Subaru Outback D 2010 Review

February 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Across various media and product forms there are occasionally cases of an unlikely oddball gaining a cult following and then reaching major commercial success. The film that cost 300 grand to make and then grossed 150 million at the box office or those rubber shoes that look ridiculous but are sold by the truckload. If this notion were translated into the car world the most title for the most unlikely success story would belong to Subaru. Once a fringe player, Subaru is now an automaker making serious sales in many markets including our own. Its Outback model has played a major role in this transformation and has now reached its fourth generation. Car and SUV had a private viewing with the new diesel powered Outback to see if it’s strictly for Subaru fans or if it has a much broader appeal.

While the Outback doesn’t depart from Subaru’s trademark symmetrical all-wheel-drive and boxer engine combination a main change comes with the inclusion of a diesel engine option for the first time. It’s not just any diesel engine either, the 2-litre unit is the first time a horizontally opposed diesel engine has been used in a passenger vehicle. It’s by no means a rough first effort and took more than a decade to fully develop. The end result is 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque that’s delivered smoothly and quietly. It’s an advanced motor that is surprisingly petrol-like and revs freely, pushing past 4500 rpm. But it does have a tendency to lag slightly lower in the rev range before the turbo kicks in and can’t match the low-rpm gusto of some competitors. That said, the Outback will hit 100kph in under 10 seconds and is brawny through the mid-range enabling worry-free open road overtaking.

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Toyota Aurion Sportivo 2010 Review

February 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The word Aurion has the ancient Latin meaning of ‘first light’ or ‘tomorrow’ and Toyota Australia had the future in mind when it developed, produced and released its large car effort back in 2006. Based on Camry underpinnings and sheet metal but with a larger front and rear the Aurion was set to cut into the large sedan market dominated by the Falcon and the Commodore. Offered exclusively with a V6 powerplant the Aurion wasn’t optimally positioned for the current climate where smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles have rapidly gained in popularity. But Toyota is pushing on with the Aurion and the 2010 range has received a mid-life refresh. Car and SUV spent some time with the sports-focused Aurion variant the Sportivo to see what’s new and what lays ahead for this Aussie born battler.

The 2010 model year changes to the Aurion range are all appearance and equipment based with the vehicles’ mechanicals remaining the same. In terms of exterior looks the Sportivo has been sharpened up and the sporty persona maintained over its more conservative siblings. Frontal styling changes are the most obvious with a wider honeycomb grille and trapezoidal low air intake. Black plastic framed fog lamps also feature strongly as do new halogen headlamp lenses. At the rear new clear taillights are distinctive in their modern, after-market style. Rounding off the refreshed look are smart 17-inch split five-spoke rims. All up, the changes reinforce the Aurion’s athletic presence, and maintain its look of a steroid pumped Camry.

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2010 All New Hyundai Tucson iX Movie

February 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

2010 All New Hyundai Tucson iX

Kia Carnival Ltd 2010 Review

February 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Why would you name a motor vehicle the Carnival? Is it because when it parades down main street people stop and watch in awe? Not this Carnival. Or is it because it inspires young women to drink too much and then expose their breasts? Definitely not this Carnival.

It must be called a Carnival because like most Carnivals there are a lot of people in it. Eight people to be exact can fit in this Carnival at a squeeze. It took only one driver, however, to get the party started when Car and SUV road tested Kia’s 2010 Carnival Ltd.

A quick walk around the Carnival quickly reveals a utilitarian vehicle that’s built solely for its people moving purpose rather than any glitz or glamour. There are some clear aesthetic similarities with Chrysler’s Grand Voyager in its slab sides, van-like dimensions and generic front. Practicality is evident through the Carnival’s tinted security glass, large wing mirrors and handy integrated roof rails. Although sharp styling isn’t a major focus for vehicles in the MPV segment the Carnival could still benefit from a freshen-up. But new sheetmetal shouldn’t be too far away with Kia’s range-uniforming tiger-nose grille a likely addition.

For any people mover it’s the inside that counts most and the Carnival has plenty on offer for its numerous occupants with three rows of seats providing for various layouts. The back row can be folded flat into the floor and the middle row can be folded up or completely removed to create an enormous, even loading area. It’s an impressive seating layout and even with all three rows in use there is a small but usable luggage area at the very back. The front seats are wide and flat offering decent comfort and great visibility but little lateral support. Leather comes with the Ltd model as does power adjustment for the driver’s seat and tri-zone air conditioning to keep rear passengers cool. There is no DVD system for the family but an eight-speaker Infinity stereo handles entertainment duties well.

One feature that is surprisingly handy is powered sliding doors on both sides of the Carnival and a powered tailgate at the rear. Controlled by the key fob it’s easy to have the doors open by the time you reach the vehicle carrying your shopping and closed again when you start again. The slow sliding motion also cuts down the chance of little fingers getting jammed and subsequent stress. Other useful kit on the lengthy Carnival Ltd spec sheet includes; reversing camera and warning sensors, steering wheel mounted stereo and cruise controls, rain sensing wipers, a trip computer and 17-inch alloys.

Cabin fit and finish isn’t the Carnival’s strongest suit and there is a plasticky interior atmosphere. That said, many of the surfaces are covered in tough wipe-clean materials which are consistent with the Carnival’s practicality-first ethos and the vehicles budget pricing has to show somewhere. There’s also a range of small storage options, 12V plugs and cup holders throughout.

Working behind the scenes on the Carnival is Kia’s 2.9L CRDi Turbo diesel unit producing 134kW of power and a healthy 343Nm of torque. It’s not a performance motor but does allow for reasonable progress. A 9.0l/100km fuel economy is achievable on the combined cycle. One issue with the engine is its power delivery that can be erratic, starting off sluggish and then coming on in a sudden burst as the turbo spools up. It also never feels comfortable when used hard and becomes quite loud and unrefined. It will get around town without issue but on the open road fully laden, plenty of room will be required for safe overtaking.

The diesel engine is mated to a 5 speed automatic transmission, which is a competent unit and goes about its work with minimal fuss. Manual gear changes are available through a sequential shift capability on the gear stick. This is a handy option for holding the motor in gear to draw out all available power.

Dynamically the Kia is best suited to a leisurely pace. Soft suspension gives it a generally comfortable ride but rough uneven roads can unsettle it. The Carnival holds the road well with enough grip to stay safe but there is a liberal dose of body roll. There’s a high feel to its movement and must be handled accordingly. It’s firmly at the van end of the people-mover-scale while a competitor like the Honda Odyssey has much more of a station wagon dynamic but lacks the Carnival’s space.

Being a family vehicle safety is always going to attract scrutiny and the Carnival has the features buyers are seeking. An electronic stability programme, ABS, brakes, six-airbags, kiddie door locks, ISOFIX points, and seatbelt pretensioners are all standard fare.

The strongest virtue of the Carnival like most Kia models is in its price and at $53,990 you get a lot of equipment, comfort and class-leading space for the money. The entry-level EX Carnival has most of the Ltd’s more useful features and priced at $46,990 is also worth a look. Both vehicles come with Kia’s excellent 5-year/100,000km warranty and 1500km first service.

The Carnival is caught a bit short in power and handling ability but that won’t concern many buyers in the mini-van segment. What I respect about the Carnival is that it makes no attempt to masquerade as something it’s not. It’s a vehicle intensely focused on practicality down to the smallest detail with limited thought for aesthetics and gimmickry. What it gives buyers is comfortable, safe and spacious travel for the driver and 7 others. If you need the extra seats, don’t care about going fast and you want peace of mind motoring for the next 100,000km then take a long look at the Kia Carnival.

Price: 53,990 (EX diesel $46,990)

What we like:

  • General practicality
  • Very spacious
  • Price and warranty

What we don’t like:

  • Bland design
  • Weak driving dynamics
  • Erratic power delivery

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Other reviews of interest:

Honda Odyssey (2009) — Road Test

Dodge Journey R/T (2009) — Road Test

Chrysler Grand Voyager (2008) — Road Test

Honda Odyssey (2006) — Road Test

Kia Carnival Ltd (2010) – Specifications

ENGINE
Engine type 2.9L DOHC CRDi Turbo Diesel
Displacement (cc) 2902 cc
Compression ratio 17 : 3
Max. power 134 kW @ 3800 rpm
Max. torque 343 Nm @ 1750 – 3500 rpm
Fuel economy (combined cycle) 9.0L / 100 km
CO2 emissions (g/km) 224

TRANSMISSION
Gear box 5 speed automatic with sport shift

SUSPENSION
Front suspension McPherson strut
Rear suspension Multi link

WHEELS
Tyres 225/70 R16 235/60 R17

DIMENSIONS
Overall length 5130 mm
Overall width 1985 mm
Overall height 1830 mm
Wheelbase 3020 mm
Min. ground clearance 167 mm
Kerb weight min./max 2009 / 2141 kg
Interior volume (1st/2nd/3rd) 1770 / 1530 / 1390 litres
Fuel tank capacity 80 litres
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 750
Towing capacity – braked (kg) 2000

Toyota Prius i-Tech 2009 Review

January 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

If 1950s science fiction was ever to be believed we should all have flying jet-propelled cars by now. These fantastical vehicles were meant to be capable of intergalactic travel so we could reach our space-baches on distant planets. That hasn’t quite worked out just yet, but planet earth does have at least one futuristic vehicle.

When you think of futuristic vehicles you think of hybrids and it’s Toyota’s Prius that instantly comes to mind. Despite Honda’s attempts to creep in on its market share the Prius remains the alpha hybrid. This well-established badge recognition has obvious value to Toyota because the new third-generation Prius is much more about evolution than revolution. To find out more Car and SUV headed back to the future with the top-spec 2010 Prius i-Tech to see if it has the same spark as its predecessors.

One glance at the Prius and it’s obviously a vehicle playing to its strengths. Where the second-generation model gained success from its green credentials, fuel economy, distinctive styling and general practicality this new model represents advancement in all disciplines.

Starting with the power train, the new Prius continues with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system that handles the switching between electric motor and Atkinson-cycle combustion engine. A new petrol power plant has been fitted and displacement increased to 1.8-litres over the previous 1.5-litre unit. It produces 73kW and works in tandem with the 27kW electric motor to offer 100kW of power in total.

Interestingly, the increase in engine size actually helps fuel economy by increasing torque to 142Nm and reduces engine speeds particularly during motorway cruising. The new engine combined with improved aerodynamics has resulted in a suitably impressive 3.9L/100km fuel economy and CO2 emissions of only 89g/km.

The Prius is at its petrol-sipping best around town where the electric motor gets busy. There are four driving modes offered; normal, power, eco, and EV. The EV mode is fully electric and if your light on the accelerator will let the Prius drive up to 50kph for 1-2km or until stored power runs low.

Performance and fuel economy largely depends on the selected driving mode with the normal setting providing a good middle ground, power making use of available grunt, and economy mode which further decreases fuel consumption by restricting the gas pedal.

When set to ‘power’ and driven with haste the Prius will hit 100kph from standing in just over 10 seconds. Gear changes are near seamless and handled by an electronic CVT box that is an excellent match for the unique power train.

In terms of handling, the Prius feels assured and offers ample grip. The suspension is set with comfort in mind and most bumps and dips in the road aren’t transferred to occupants. However, there is a certain degree of body roll when the Prius changes direction quickly and it does ride a little hard on the low resistance tyres. It’s definitely not a performance focused vehicle but dynamically it’s easily capable of general driving duties both in the city and on the open road.

When it comes to styling the Prius shape looks similar to the second-generation model but only 10% of parts have been carried over. The dimensions have changed making the Prius longer, wider and with a higher roofline. Front styling is more aggressive with swept back headlights and a wide air-intake. Out back it’s all about wide pillars and a split rear windscreen perched above the special blue-ringed Toyota badging. It’s not just about looking ‘space-age’ either, the Prius’ new sheet metal has resulted in an aerodynamics figure of just 0.25Cd.

Inside the Prius, there is a Spartan feel dominated by grey plastics that are nicely textured and made of plant-based materials but are a little flimsy to the touch. The floating centre stack houses a large multi-function display screen, plenty of buttons to play with and a tiny electronic gear lever. There’s no tachometer but vehicle speed can be seen on either the centrally mounted dash read-out or through the heads up display system. The trip computer is a real treat for car nerds, displaying a wide variety of details on fuel usage and power storage in addition to regular information.

Other high-tech tricks include satellite navigation, seat heaters, smart entry and start, reversing camera, dynamic radar cruise control, LED headlights, 8-speaker stereo and a solar paneled ventilation system. The solar panels are located over the rear of the roof and run a fan to minimize increases to interior air temperature when the car is parked. If that’s not cool enough, some of the power from the hybrid battery can also be used to run the air-conditioning remotely from the key fob for up to three minutes before the driver enters the vehicle.

A lot of consideration has been put into making the Prius’ cabin spacious and it’s worked out well. The front seats are wide and comfortable and rear passengers have good legroom and ample headroom thanks to the raised roofline. The rear hatch is very accommodating for luggage and has a total capacity of 446-litre with the seats up.

Another strength of the Prius i-Tech is in its safety systems. A full nine airbag package including driver’s knee is ready to pop and there’s a pre-crash safety system that works in with the radar cruise control to alert the driver of an impending collision and reacts to avoid or lessen damage. Stability and traction control are also included as is an emergency brake lighting system that blinks the rear brake lights when the vehicle is stopping suddenly.

The Prius gives hybrid followers exactly what they want and it has become a true halo car for Toyota. The level of technology in the i-Tech is very impressive and it serves as a likely showcase for equipment that will eventually filter down to Toyota’s lesser models. The hybrid system still forces the Prius into a price premium over similarly sized and specified petrol-only vehicles. Naturally, some of that cost will be reimbursed over time with the lower fuel consumption, but it still puts a new Prius out of many people’s price range. However, if it’s green credentials you need, you love new technology or simply require a practical family vehicle that’s a bit different then the Prius could be for you.

Price: $62,090

What we like:

  • Fuel consumption
  • Plenty of tricks
  • High safety level

What we don’t like:

  • Interior plastics
  • Price Premium
  • Body Roll

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Toyota Prius i-Tech (2009) – Road Test

Powertrain
Engine Model Code      2ZR-FXE
Type     In-line, 4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, DOHC, Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i)
Battery Voltage     12 Volts
Bore     80.5 mm
Capacity     1798 cc
Compression     13.0 : 1
Configuration     In-line 4 cylinder
Emission     89 g/km
Test     ADR 81/02
Fuel Tank Capacity     45 litres
Fuel Type     95 Octane or Higher Recommended
Injection Type     Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Location     Front, Transverse
Maximum Power     75kW 5200rpm
Maximum Torque     142Nm 4000rpm
Stroke     88.3 mm

Electric Motor
Type      201.6 Volt Nickel Metal-Hydride (Ni-MH) Battery & 12 Volt auxiliary battery
Description     Permanent Magnet Synchronous A/C Motor
Function     Motor function – Drive to wheels, Generator (Regenerative Brake Control); Generator function – Generator, Engine Starter, Electronic Continuosly Variable Transmission (ECVT) control
Maximum Voltage     AC 500 Volts

Fuel Economy Rating     5.5 out of 6
Litres per 100km     3.9
Fuel Cost Per Year2008 cost per year based on price per litre of $1.85 and an average distance of 14,000 km     $1,010

Suspension
Front     MacPherson Struts with Stabiliser Bar
Rear     Torsion Beam Type

Dimensions
Front Track     1525 mm
Rear Track     1520 mm
Gross Vehicle Weight     1805 kg
Kerb Weight     1370-1420 kg
Minimum Ground Clearance     140 mm
Overall Height     1505 mm
Overall Length     4460 mm
Overall Width     1745 mm
Wheelbase     2700 mm

Honda City S 2009 Review

January 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Reincarnation isn’t an easy concept to understand. The idea that we leave this world in one form and return in a completely new shape seems far-fetched to many. But if it’s hard to swallow in terms of humans and animals it’s much easy to believe when it comes to cars. Case and point is Honda’s new City. We all recognise the nameplate from the first generation City hatch that while diminutive in stature was near omnipresent on NZ roads. Through the 1980s and 1990s it was hard to miss the boxy little City as it shuttled Grandmas and students alike around our county, before slowly dying out.

Now, the City has been reborn into the Kiwi marketplace, but not as a micro hatchback, instead as a small sedan. Creating many questions like has the soul of the original City been retained in this new earthly form? Or aside from a boot what else does it have to offer? In search of the truth Car and SUV took the new City on a journey of discovery.

Styling wise the City has more than a passing resemblance to Honda’s larger Accord Euro despite it being based on the Jazz platform. Even with multiple mechanical similarities the City is much more than simply a Jazz with a boot. It sits lower and longer with a purposeful stance. It’s aesthetic is ultra-modern with a high-waist and a snazzy silver and black grille providing a bold front accent. Steel 15-inch wheels are standard on the City S, step up to the City E for 16-inch alloys. Overall, the styling is razor sharp and has a knack for disguising the car’s bantam size with a brawny athletic presence.

Step inside and you see exactly why the City is an interesting proposition. Where small sedans have often been marketed towards older drivers the City has a young, urban appeal in the cabin. Kicking it off it is a 45-Watt, 6-speaker stereo system that could rival cars twice the price for sound quality. A USB jack is located in the deep centre console for hooking up iPods/MP3 players and interface is excellent with steering wheel controls capable of jogging through iPod tracks.

The curvaceous dashboard blends quality black plastics with alloy-look trim and a leather-bound steering wheel is pleasant to the touch. Controls are stylishly but logically laid out and are always illuminated making them easy to operate while driving. With air-conditioning, cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, remote central locking with alarm, rear under-seat storage and numerous cup-holders the City offers a generous amount of kit in base model form.

The seats in the City are comfortable with good support and the rear pew is surprisingly accommodating with excellent leg and headroom for a small vehicle. The seating position allows good visibility but could offer a lower adjustment to suit taller drivers.

For all the City’s interior trickery it’s the cavernous boot that is really magic. With a staggering 506-litre capacity the City’s boot can take more luggage than many larger sedans, including the Accord Euro and even the Holden Commodore.

Like the boot the bonnet has a lot of free space inside, with Honda’s tiny 1.5 litre 4-cylinder motor struggling to fill the capacious area. The 88kW engine is lifted straight from the Jazz and while it’s eager to please reaching 100kph will take nearly 12 seconds. However, the City weighs just 1110kg and has no problems moving swiftly around town when worked hard. It’s not the most refined powerplant around but is offset by a well-insulated cabin that lets little engine, road and wind noise inside.

With a drive-by-wire throttle and clever programmed fuel injection, petrol consumption is miserly with 6.3l/100km possible on the combined cycle.

The engine in our test vehicle was mated to a 5-speed manual transmission which allows short and easy changes. Combined with a light clutch pedal and even lighter electronic power-steering the manual City is a no fuss vehicle to pilot even in stop-start traffic.

Leave the bright lights and take the City on more twisty roads and it sits flat and remains settled during cornering. In terms of dynamics it’s competent and predictable but don’t push too hard because stability and traction control are notable omissions from the City’s spec sheet. In 2010 even cheaper new vehicles are expected to be fitted with stability control and its absence could prove an influencing factor for the safety conscious buyer.

Safety features the City does have include front passenger, driver and side airbags as well as curtain airbags, ABS brakes, seatbelt pretensioners and a reinforced passenger safety cell.

Now we’ve reached a state of complete enlightenment, what’s the verdict?

We tested the base model City S and it certainly didn’t feel entry-level, the interior is spacious, stylish and well assembled with an excellent equipment list as standard. Priced from $26,900 with the manual transmission it offers value for money and could be the pick of the City range.  It’s dynamically impressive for a small sedan and cheap to run. Although it can feel underpowered at times, during regular suburban driving that will prove a non-issue for many. The XL size boot and spacious cabin add to its practical value and there is a reassuring sense of quality inside and out.

Even with its new body shape and modern fit-out the new Honda City isn’t a total reincarnation of the old favourite. It still offers the same reliable budget motoring that the original City did with ‘almost’ everything you need and nothing you don’t. So if you’re purchasing in the niche small sedan segment give it a test drive.

Price: from $26,900

What we like:

  • Quality interior
  • Sharp styling throughout
  • Massive boot

What we don’t like:

  • Lack of traction & stability control
  • Sluggish engine
  • Drivers seating position

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Honda City S (2009) – Specifcations

Powertrain
Engine 16-valve, 1.5 litre, i-VTEC
Maximum Power 88kW @ 6600rpm
Maximum Torque 145Nm @ 4800rpm
Valvetrain i-VTEC (Intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift, Electronic Control) performance and economy enhancing technology

Chassis
Suspension System MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension
Turning circle (metres) 5.0
Front Brakes 262mm (10.3″) ventilated discs
Rear Brakes 239mm (9.4″) solid discs
Braking System ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist)
Wheel size  15 x 5.5JJ
Tyre size  175/65 R15
Full size steel spare wheel.
Wheels  15″ steel wheels

Dimensions
Length (mm)      4410
Width (mm)     1695
Height (mm)     1470
Wheel base (mm)     2550
Track front/rear (mm)     1695
Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock     2.7
Turning circle (metres)     5.0
Kerb Weight (kg)     1110 (man) 1145 (auto)
Maximum warrantable towing weight (kg)  1000 (man) 800 (auto)
Luggage capacity (litres, VDA)     506

Fuel
Fuel tank capacity (litre)      42
Recommended Fuel     91-octane regular unleaded
Emission Control standards     Emissions fall within Euro IV and LEV II international standards

Kia Magentis 2009 Review

January 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Travelling on a budget can bring its own rewards, you get to see all the same sights and your experiences often have an earthy richness that wealthier travelers may miss.  There’s a truer sense of adventure and a raw appeal that motivates backpackers the world over.

Could this concept of beneficial budget travel be applied to a passenger vehicle? Kia believes so and since 2000 it has produced the Magentis for those who want the practicalities of a mid-size sedan for hatchback prices. The Magentis entered its second generation in 2006 and has now received a facelift to better align it with the remainder of Kia’s product range.

So what’s new?

Visually, Kia has concentrated the new look where all good facelifts begin, the face. Kia’s new tiger grille is set to uniform its vehicle range and offer a visual branding clue, with the Magentis being the latest vehicle to receive treatment. The exterior upgrades don’t stop with the new grille and wrap around headlights. Design changes also feature in the vehicle’s profile with new indicator repeaters and at the rear with revamped tail lamps, boot lid and bumper. Clever use of contrasting silver trim and 16-inch alloys as standard give the refreshed Magentis a smart but ultimately generic look. While the Magentis looks much sharper than its predecessor there is little to distinguish it from other vehicles in the segment.

Inside, the Magentis appears slightly dated despite a new sports-styled instrument cluster and new centre console with gear selector gate. That said, switchgear is logically laid out and it’s an easy vehicle to control and get used to. Everything feels well screwed together but cabin plastics are inconsistent with some feeling tough but others lightweight and flimsy.

The dark cloth interior provides wide comfortable seats, with handy height adjustment on the driver’s chair. Space is ample and well maximized, there’s decent headroom and the rear pew can accommodate three adults without issue. What’s most impressive about the Magentis cabin is the equipment level, the leather steering wheel houses cruise and audio control buttons, the 6-speaker stereo has excellent iPod connectivity and a trip computer provides various info. Other standard kit includes air conditioning, electric heated mirrors, reversing sensors and a full size spare wheel. Luggage is stowed away in a capacious 500-litre boot with a 60:40 split folding rear sear for longer items.

When cleared for take off the Magentis fires up its 2.4-litre 4-cylinder power plant and while it’s no jet plane, power output has been increased to 126kW with 229Nm of torque. It won’t blast occupants off the line but it’s a keen engine that can show decent mid-range torque and is suitably relaxed when speed limit cruising. Fuel consumption is 8.3l/100km combined, a reasonable figure considering the Magentis’ 1490kg kerb weight and engine size. Power is transferred to the front wheels through a traditional 5-speed automatic transmission with a tiptronic sportshift available. Overall, the drivetrain functions well, albeit with an unrefined edge.

In terms of handling dynamics the Magentis changes direction fairly well under regular conditions. Push harder and it becomes clear that it doesn’t have a large appetite for rapid progress being held back by a chassis and suspension tune unsuited for sporty driving. So the Magentis is a cruiser and that’s something it does well with light steering, well-damped suspension and a cabin that lets in little engine or road noise.

Kia has put serious effort into putting modern safety features into a budget vehicle and the results are notable. Hiding under the surface is a full Electronic Stability Programme, ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, seatbelt pretensioners and six airbags.

One thing that hasn’t changed with the refreshed Magentis is that its most attractive feature remains its price. Costing $35,990 the Magentis is 10% – 15% cheaper than Japanese competition within the class. The price will help it appeal to those looking for budget travel and a 5-year, 100,000km factory warranty is a tempting cherry on top.
What you get for the money is a spacious, competent car that has solid safety credentials and equipment levels. The downside is that the Magentis has little to offer in terms of sporty dynamics, and may prove prone to the punishing depreciation that’s plagued larger Korean cars in the past.

Ultimately, the gap between the Magentis and its rivals has been narrowed, but a gap does still exist. Leaving quality competition like the Ford Mondeo, Nissan Maxima and Honda Accord with a convincing case in justifying the extra money.

Price: $35,990

What we like:

  • Plenty of equipment
  • Settled cruiser
  • Good space for occupants and luggage

What we don’t like:

  • Mediocre handling
  • Inconsistent interior plastics
  • Generic styling

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Kia Magentis (2009) – Specifcations

Mechanical

Engine type 2.4L DOHC CVVT
Petrol Displacement (cc) 2359 cc
Compression ratio 10.5
Max. power 126 kW @ 6000 rpm
Max. torque 229 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel economy (combined cycle) 8.3 / 100km
Co2 emissions (g/km) 196

Transmission

Gear Box 5 speed automatic with sportshift

Suspension

Front suspension MacPherson Strut
Rear suspension Multi Link

Wheels

Tyres 205/60 R16
Braking system Ventilated front discs, solid rear discs
Alloy wheels 16″
Full size spare wheel and tyre

Steering

Steering system Power assisted rack & pinion
Minimum turning radius kerb to kerb (m) 5.4

Dimensions

Overall length 4800 mm
Overall width 1805 mm
Overall height 1480 mm
Wheelbase 2720 mm
Min ground clearance 160 mm
Luggage capacity (VDA) 500 litres
Kerb weight min. / max 1430 / 1490 kg
Fuel tank capacity 62 litres
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 650
Towing capacity – braked (kg) 1700

Kia Soul with Hamster Commercial

December 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The official 2010 Kia Soul hamster commercial with music by Marz featuring Pack & Mumiez! The Soul. A new way to roll.