March 2009

Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR Manual

Modern looks are better suited the the sector

March 2009

picture of car from the frontpicture of car from the rearpicture of car interiorpicture of car in detail

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5 stars


  • Good standard specification for price
  • Much improved exterior styling
  • Roomy interior
  • Refined and efficient cruiser


  • Interior quality a little behind the opposition
  • Diesel engine noisy on cold start
  • Annoying flat spot in rev range
  • No petrol variant

Never a big seller and hampered by a reputation for mediocrity, Kia's Magentis D-segment saloon has been around for some time without ever really making an impression. A new, smarter-styled and better equipped model aims to make in roads into the competitive sector.

The ultra competitive D-segment, one traditionally dominated by a small number of well established models, is an easy one to get lost in. That appears to be what has happed to the Kia Magentis in the past. Despite being available in a range of cost effective trim levels with different engine choices it has struggled to make a name for itself against the opposition.

Kia hopes to change that with the latest version of the four-door saloon. Focussing its attentions on a single model with just one engine choice and trim level means the Korean manufacturer has been able to come up with a car better suited to the European market and the current climate.

Powered by a two-litre diesel engine with nearly 150bhp and very reasonable fuel consumption the Magentis is available only in TR specification that includes a very generous selection of standard equipment. Heated seats, cruise control, parking sensors, electric driver's seat, part leather interior and a more substantial, stylish exterior improve appeal for private and business users alike. A choice of six speed manual or four speed automatic transmissions is available.

Body length has been increased by 65mm, a small amount on paper but one that equates to a considerably more spacious and luxuriant interior. Boot volume has also been increased by five litres. A significantly improved car all round, Kia believes the model is worthy of consideration alongside other sub-premium models.

Our verdict on the Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR Manual

The Magentis' combination of decent standard equipment levels and low purchase price gives it an excellent start that the model builds on with attractive exterior design, a spacious interior and much improved quality. A slightly under-performing two-litre diesel engine is a setback, but for those more interested in making steady, comfortable and efficient progress than in brisk performance, the Magentis is an excellent choice.


The Magentis' very reasonable asking price is among the main attractions and the model offers excellent value for money in terms of standard equipment on the single trim level. Kia's excellent warranty is another big attraction and, with only a diesel engine available, running costs are unlikely to be high.

Space and practicality

The interior feels spacious and this is reflected in good head and legroom front and rear. Plenty of storage and cubby holes are present and the boot can take a very healthy load. The rear seats can be folded 60/40, although the saloon body limits how much use can be made of this function.

Controls and display

Three large, backlit dials and are accompanied by a small LCD display in conveying the essential information. Separate screens for the ventilation and sound system help to avoid confusion in the centre console and the button layout is concise and easy to use, relying on knobs and clearly labelled buttons. Stereo and cruise control buttons are included on the steering wheel, there's a short throw the gear change and the hand brake lever is conveniently located on the driver side of the console unlike some models in the sector. An easy model to find your way around, the Magentis interior is well planned and very ergonomic.


Impressive standard specification combined with a naturally refined ride and a good degree of sound deadening makes the Magentis a very comfortable car to travel in. Supple seats with heating and electric adjustment on the driver's side means even long journeys will fail to take their toll. Air-con and electric windows are standard and, in the rear, there's a fold down armrest complete with cup holders.

Car security

Naturally for a car in this segment remote central locking is standard, but there's also a perimeter alarm and a panic button included on the remote. The boot can be opened on the fob and the rear doors feature child locks. An immobiliser and double door locking are standard.

Car safety

A reasonably advanced braking system with ABS and EBD is standard, alongside ESP including traction control. Driver and front Passenger airbags are fitted as are twin side and curtain airbags. The front passenger example can be switched off to accept a child seat. Impact sensing door unlocking is also fitted to allow faster emergency service access should the worst happen.

Driver appeal

As a motorway cruiser the Magentis excels. The suspension is clearly tuned for comfort and is a little wallowier than some of its sportier competitors but still feels well-planted when cornering. The steering offers a reasonable amount of feedback and pedals and gear change are sensibly weighted and slick to use. The only downside is a flat spot in the rev-range that makes the engines performance peaky. Highlighted by a more aggressive driving style it makes the Magentis a car more suited to being driven at a relaxed pace.

Family car appeal

High on family appeal, the Magentis is capable of carrying a growing family with ease. The rear bench will seat three adults and therefore makes short work of kids. The interior seems capable of dealing with trial by child and Isofix points are standard. The boot should accept a pushchair of the folding variety with little trouble.

First car appeal

Although it offers a lot for the money, the Magentis represents an oddball first car choice. Kia has a vibrant range of smaller vehicles that might be betters suited.

Quality and image

As a brand, Kia's image has been on the rise in recent years, aided by new products designed and built for and in Europe. The Magentis will do little to harm that progress; its much improved looks are more in keeping with current Euro trends and boast far greater kerb appeal. It's still a badge more associated with value for money than luxury, but any associations with sub-standard products have long been cut. The Magentis itself is solidly built and both looks and feels as such. The interior is not quite at the level of some of its competitors in terms of materials but is easy on the eye and sturdy to touch.


The traditional four-door saloon body style means access to the front and rear is excellent. The large boot door is wide and deep making it easy to obtain items from inside.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The Magentis gets a perfectly adequate six-speaker sound system with a single CD slot. Sound quality is good and the system is enhanced by the addition of USB and auxiliary ports that allow an iPod or other music device to be controlled through the system controls - truncating versions of which appear on the steering wheel.

Colours and trim

A small but neat range of colour choices is available for the Magentis, all in keeping with the model's business-like demeanour and therefore none of them outlandish. The much more substantial exterior design arguably looks at its best in silver, but dark shades also suit it well. Inside there's a mix of dark plastics and aluminium offering a smart and equally business-like look. Half leather seats add an additional touch of luxury.


Standard parking sensors make the Magentis a simple car to park. Visibility is good and the door mirrors are a decent size which aids reversing. Reasonably square proportions make it an easy car to place.

Spare wheel

Full size steel spare as standard.

Range information

Diesel engine options - 2.0-litre (147bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual gearbox, four-speed automatic gearbox. Trim levels: TR.

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