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ROAD TEST
Elvis Festival
2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Kia Magentis EX-L 2.7 V6

by Ian Barrett

14th May, 2008

Kia Magentis EX-L 2.7 V6 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

Early this year we brought Next Car readers a road test on Kia's mid-sized Magentis, a very stylish family sedan which we found to offer excellent value compared to other more fancied - and expensive - runners from Japan, Europe and the USA. That car was the 2.4-litre four. We've now had an opportunity to sample the V6 engined version of the Magentis. We can happily report an equally - in fact an even more - satisfying experience. In almost every respect the V6-engined car is identical, but those small differences do make a big difference!

Let's just recap the main story, as the saying goes. Kia's Magentis is a medium 5-seater sedan which competes in size with the likes of the VW Jetta, Honda Accord Euro and Mazda 6, to name just a few. Even the entry level EX version is a relatively refined and responsive package which offers class-leading value. Try standard features like ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) and ABS, the security of six airbags (dual front, side and curtain) and 'active' head restraints, together with automatic light-sensing headlights and cruise control. The auto-on headlights are a nice touch, but could do with some fine tuning, as they switch on somewhat later than we'd prefer. Other cosmetic and creature comforts include 16" alloy wheels (including full-sized spare), speed-sensitive power steering, air conditioning (with pollen filter), central locking with remote keyless entry, 180W/6-speaker CD/MP3 audio system, 5-function trip computer, front and rear power windows, rear centre armrest and sunglasses holder. All from $25,990, plus on-road costs.

But we know you'll want more! And that's where the EX-L steps in. The 'L for Luxury' version of the Magentis is a very complete package which adds exterior niceties such as fog lamps, dual exhausts (V6 only) and 17" alloys shod with 215/50x17 Michelins. But it's when you step inside and close the doors with a satisfying quality 'clunk', that you'll feel the transformation from mere sedan to saloon. Or at least a much more expensive sedan, boasting quality leather trim (including leather-bound steering wheel and gear shift knob), driver's 8-way electric seat adjustment, climate control air conditioning and a classy patterned alloy finish on dash/centre console. The high standard of trim, together with the choice of colour tonings, the comfort and the roominess, all lend the cabin a certain ambience that we found all too appealing.

Kia Magentis EX-L 2.7 V6 

Click on the image for a larger view

As we've mentioned previously, the standard 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine is a lively DOHC unit with CVVT (Continuously Variable Valve Timing), developing 119 kW of power @ 5,800 rpm, and 247 Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm. We found this provided adequate, rather than neck-snapping performance. The 2.7-litre V6 in our latest test vehicle certainly adds an extra dimension. Also a DOHC unit with CVVT, the Euro III-compliant V6 develops 138 kW @ 6,000 rpm and some 247 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

In this form, and coupled with the standard smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic (with 'tiptronic' function), the Magentis is still no race car, but rather offers the silky smooth, quiet and effortless progress, rarely possible with a four. And gone is the over-zealous kickdown of the smaller engine at freeway speed on hills, which we previously found somewhat tiresome. Tall gearing gives the Magentis nice long legs for relaxed freeway cruising, with engine speed virtually on par with Commodore and Falcon! With a quoted fuel consumption of 9.3L/100km (combined cycle) on regular ULP, it's a little more thirsty than the four (using 8.6L/100km), but we found in practice, on the open road there's not a lot in it. A theoretical range of more than 600 km between refills is acceptable. The gap between four and V6 would doubtless widen in city stop-start congestion, however.

Nor did the extra weight of the additional two cylinders have any noticeable effect on ride or handling, which we found to be very safe and secure. The Magentis features conventional struts up front, in combination with a multi-link rear end. Together with high levels of grip from its quality Michelin 215/50x17 rubber, the final result is a nicely balanced car ,which is quick enough for most owners when hustled along a piece of a twisty back-road. We did note some torque steer under hard acceleration. Not quite a rival for the better Europeans, but then it doesn't pretend to be a sports sedan!

Front brakes are ventilated discs, while the rear utilises solid discs, all in combination with ABS and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). In fact, together with the aforementioned standard ESP, the Magentis both handles and stops very securely. Buyers will feel confident they're in a safe and well built car - and one backed by no less than a 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty (for private buyers).

Kia Magentis EX-L 2.7 V6 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

Kia offers an array of optional extras for the Magentis. Among the more desirable are the safety and convenience items such as reverse parking sensors, cargo safety net and roof racks. The latter can be further upgraded with luggage pod, and bicycle or personal watercraft carriers. Surprisingly, a 6-stacker CD is merely an option. This would seem mandatory on a top-of-the-line variant. And satellite navigation is not even listed as an option, nor is a sunroof. We would certainly like to see them available for this class of vehicle.

As with its smaller-engined twin, the Kia Magentis EX-L 2.7-litre V6 offers a host of safety and luxury features, in a stylish and refined family sedan. Priced from $31,990 plus on-road costs, the Kia Magentis EX-L with V6 represents excellent value in today's competitive market. For buyers who no longer require big car leg room with big car thirst, this is a vehicle whose size and price tag will make a lot of sense!

Click on an image for a larger view

Other Kia content: here.

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