonata sibling, but test-drive both before you choose.

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