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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For Comfortable, cheap to buy and well kitted out

Against Cabin quality could be better; the "wrong" badge

Verdict A low-cost family saloon. Snobs need not apply

Go for… 2.0-litre LX

Avoid… 2.5 V6

Kia Magentis Saloon
  • 1. The cabin design looks dated, but it’s well equipped, solidly screwed together and reasonably roomy
  • 2. The electric gadgets can be pricey if they go wrong – especially the air-con – so check they all work properly
  • 3. The 2.0-litre model makes most economic sense. It’s gentle on fuel, insurance and servicing
  • 4. You can fit two adults comfortably in the back, although three may find it a bit of a squeeze
  • 5. The boot is large and the rear bench splits and folds to extend it still further
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Kia Magentis Saloon full review with expert trade views

It isn’t a car for the style-conscious, but that’s their loss because, for the money, the Magentis drives pretty well and is as practical as many dearer used saloons.

You’re nicely cushioned from most lumps and bumps and the car feels composed in fast sweeping bends. Even quick changes of direction are executed tidily.

The engines are up to the job, too, especially on a steady high-speed cruise, where your only complaint will be the amount of wind noise around the mirrors and side windows.

However, it's not all good news, and the interior controls feel below-par in a cabin that has always looked dated. On the other hand, it’s all well equipped, solidly screwed together and reasonably roomy. You can fit two adults comfortably in the back, although three may find it a bit of a squeeze. The boot is large and the rear bench splits and folds.

Trade view

John Owen

One day you will find yourself shaving with what's left of one

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The 168bhp 2.5 V6 is the more enjoyable drive – it’s a sweet, willing engine with decent performance and fair economy. And, if you’re set on a V6, get one with the auto gearbox.

However, the 136bhp 2.0-litre car makes better economic sense. It’s a little gentler on fuel, insurance and servicing but, crucially, you can put it on your drive for a lot less cash. It’s a reasonable drive, too.

We’d also be happy with basic LX trim, which is anything but basic, really. You get twin front airbags, anti-lock brakes, an alarm, electric power for the four windows and the door mirrors, central locking, CD player and air-con. The posher SE throws in leather trim, climate control, side airbags and traction control.

Kia dealers have good used examples, although they tend to focus more on the later Magentis model (2003 onwards), so check out independent traders for a model of this age.

Trade view

James Ruppert

A value buy, 2.0 LE Sports H-Matic around in numbers now

James Ruppert
Used car guru

If it was going to break the bank, no one would ever buy a Kia Magentis. This saloon has four main areas of appeal, and its cheap prices are at the top of the list (the others are space, reliability and stacks of kit).

The Magentis is cheap to buy used because it lost value from new at a frankly alarming rate. Now, most models have reached the age where they’ll depreciate at roughly the same rate as a mainstream European family saloon (think Ford Mondeo or Peugeot 406), so you shouldn’t lose a fortune when you resell it.

The V6 model will be a little dearer to run – group 15 insurance, an official average of 27.4mpg and slightly dearer servicing, whereas the 2.0 comes in at 32.8mpg and in group 14 for insurance. However, the 2.0 is noticeably cheaper to buy, and that will swing it for those on a tight budget.

Trade view

John Owen

One day you will find yourself shaving with what's left of one

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The Magentis is a safe pair of hands. We’ve heard no reports of common weak spots in the car, so its reputation as a soundly built, mechanically robust piece of kit seems justified.

However, it’s important to choose one that comes with a full service history. Tough though it is, the Magentis isn’t unbreakable, and it does require servicing every 10,000 miles or once a year.

As well as missed services, be wary of cars that have cheap-brand tyres fitted or bodged repairs to the bodywork or exhaust – all signs that the car has been maintained on a shoestring.

There are plenty of electric gadgets, which can be pricey to fix if they go wrong – especially the air-con – so check they all work properly. Look for signs of hard use in the cabin, too. Some of the fixtures and fittings don’t feel as durable as the rest of the car.

Trade view

James Ruppert

A value buy, 2.0 LE Sports H-Matic around in numbers now

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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