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Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR

Click to view picture gallery“Choosing a Kia Magentis has never
  been easier. The
kitted-up, latest
  generation model comes in just one
  spec with one engine. All you have
to do is decide on the colour... Now,
  what could be easier that that?

PROBABLY THE SIMPLEST WAY TO DEFINE the latest generation Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR apart from saying that it provides comfortable family transport for five that doesn't entail a second mortgage is to list the standard equipment. Remember, this is a capacious family saloon in the same arena as the Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia but which costs 17,295.

So, what do you get? All of the following, and a lot more that there isn't space here to detail: fully automatic climate control with an air quality cabin filter, electric windows, power adjustable and heated door mirrors, rear parking sensors, tinted glass, 17-inch alloys, cruise control, multi-function leather-wrapped height and reach adjustable steering wheel, 60:40 split/fold rear seats, part-leather upholstery, CD player with MP3 compatibility, AUX and USB inputs plus six-speaker sound system, automatic headlamps, heated and height-adjustable front seats, power operated driver's seat with lumbar support and front fog lamps.

Safety is equally well addressed with six airbags (driver and front passenger, twin side and curtain), active front headrests, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control. Rear Isofix anchor points with top tethers are also fitted, as is a passenger side airbag isolation switch.

And to make life easier, there's just the one powerplant. There's also just one specification — TR — but you do get to choose between a six-speed manual (as reviewed here) or a four-speed automatic that offers the option of fully-automated shifts or sequential manual control.

The new power unit is the 147bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine (with a diesel particulate filter) already fitted to the recently facelifted Sportage and it's capable of a wallet-friendly average consumption of 47.1mpg.

We recorded an average of 38.4mpg over the course of a very hectic week's testing. Officially, the urban figure is 36.2 and the extra urban, or touring, figure is 57.6mpg. Torque is a useful 225lb ft available between 1,800 and 2,500rpm. While we're talking figures, top speed is 125mph, 0-62mph takes 10.4 seconds and emissions are 158g/km — road tax costs 150 per year.

It rides well, handles
well, takes speed humps
with ease and is
a perfectly competent
family car
So the Magentis is well-specced and doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy or to run. What else do you need to know? As you can see from the photographs, it's a clean-cut, well-proportioned saloon fronted by the new 'tiger nose' chrome grille and a long sweeping front bonnet that caps the grille and large headlight units. The flanks are pleasingly uncluttered and the tail treatment — including the shapely BMW-ish rear light units — bold without being in any way 'showy'. A well-judged use of chrome brightwork and the hidden tailpipe adds an upmarket touch — in fact, strip off the badges and it could be mistaken for an executive German model.

Pull open a door — note the smooth action of the handle — and slip behind the wheel. The first impression is welcoming, made physically better by a comfortable, good-sized seat with firm, but not intrusive, side bolstering and a long base cushion that provides meaningful under-thigh support. Shoulder support is also good. A nice touch is the anti-whiplash headrests that can be set to one of four angles for maximum head and neck comfort. Height adjustable front seat belts ensure you're as comfortable as possible once belted up.

For the driver, eight-way power seat adjustment and generous reach and rake of the steering wheel ensures a first rate personalised driving position. And it can be taken for granted that there's good room in all directions: head, shoulder, elbow, leg, knee (no sharp corners on the trim to worry about) and even foot room. Cruise and audio remote buttons on the steering wheel ensure your hands stay where they're meant to be when driving and the leather-wrapped four-spoke wheel is pleasingly grippy.

The fascia is nicely curved, well-finished and pleasant on the eye. A slim digital display integrated top-centre of the dash provides useful information and monitors seat-belt usage (important if you have youngsters in the back); three large, hooded dials in individual nacelles house the rev-counter, speedometer and two-in-one fuel and temperature gauges. Graphics are clear white on black and are easy to read both day and night. Continuing the easy-to-see and easy-to-use theme is the centre stack, home to the audio system and, immediately below that, the climate control panel. Buttons and switches are of a sensible size and easy to use safely on the move. Always handy is an illuminated ignition switch — the Magentis has one of these, too.

“There’s sound thinking
behind the glow-in-the-
dark emergency boot
release fitted on the
inside of the boot lid
The faux carbon-fibre trim to the lower centre stack looks smart and there's also a useful built-in lidded storage cubby of a good size (approximately six inches square), rubber lined to kill rattles and with a nice open/close action. Lower down, below the smoker's kit and heated seat switches there's a rubber-lined open oddments tray along with iPod connectivity — playlists can be accessed directly via the stereo controls.

here are more storage bins behind the gear lever: a tray cum twin cup-holders with a smooth action swivel up lid. And that's before you open the lidded centre front armrest with its 12-volt power socket. The handbrake is of a traditional design and well-shaped for ease of use. Large door pockets and a large lockable glovebox add to the convenience factor. There's even a neat pop-out bag hook in the front passenger footwell. All of which helps make this user-friendly Magentis a very likeable car to live with.

All five occupants — assuming you have a full load — enjoy a commanding view out, with the rear passengers sitting 25mm higher than those in front so they too enjoy a decent view through the windscreen. As well as providing room for five inside, there's also room for their luggage in the biggish 425-litre boot (with the 60:40 split/fold seatbacks folded down — but not flat — this increases to 500 litres).

A pleasant surprise, also, to find a real-world full-size spare wheel beneath the boot floor — not one of those ubiquitous and generally useless puncture repair kits that save space but which aren't guaranteed to get you going if you damage the sidewall of your tyre. and if you've got adventuresome children, you'll understand the sound thinking behind the glow-in-the-dark emergency boot release fitted on the inside of the boot lid.

For the record, back seat passenger can really stretch out; even six-footers sitting behind other six-footers. The rear backrests are set at a comfortable angle, which helps enormously — and with just two in the back the substantial centre armrest provides additional comfort.

On the move the Magentis is an easy driver, helped by good visibility to the front, side and, unusually these days, to the rear. Even so, it's reassuring to have the parking sensors — just in case. The 2.0-litre diesel unit pulls strongly and is more than up to the job of moving the Magentis along, even with five on board.

At speed, the genuinely spacious and airy cabin is refined and quiet, and the Magentis is happy to lope along all day at any speed you choose — be it 50 or 80mph. Whatever, it's no hassle to travel in or to drive. The rack-and-pinion power steering is fit for purpose, as too are the brakes — you don't even notice them as they go about their business, which is always a compliment.

The Magentis rides well, handles well, takes speed humps with ease and is a perfectly competent family car at a perfectly acceptable price and will undoubtedly be appreciated most by those people who understand a good deal when they see one. — MotorBar

Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi TR
| 17,295
Maximum speed: 125mph | 0-62mph: 10.4 seconds | Overall MPG: 38.4mpg
Power: 147bhp | Torque: 225lb ft | CO2 158g/km | Insurance group 13