Set to replace the long-serving Kia Optima, the new Magentis (debut in 2006) is still a platform-sharing cousin of the current Hyundai Sonata NF. Interestingly, unlike Hyundai, this mid-size executive sedan serves as KIA’s flagship vehicle.
It is powered by a 2.0L engine with CVVT (variable valve timing), similar to the one found in the Sonata currently assembled by Oriental Holdings and sold by Kah Bintang. Output figures are 142bhp at 6000rpm and 188Nm of torque at 4250rpm, powering the front wheels via a 4-speed automatic gearbox. 0-100 km/h is claimed in 10.2secs while top whack is 208km/h.
This better-looking saloon is longer, wider and taller than the outgoing Optima, so it should provide more interior space. Buyers can also expect improved ride comfort and better body control, even though the suspension set up is different from its Hyundai relative. The Magentis is suspended by MacPherson’s strut up front while sporting multilink arrangements for the rear axle. The Sonata has the more pricey double wishbones at all four corners. However, it is claimed that some 20kgs weight savings are accorded to the Magentis due to its simpler (and cheaper) suspension set up, so all may not be lost since unsprung weight would be lesser, in Kia’s favour.
Expect dual SRS airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Brake Assist (BA) and stability control (ESP) plus traction control to be standard in higher-spec Naza-Kia Magentis. Whether the all-new KIA Magentis will still wear the el-cheapo ‘Optima’ badge, remains to be seen at the time of writing. Prices will be only be known after the launch soon but you can safely guess that it will undercut the Sonata by RM10k – 20k, depending on which of the two trim levels - as anticipated - is preferred.