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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For Space, price, comfort, reliability, safety kit

Against Bland looks and a so-so drive. Rare, too.

Verdict A cheap, roomy family car, but nowhere near as talented as the best cars in the class

Go for… 2.0 or 2.7 petrol

Avoid… 2.0 turbodiesel

Kia Magentis Saloon
  • 1. Ensure all the electric kit works properly because there’s a lot of it to go wrong
  • 2. Check the cabin for damage caused by over-zealous family use
  • 3. There's stacks of space in the cabin, and the boot is big enough to hold a family's luggage
  • 4. The 2.0-litre engine isn't the greatest, but it's the best for buyers with a tight budget
  • 5. High-milers can be fine value as long as they’ve been properly looked after, so insist on full service history
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Kia Magentis Saloon full review with expert trade views

This version of the Magentis is better looking than the model it replaced in 2003, but its design remains bland, conservative and dated. However, there’s much to interest a family on a tight budget.

For a start, there’s stacks of space in the cabin, and the boot is big enough to hold a growing family’s luggage. And, if you need any more space, the rear bench splits and folds, too.

However, it’s short on driving pleasure. All three engines are fine on a steady cruise, but noisy when you work them. The ride – adequate on smooth surfaces – deteriorates as soon as the road surface does, and the car feels wallowy through a series of corners. There’s also too much wind noise at speed.

While the cabin has plenty of kit, the design lacks any flair, and you don’t get the same feeling of quality that you do with European rivals. Still, it’s all planned out logically and easy to use.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Struggles unless priced right and not a V6, 2.0 SE is the one

James Ruppert
Used car guru

There are two petrol engines – a 2.0 and 2.7 – and a 2.0 turbodiesel. The latter throws a decent enough punch, but only over a narrow range of revs, and isn't worth the extra it costs over the 2.0 petrol model.

The 142bhp 2.0-litre petrol needs to be revved hard to give its best, but it’s reasonable enough, and the best choice for those on a tight budget. The 2.7-litre V6 doles out an easy, smoother 185bhp but you’ll pay for the privilege.

All models are stuffed with kit: six airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints, an alarm and immobiliser, alloy wheels, air-con, four electric windows and a CD player. So basic GS trim will do for most.

SE (later badged LS) adds leather trim and larger alloys, while 2.7 models also have auto transmission and cruise control.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Few sold new so very rare. Values low and very unstable

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The Magentis is all about cheap family motoring and the easy life, which, to many motorists, will be more important than its off-the-pace drive or lack of design flair.

New cars – and nearly new examples - depreciate very heavily so enjoy a bargain, but be careful not to get stung when you sell it.

Routine service costs are reasonable – typically dearer than for a Ford Mondeo but cheaper than for a Hyundai Sonata. Should anything go wrong once the car is out of its three-year unlimited mileage warranty, repair costs should be no worse than average, according to Warranty Direct.

Fuel costs should also be easy to stomach – 35mpg for the 2.0 petrol, 30mpg for the 2.7 V6 and high-40s for the 2.0 turbodiesel. Insurance is group 13 for all models apart from the 2.7, which falls into group 15.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Struggles unless priced right and not a V6, 2.0 SE is the one

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The previous Magentis has proved to be a tough bit of kit and this incarnation, launched in 2003, has so far been just as trouble-free. We are unaware of any major mechanical faults.

You should, nevertheless, insist on a full service history – all models need attention every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.

The Magentis is robust enough for normal family motoring, but check the cabin for damage caused by over-zealous family use. While you’re at it, ensure all the electric kit works properly. There’s a lot of it to go wrong – it rarely does, but any faults could prove pricey to fix.

You may come across ex-minicab versions, but high-milers can be fine value so long as they’ve been serviced diligently. Again, insist on a full service history for your own peace of mind.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Few sold new so very rare. Values low and very unstable

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide
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