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Kia Magentis

Let's hear it for Kia! In recent years, few makers have enjoyed the Korean firm's success, with hit models such as the Picanto supermini and new Rio hatch.

The new Magentis is a big improvement over its predecessor and has a roomy cabin. It looks more modern and build quality is improved - but it still lacks the all-round appeal of mainstream rivals, so pricing will be crucial.

Let's hear it for Kia! In recent years, few makers have enjoyed the Korean firm's success, with hit models such as the Picanto supermini and new Rio hatch. However, as the brand guns for a larger slice of the family car market with a fresh Magentis, its record could be tarnished. Big Korean models have never been strong sellers here, and it's hard to see how this newcomer will be any different.

Still, the styling is modern and well proportioned. It's a similar story inside, where the build quality continues to improve. The cabin is functional, too, and the seats are comfortable, while there's impressive rear legroom and a 420-litre boot. A 2.0-litre diesel joins two new petrol engines, and delivers 138bhp and 305Nm of torque. It's mated to a six-speed manual box.

Cruising refinement is fine, but the unit lacks punch. The gearshift isn't very slick, either, although the brakes are effective. Yet the flawed ride seals the Kia's fate. With sales difficult to come by in this declining market sector, it can't afford to be second best.

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