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First look: Kia’s next Magentis emerges

Optimum Optima: Kia's new Magentis - known as the Optima in the US - will slip out of the shadows in the Big Apple in April.

New Magentis surfaces as next-generation mid-size sedan readied for a New York debut

22 Feb 2010

NEXT week’s Geneva motor show will play host to a bevy of world automotive debuts, including that of Kia’s all-new Sportage, but now the Korean car-maker has previewed a global premiere that won’t take place until exactly a month later at the New York motor show on April 2.

Revealed here in official images for the first time, the redesigned Kia Magentis is due on sale in Australia from late this year, following its October release in the US – where it is known as the Optima – but ahead of its European launch around March 2011.

The next-generation Magentis will be Kia’s first all-new mid-size sedan to reach Australia since August 2006, when the current model replaced the even more unloved Optima.

Magentis sales were 40 per cent down in 2009, when just 276 examples were sold in Australia. The facelifted version revealed at the 2008 New York show is not available here.

Judging by the first design renderings, Kia’s next Magentis will bring significant advances in styling, while an new platform should ensure the new Kia mid-sizer also brings dynamic advances.

Designed under Peter Schreyer, Kia says its “completely transformed” medium sedan is new from the ground up and “embodies a bold, athletic and sporty visual energy”.

17 center imageBased on the same underpinnings as the all-new Sonata from parent company Hyundai – which will relaunch its new medium sedan here within months, badged as the ‘i45’ – Kia says its new Magentis is longer, lower and wider than before.

“The new Magentis features a significantly longer wheelbase and will offer considerably more space for both people and luggage,” it said in today’s press release.

As with Hyundai’s Sonata replacement, the next Magentis will come exclusively with a version of the i45’s new direct-injection ‘GDI’ 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering about 150kW and 245Nm – up from 119kW/221Nm in the current Magentis. Similarly, six-speed transmissions should replace the five-speed manual and automatic gearboxes currently on offer.

The new Magentis should cap a busy year for Kia in Australia, where the facelifted ‘Schreyer-look’ Rio light-car has just been released. An updated Grand Carnival is due to follow in April, with the new Sportage expected on sale here mid-year, the hatch version of the new Cerato small car set for a September launch and a V6 version of the new Sorento medium SUV due in October.

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