Full 2009 Kia Amanti Review
What's New for 2009
There are no changes for the 2009 Kia Amanti.
The 2009 Kia Amanti isn't really intended for the American market. In its homeland of South Korea, it is a Town Car of sorts -- perpetually painted black with tinted windows, ferrying VIPs around Seoul. A spacious, luxurious cabin is of prime importance, as is a wafting ride of relaxed serenity. Awkward exterior proportions and blatantly derivative styling are of no concern. Here in the United States, though, the Amanti is an odd duck whose appeal stops at its price tag.
In terms of size, the Amanti slots in between midsize sedans like the Toyota Camry and full-size sedans like the Ford Taurus. The cabin is not extraordinarily spacious, but the bubble-like greenhouse affords an abundance of rear headroom. Fans of old-school Buicks will certainly enjoy the Amanti's soft and quiet ride, but others may find the driving experience to be overly floaty. While the latter describes some other cars in the full-size sedan segment, most strike a better balance between ride comfort and composed handling dynamics.
Although it was redesigned only two years ago, this second-generation Amanti is rumored to be in its final year on sale and is expected to be replaced by an entirely new and different Kia flagship better suited to North America. While the remarkably low price, long features list and lengthy warranty certainly appeal, we think most shoppers will be better served by higher-quality, better-handling cars like the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Hyundai Azera and Toyota Avalon.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Kia Amanti is a large sedan available in one trim level. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, tilt steering column, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power seats, auto-dimming mirrors, and an eight-speaker stereo with CD player, auxiliary audio jack and USB audio jack.
The Leather package adds leather upholstery, driver memory functions, heated front seats, and a nine-speaker Infinity stereo with six-CD changer. The Premium package adds 17-inch chrome-plated alloy wheels (available as a stand-alone option), black interior trim and power-adjustable pedals. A sunroof is also optional.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive Kia Amanti is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 good for 264 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard. In testing, we found the Amanti could reach 60 mph in a fairly swift 6.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
Antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on the 2009 Kia Amanti. The Electronic Stability Control package bundles stability and traction control systems with a brake assist feature.
In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Amanti was awarded the top score of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Kia Amanti boasts a roomy cabin that pampers five with plenty of room and luxury niceties. 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. The trunk's capacity is 15.5 cubic feet. The rear seat doesn't fold down, but there is a ski pass-through.
To maximize the Amanti's impressive value, we recommend opting for the Leather package, as it pushes this humble Kia sedan into near luxury car territory. On the downside, center stack controls are rather small and the buttons are painted the same silver color as the surrounding plastic. Finding the right button at a glance can be difficult.
Like most vehicles in its class, the 2009 Kia Amanti is tuned to provide a smooth, quiet ride with maximum isolation from the road. However, it feels floaty and generally less refined than its competitors. It's also as fun to drive as a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade float. But the Amanti's got some legs. The 264-hp V6 boasts a broad power band, and the transmission's quick downshifts assure that the power is always on tap for merging onto fast-moving freeways or quick passes on two-lane roads.