Last Chance to Buy: Kia Magentis

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Indy Lifestyle Online

When's it going?

Not until February next year, but then most people would struggle to remember that there is a current Magentis in showrooms. Is the old one worth bothering about? Let's give it a chance. An executive car at a family car price? Well, that's the idea.

What's good about it?

It depends what you expect. If you don't set your sights too high, the Magentis will probably exceed your expectations. The really great thing is that the Magentis is sensational value for money. The entry level LE has all the usual stuff - air conditioning, electric windows, CD player.

Trade up to an SE and there's an automatic gearbox, metallic paint, alloys, cruise, side air bags and leather. There is a decent amount of room, and a spilt/fold rear seat makes the boot space even more capacious. In safety respects, there are plenty of air bags plus anti-lock ABS brakes, and brake-force assistance. There is a decent amount of room in the rear and a very large boot. Oh yes - and with proven mechanicals from the Hyundai Sonata, reliability is not going to be an issue.

What's bad about it?

The Kia badge will bother some, but it depends on their motives for buying. You won't be getting a BMW 5-series, and the car is built down to a low price. The switchgear is a bit cheap to the touch and the overall feeling is not one of high quality, but of course you get what you pay for - which is just eight quid over ten grand.

Refinement is a bit marginal once the Magentis hits rough ground, and it comes over all wobbly if cornered enthusiastically. There is just the one 2.0-litre engine option in an age when customers want to consider diesels. The real problem with the Magentis is that it will be a depreciation disaster. It is cheap in the first place, and you may get some dealer discounts, but you'll lose most of the purchase price unless you keep it pretty much for ever.

How much?

www.broadspeed.com can get a 2.0 LE for £9,457 (down from £10,008) and a top-specification SE at £13,165 (down from £13,995). www.autoebid.com can get a base LE for £9,166 and an SE for £12,794.

Any snags?

Not really. This is a very reliable car indeed, and there was just the one recall in 2001 for the SE concerning the side airbag wiring issue, which should have been sorted under warranty. Otherwise, it is very trustworthy. You should need only to look out for signs of neglect and lack of servicing after the warranty ran out.

Fact File

Launched: 2001

Engine: 2.0 litre

Performance: top speed 129 mph; 0-60mph 11.5 seconds

Economy: 32.8mpg

NCAP: not tested, but it has three-point rear belts and ABS brakes with brake-force assistance. The top-spec SE has side airbags.

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