2007 Kia Optima

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Kia unveiled a new Magentis, which is called Optima in the U.S. market. Whereas the previous car was a restyled version of the Hyundai Sonata, Kia claims that the new Magentis uses a Kia-exclusive platform, although powertrains are still shared. The engine choices include a 185-hp 2.7-liter V-6, a 143-hp 2.0-liter four and, for diesel-loving Europe, a 2.0-liter common-rail diesel. The V-6 gets a standard five-speed automatic, while the four-cylinder can be had with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. The diesel can be paired with the four-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The suspension consists of struts at the front (versus costlier double wishbones for the Sonata) and multiple links at the rear. The new car is longer and taller and has a stretched wheelbase. The body shell encloses a roomier interior, with higher seating and six air bags. Outside, the Magentis is mired in anonymity, nowhere near as crisp or purposeful as its cousin, the Sonata. But the new car, like its predecessor, likely will sell based on price and content, not styling or sex appeal.

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