Review: 2007 Kia Amanti
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Kia moved fairly quickly to upgrade its flagship Amanti sedan for 2007.
The previous Amanti, introduced for 2004, had average handling, slow-acting steering and was underpowered. Its rear end looked cluttered and it was reminiscent of a soft old American luxury car, seemingly from designers stuck in the past.
But this time around, South Korea's Hyundai-controlled Kia has gotten it mostly right.
The Amanti is far from being a sports sedan—it's not supposed to be. Rather, it is for value-minded folks who want a large car that doesn't look or act like a "value-minded" sedan. It's still for those who desire comfort and convenience in a rather upscale auto that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Styling has been revised and is more cohesive. There's a revised grille, new hood, headlights, front/rear bumpers, alloy wheels, trunk lid, taillights, rear quarter panels and even dual exhaust outlets.
There's also a redesigned instrument panel, and the interior gets the same flowing lines and gently curved surfaces as the exterior. The cockpit has an upscale look with chrome door handles, wood trim and leather-covered armrest. New white-blue illumination is said to "enhance interior ambiance."
Lower Base Price
However, standard are power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, tilt leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, AM/FM/cassette/CD audio system with 6 speakers and one-touch up-and-down anti-pinch power windows.
There also are dual illuminated sun visors, automatic-on headlights and power windows, door locks with remote keyless entry and heated body color mirrors.
A new $1,300 Premium Package has chrome alloy wheels, exclusive black interior color, aluminum trim and wider tires on 17-inch wheels.
A power sunroof is available as a $900 stand-alone option, but requires ordering the Leather Package and $500 electronic stability control system, which has a worthwhile anti-skid system, traction control and brake assist feature.
More Power and Economy
Fuel economy is an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway, up from 17 and 25 for the old engine.
The nicely geared rack-and-pinion, speed-sensitive steering is a major improvement. A modified all-independent suspension appreciably improves handling while still delivering a smooth ride with such items as gas-pressurized shock absorbers.
My test Amanti's $350 Wheel package with 17-inch (vs. 16-inch) machined alloy wheels and wider tires improved handling, and the brake pedal had a smooth action. A 251-pound weight reduction from 4,021 pounds enhances economy and handling.
Anti-lock brakes are standard, as are front and rear side airbags (usually found only up front) and side-curtain airbags.
The notchy shifter can be annoying, but also can prevent entering the wrong gear if a driver is rushed. Climate controls are large, but sound system controls should be larger. Front cupholders are positioned to avoid spills and covered when not in use for a tidier look. The glove compartment is roomy, and the front console bin is moderately deep. Doors have storage pockets.
Rear seatbacks can't be flipped down for more cargo room, but there's a ski pass-through area from the trunk. A full-size spare tire is standard.
The hood also glides up on struts to reveal an engine hidden beneath a large plastic cover. Fluid filler areas are easy to reach, though.
The Amanti's resale value is questionable, but this is the sort of car that tends to be kept for a fairly long time. Helping keep it with its original buyer is one of the industry's best warranties, which includes 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage and a 5-year, 60,000-mile roadside assistance plan.