Kia Amanti

Kia sold 230,000 vehicles in America last year, more than Acura, Volvo, or Mercedes-Benz. So let's give the Korean carmaker a little respect.

Full Front Grill View

The Amanti, a true full-size sedan derived from the Hyundai XG350, shows how far Kia has come. The interior materials look and feel great and are a big step up in taste, not only from the Sears-like interior of the XG350 but also from the stuff we've been getting from Nissan, Honda, and Toyota. An affordable price buys you all the useful safety items, such as stability control and eight air bags, something the American brands can't match.

Too bad Kia won't get much credit for all of this, because the Amanti is styled like one of Lee Iacocca's K-cars of the 1970s. It has the woozy ride of an old man's car as well.

The Amanti shows the way to Kia's future, but it's still stuck too much in the past to be the breakthrough the company deserves.

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