What's New for 2008
The Kia Amanti was completely redesigned last year. For 2008, the car remains unchanged.
Introduced five years ago, the Amanti is Kia's flagship vehicle and continues to be a strong value in the upscale family sedan segment. We classify the Kia Amanti as a midsize sedan but it feels bigger than that. For example, the Amanti has more front legroom than cars like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Saturn Aura. Strictly speaking, the Amanti competes with these cars but overall the cabin has a more luxurious look and feel.
The Kia Amanti is mechanically similar to the Hyundai Azera, which means power comes from a 3.8-liter V6 that was new last year. There's plenty of power and the engine feels smooth even under heavy acceleration. The Amanti has 264 horsepower, which is more than the standard V6s found in cars like the Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300 and Nissan Maxima.
There are two main downsides to the 2008 Kia Amanti. First, the car's styling may be a significant sticking point for some shoppers. It's not a bad-looking car, but in borrowing noticeable cues from other brands like Mercedes-Benz the Amanti's designers ended up with a rather awkward overall look. Additionally, Kia has tuned the Amanti for maximum ride comfort at the expense of handling ability. Though some buyers might prefer this, we've found that most other competing cars provide a much better balance between the two attributes. As such, the Kia Amanti isn't as desirable as other choices in this class, nor is it as well known. But shoppers who like the car's driving dynamics and price and aren't worried too much about image will find the Amanti quite impressive.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Kia Amanti sedan is available in just one trim level. Standard features include 16-inch wheels, foglights, full power accessories, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker CD audio system.
Opt for the Leather package and you'll get leathers seats, heated front seats, two memory settings for the driver seat, a trip computer and an upgraded Infinity sound system with a six-CD changer. Adding the Premium Package provides 17-inch wheels, black leather seats, brushed-aluminum interior trim and power-adjustable pedals. A sunroof is also available.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive Kia Amanti comes with a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 264 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. In testing, we found the Amanti capable of reaching 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. That's fairly swift for a big V6-powered sedan. Fuel economy for 2008 is estimated at 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.
Antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on the 2008 Kia Amanti. An optional package bundles stability and traction control systems with a brake assist feature. The Amanti earned the highest rating of "Good" in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 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- and legroom than you'll find in slightly larger sedans like the Toyota 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 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 last year sharpened the handling, but many drivers will still find the ride quality to be overly floaty. With the substantial muscle afforded by the 264-hp V6, the 2008 Kia Amanti delivers surprisingly swift performance whether dicing with city traffic or cruising on the freeway. The V6 boasts a broad power band, and the quick downshifts assure that the power is always on tap for merging onto fast-moving freeways or quick passes on two-lane roads.