Even though companies like Hyundai and Kia are increasingly motivated to offer upscale cars, no one is realistically thinking Jaguar will lose business to Kia. Because in terms of price tag (as well as luxury, performance and style), there IS no comparison. So the question is not whether you would buy a Kia over a Mercedes, but whether for the same amount of money, you would rather have the luxurious, options loaded, bargain midsize flagship sedan from Kia or a lower trimmed, smaller mid-range car from say, Honda or Toyota.
Back in 2005 the Amanti earned the J.D. Power and Associates APEAL Award. Particularly with regards to luxury, comfort and convenience options, the Amanti continues to impress. As standard equipment the Amanti comes with an 8-way power driver’s seat, (4-way power passenger’s seat) and both seats can be heated. It also has an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-covered steering wheel with cruise control and a keyless entry and alarm system. The 2009 model offers a new Infiniti audio system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a large 5.5 inch display screen, leather appointments with two-position memory settings for both the driver’s seat and outside mirrors and more standard airbags than any vehicle in its class. In addition to the standard dual front airbags, the Amanti has side-impact airbags for the both the front and second row passengers. The list of standard safety features also includes anti-lock brakes; active front headrests; anti-pinch windows; front and rear three-point seatbelts; and front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters. One feature that will please some buyers is the interior capacity, which can comfortably seat 3 in the rear seat and has a large trunk.
In terms of power, the front-wheel drive Kia sedan uses a V-6 good for 264 horsepower linked to a five-speed electronically controlled Sportmatic transmission with overdrive. The Amanti is rated to achieve 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway and comes with electronic stability control, traction control and brake assist. Kia engineers say the Amanti is built with a precise power rack-and-pinion steering system that will adapt to sudden driving changes. It also has a fully independent suspension, featuring gas pressurized shocks, a double wishbone suspension and rear multilink setup, plus other attributes that are commonly associated with pricier luxury cars. To further convince buyers of both the value and reliability, Kia offers the Amanti with a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, plus a 24-hour roadside assistance plan.
From a purely design standpoint, the massive grille borrowed liberally from the Mercedez Benz E-class isn’t pulled off perfectly. As opposed to the new Hyundai Genesis, Kia hasn’t quite mastered the packaging of a more upscale car. But while it isn’t a BMW, with a base price of $26,580 the Amanti is gaining on Honda and Toyota.