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Kia is fielding a formidable foe against the Camry with its Magentis mid-sized sedan

9 Aug 2006

WE may have laughed at Kia’s previous mid-sized offerings – the medieval Credos of 1998, followed by the invisible Optima duo sold here sporadically since 2001 – but now the South Koreans are deadly serious with the Magentis. OK, so it’s a Kia with another funny name, but only a fool would ignore a pleasantly presented medium-sized sedan brimming with an alphabet soup of safety-related acronyms – including ESP – and a load of standard features, all for mid-range small-car cash. And did we mention the new five-year warranty and upcoming Magentis CRD turbo-diesel for under $30K?
Model release date: 1 August 2006 to 1 March 2010

Previous model

Kia GD Optima Series II

Released: April 2004
Ended: July 2006
Family Tree: Magentis

AS odorous as the Optima II was to look at and drive, at least it wasn’t hashed up from a creaky 1980s Mazda 626 base like the Credos that preceded it. Spun off the 1998 EF Sonata platform, the Optima at least benefited from vaguely contemporary underpinnings. Power came courtesy of Hyundai’s rugged 2.7-litre Delta V6, producing 132kW and 245Nm. It drove the front wheels via a four-speed automatic gearbox. Still, buyers did get plenty of faux luxury for the loot, as well as a reasonably quiet and smooth ride to boot, as a consolation to the social death that invariably awaited.

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