Kia Magentis Review Touts Excellent 2011 Redesign

By Stephanie Roese

No one will write a Kia Magentis review this year without noticing the complete makeover that the 2011 Magentis has undergone. The family sedan, known in the US as the Optima, is as different as the proverbial frog who became a prince, when kissed by the princess. The all-star highway fuel economy, improved safety performance, and sleek new design, all combine to make this car competitive with its counterparts, like the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, and the Hyundai Sonata.

The 2011 Magentis sports a sleek, upscale design, reminiscent of European cars. Additionally, even the LX manual transmission offers an astonishingly good features package for the price. Standard features include full-power accessories; a radio featuring a satellite radio, audio jack, iPod/USB interface, and CD player; keyless entry; and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. With automatic transmission models, the wheels grow to a size of eighteen inches, and Kia throws in a nicely upgraded trip computer.

Fuel economy is great for its class: twenty-four miles per gallon city, thirty-four miles per gallon highway. The turbo engine even gets the thirty-four miles per gallon highway mileage, which is remarkable, considering the power of the vehicle. The car accelerates from zero to sixty in about nine seconds, and features a six-speed transmission, and a four-cylinder engine, on every model.

Family sedan buyers understandably care about safety. The good news is that the 2011 Magentis, in a government crash test program, was awarded five stars. In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the sedan with a "Good" rating. The safety features include side airbags, traction and stability control, and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.

The sedan features 15.4 cubic feet of space in the trunk, and a spacious cabin. The design offers a great deal of legroom, although taller buyers may find headroom a bit of a challenge, because of the fantastic-looking sleek roof design. The interior, which has been re-designed to resemble a much more expensive car, has plastic with a nice grain, and soft-touch material, along with responsive switchgear. In reality, the Magentis interior has gone from drab to fab, transforming into one of the top interiors in the family sedan class.

The four-cylinder engines produce ample power. Steering is not anything special, but it is smooth, and the transmission is responsive and easy-to-shift. The car doesn't maneuver around corners as nicely as some of its counterparts, but this lack of maneuverability has had no effect on its safety rating.

Some models were recalled by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Problems with the automatic transmission shift lever cable were noted in models built between the beginning of 2006 and the middle of 2007. If the vehicle is placed in "Park" on an incline, without the application of the hand brake, then the car may roll. Customers will find much-improved performance, however, in more recent models, particularly the 2011.

Korean automaker Kia merged with Hyundai in 1998. Since the merger, reliability has improved dramatically, and the substantial warranty program has bolstered consumer confidence. With its broad lineup of sedans, coupes, and crossovers, Kia has something to offer to any budget-conscious consumer. Any Kia Magentis review will heartily praise the improvements in the 2011 model.

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