Fifth Gear Kia Magentis review

Although Kia has proved its ability to create appealing small cars, the Korean brand still struggles when it comes to producing bigger vehicles - a point borne out by the Magentis.

It's not that this Korean Mondeo-rival is a bad car, but it is a desperately average one that is trying to compete against some very talented opposition. Kia has acknowledged the Magentis's limited appeal by rationalising the range so that only one engine is available, a 2.0-litre CRDi diesel motor.

Visually, the Magentis is slightly reminiscent of the previous-generation Honda Accord. The cabin is finished with some tough materials and the good news is that there's loads of room, it's big enough to take four adults in comfort with space to spare. The boot is a decent size too, although the Magentis is a saloon while most of its rivals come with the additional practicality of a hatchback.

On the road the big Kia feels desperately ordinary. The 2.0 litre diesel engine is a noisy performer, although it delivers a respectable amount of urge when asked to perform. The Magentis's chassis has no appetite for rapid progress, though, thanks to soft springing, springy steering and poor grip levels.

Equipment levels are reasonable, the Magentis gets climate control, part leather upholstery and a power-operated driver's seat. But it also looks expensive for what it offers, especially considering the punishing depreciation that big Korean cars inevitably suffer from. On the plus side, that means it will make far more sense as a secondhand purchase after its value has taken its initial knock.

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