Revised styling and a more powerful diesel, but still a dynamic disappointment.

What is it?

This is the newly facelifted Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR. Kia has called in the slow-selling Magentis for a substantial visual makeover and some mechanical revisions. The range has been simplified too with the dropping of petrol engines.

Now buyers are only able to choose the 2.0-litre CRDi diesel engine, with full-on ‘TR’ trim. That brings climate control, part leather upholstery, a power-operated driver’s seat and an iPod dock.

What’s it like?

The revised styling works reasonably well. The previous Kia Magentis suffered from a bug-eyed headlamp treatment that didn’t work at all well on a car this size – now there’s a far more conventional front end that bears a strong resemblance to the previous-generation Honda Accord. The rear lights have been tidied up as well.

The Kia Magentis’s cabin looks and feels old fashioned, but it offers plenty of space for four adults and standard equipment levels are generous.

The new iPod connectivity works well, with playlists accessed directly via the stereo controls.

The 2.0-litre CRDi diesel engine has been revised to produce slightly more power than before, a respectable 147bhp.

The engine lacks enthusiasm below about 2000rpm, but once into its comfort zone it pulls strongly and reasonably quietly.

Unfortunately the rest of the dynamic experience is underwhelming at best.

Controls are poorly weighted, the steering lacks feel and the composure of the Kia Magentis’s over-soft chassis goes to pieces when asked to deal with anything more than the steadiest progress. There’s excess road noise at motorway cruising speeds too.

Should I buy one?

Despite generous standard equipment it remains difficult to see exactly where the Magentis fits into its talented segment.

Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are worse than the class average, depreciation is likely to be steep and for similar money you could have an entry-level diesel-powered Insignia, Mondeo or Passat.

Against that background, it’s hard not to conclude the Magentis will continue to be of minority interest.

Mike Duff

Join the debate

Add a comment…
jelly7961 4 March 2009

Re: Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR

Dan McNeil wrote:

I've often wondered if either of these models still exist, such was their rusting expertise.

I saw one yesterday. 2 door, metallic purple with a white vinyl roof and upholstery. Must have been a late 70's job as it also had 'opera' windows. Driven by a very cool looking Gen Xer
The Apprentice 3 March 2009

Re: Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR

I believe on this model it will only be 3 years, but surprisingly Kia warranties are remarkably open ended and do not exclude business use (not on the last 2 we have owned), unlimited mileage too. Used to get 3 years full breakdown assist cover in the deal but thats been cut to 1 year now.

Funny thing is a search on Autotrader found nearly all petrol Magenti, The Kia diesel is actually a very good unit, same unit is in our Sportage, not the most powerful but very linear and smooth, with a good chunk of torque midrange that makes 2nd gear pickup at roundabouts so easy. Even better now its got more grunt in the Magentis.

Kia's diesels are surprising, they do a large 4x4 not sold here that has a diesel same capacity as the unit going in the Cayenne but more powerful than the Porsche!

If the better looking and equipped Hyundai Sonata (same good diesel) has been canned its surprising they bothered with the Magentis but I suppose there are other markets it sells.

Dan McNeil 3 March 2009

Re: Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR

jonfortwo wrote:
I am curiously drawn to this sofa on wheels, just like I was the Datsun 280C or the Toyota Crown in the Late seventies/early eighties.

I used to love these cars too.

With creamy-smooth straight sixes, these exotic, chrome-laden waftmobiles were a world apart from their sober contemporaries from Ford (the dull Granada, with its asthmatic and wheezy V6) and Vauxhall (what was the Vauxhall option at that time?)

I've often wondered if either of these models still exist, such was their rusting expertise.