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The Kia Magentis is a sister car to the Hyundai Sonata (Kia is owned by Hyundai).

2003 Kia Magentis Sedan Road Test
More options for less money

By Bill Roebuck

The 2003 Kia Magentis feels like a luxury car as soon as you step inside. It's fully loaded with options, including leather seating. It includes ABS brakes, a four-speed automatic transmission with a Steptronic shift feature, hydraulic hood struts (uncommon in this category), and somehow has been priced $500 less than the 2002 model.

Driving feels luxurious too -- and it's also quick. The 2.7-L V6 engine pumps out 170 hp to give the Magentis the second quickest acceleration in this group, at 9.4 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h.

The ride is smooth and quiet, except on hard acceleration when engine noise penetrates the cabin. The suspension is probably the Magentis' weakest link, as there's significant body lean or cornering.

Wide doors make access to the seats easy in both the front and the rear, with good legroom and headroom in both. There's lots of room for gear in the big trunk, which has a capacity of 386 L.

Kia outclasses the contenders in this category with luxury appointments, plus it has the bonus of a comprehensive warranty that lasts for five years or 100,000 km.

* Price as tested: $28,595

© Copyright Bill Roebuck, 2002.

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