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27 May 2009 | Text and photos by Jegan Das Haridas
Rewarding with every purchase
After dinner with some of my friends, I can't believe how the Magentis, together with fellow taxi mate, the Hyundai Sonata, gets no credit for being a reasonably good car.
After the launch of the Forte earlier in the year, it looked like Kia was taking a great new direction with their cars, a more European direction.
Since they were rescued from bankruptcy by Hyundai in 1998, the Kia brand has been set on a more focused North-Eastern path in an effort to tap the European market more effectively.
To do exactly that, they roped in the same bloke who designed the original Audi TT, Peter Schreyer, to design Kia's Cerato replacement, the Cerato Forte. And he did a great job on that car's physical appeal didn't he?
Swooping headlights that ooze sporty aspirations, crease lines flowing from the headlights to the taillights, and a fairly handsome rear-end sealed this car as a favourite of both local and foreign media.
Just like how Peter's design influence is still easily identified in Audi's latest line-up (he worked at Audi for eight years and was responsible for the A6 and Audi TT design), the new design language is starting to sprout out across the board at Kia.
Starting with the 2009 face-lifted Magentis.
So now the Magentis gets a predictably great snout as well, with the Kia emblem sitting proudly in the middle of the honeycomb net that fills the yaw of the gapping chromed-mouth. Flanked by those swooping headlights that hint at a sporty nature, the softer angled lines retains a maturity that is missing from the smaller Forte.
To accommodate the new changes, the front gets a new bumper that doesn't add much on its own, but compliments the brave styling above it effectively. Then you have the new retractable side-mirrors with built-in indicators that make this car seem more expensive than it really is.
To cap off the list of changes are the rear tail lamps.
Although not drastic enough for most of us to point out immediately, the chunk designers took out of the inner portion of those lamps gives people enough of an indication that the car's new, only if it's at the lights next to a Magentis taxi though.
As much as I was impressed with the ambition conveyed from the Magentis's new fascia, it was what greeted me on the inside that really got me re-educated about the ambitious Korean car company.
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4-cylinders in-line DOHC
164 bhp / 6200 rpm
197 Nm / 4600 rpm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h)