What's New for 2007
The 2007 Kia Amanti's exterior has been freshened with a revised styling of the front and rear and a new design for the wheels. Under the hood is a new engine. The 3.8-liter aluminum DOHC V6 engine delivers 264 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, a 32 percent increase in power over its predecessor. Other changes include structural enhancements that have reduced weight (251 pounds, says Kia), suspension tweaks for better handling and interior design and feature content revisions.
Like its parent company Hyundai, Kia's early years in the U.S. were nothing to write home about. But Kia has recently turned itself around, offering vehicles that present strong value thanks to much improved build quality, performance and reliability. Confidence in its product is such that Kia provides a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. And so it is with the company's flagship, the 2007 Kia Amanti. The Amanti is classified as a midsize sedan, but it's closer to a full-size car in dimensions, stretching 7 inches longer from nose to tail than a Toyota Camry. Although it has always offered an impressive list of amenities for the money, this Kia has long been overshadowed by more established competitors, largely due to its oddball styling, bland driving dynamics and lack of name recognition in the premium family sedan crowd. However, Kia has made many significant improvements this year, which should elevate the Amanti's status considerably.
Now in its fourth year, the Amanti's somewhat controversial overall styling, which has an odd mix of styling cues ranging from older Mercedes E-Class-style headlights to a Lincoln Town Car-like greenhouse, remains. Still, this year's refresh, with a shorter grille, cleaner taillights and smoother rear sheet metal, gives the Amanti a more attractive look.
The biggest change will be felt, literally, by the driver. A stout, 3.8-liter V6 (shared with Hyundai's Azera) provides 264 hp, an output that puts it among the segment leaders. Other changes include revised suspension tuning for sportier handling and a lighter curb weight that's the result of structural enhancements. There are also some new features (a tire-pressure monitor and power-adjustable pedals) along with a redesigned instrument panel and center fascia, and upgraded interior trim materials.
In years past, we found the Amanti to be decent but lacking in polish and desirability when compared to segment leaders like the Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon. But the changes on the new model are significant. When combined with the car's preexisting strengths of value and comfort, they make the 2007 Kia Amanti a solid, if still relatively unknown, choice for consumers.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
One of the larger midsize sedans available in the under-$30K price bracket, the 2007 Kia Amanti is available in one trim level. Standard equipment is generous and includes 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a stereo with cassette and CD players, power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), wood-grain trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, keyless entry and a full set of one-touch up/down windows.
Notable options include the Infinity Package (including a 270-watt Infinity sound system with CD changer, a trip computer and memory settings for the mirrors and driver seat), the Leather Package (with leather seating, heated seats, the Infinity package and power-adjustable pedals) and the Premium Package that features black leather seating, aluminum accents and 17-inch chrome wheels.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive Kia Amanti is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 264 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The big V6 is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission that also allows manual-style shifting. The 3.8 boasts a broad-shouldered powerband, and the quick-acting transmission assures that the power is always on tap for speedy entry onto fast-moving freeways or quick passes on two-lane roads.
Antilock disc brakes are standard on all 2007 Kia Amantis, as are active front head restraints, a tire-pressure monitor and a full array of airbags (including front- and rear-seat side as well as side-curtain airbags). An optional package bundles stability and traction control systems with a brake assist feature for the antilock brakes. The Amanti earned the top rating of "Good" in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Amanti's roomy cabin seats five and pampers its occupants with plenty of room, as well as nice touches like tasteful faux wood and metallic accents, a leather-covered front console armrest and a power point built into the rear armrest. There's a bit less rear hip room and legroom than you'll find in slightly larger sedans like the Avalon, but two adults will be quite comfortable riding in back on trips. The trunk's capacity is 15.5 cubic feet. The rear seat doesn't fold down, but there is a ski pass-through for long, skinny items.
Like most vehicles in its class, the Amanti is tuned to provide a smooth, quiet ride with maximum isolation from the road. Suspension refinements this year have sharpened the handling, making for a pleasant overall drive. With the substantial muscle afforded by the 264-hp V6, the 2007 Kia Amanti delivers surprisingly swift performance whether dicing with city traffic or cruising on the freeway.