1 Apr 1996
The handsome third generation Magna series was an all-new car, with improved space, refinement, dynamics and equipment levels, while for the first time there was a greater emphasis on the now locally made V6.
The modern Euro aero styling featured Subaru-style frameless doors. Only two models were initially released, the Executive and well-specified Altera.
A new 105kW 2.4L EFI four-cylinder engine finally laid the long-serving 2.6L Astron unit to rest, while the new 3.0L V6 now pumped out 140kW of power.
Transmissions – a four-speed auto or five-speed manual – were also completely new.
The redesigned rear suspension (now an advanced multi-link set-up for finer ride and handling qualities), better brakes and weight-saving cast aluminium sub-frame boosted the Magna’s driver appeal significantly.
In September ’96 slow four-cylinder sales prompted a limited edition Magna Challenge model. The Magna Advance, with ABS and a driver’s airbag, slotted under the Altera in November ’96, while the Altera LS became the luxury TE model.
Meanwhile, the old TS wagon soldiered on until March ’97 when the new generation, locally designed wagon was released, and was offered on all model variants. Which means that the TE Magna wagon only lasted for three months, which must be a short production model record.