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Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie were some lonely people forgotten by the world and if around today, they'd probably drive a Kia Amanti. This largely anonymous large sedan from Korea was frequently overlooked by folks who otherwise ended up buying something like a Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300 or Toyota Avalon. As far as we know, even Sir Paul McCartney hasn't noticed it.
The Amanti's rarity resulted from its awkward styling, flaccid performance and Kia's below-average name recognition when it comes to higher-end cars. Kia did address some of the Amanti's more immediate shortcomings in the second-generation model, but in general most used-car shoppers should probably check out more established large sedans before settling on an Amanti.
Most Recent Kia Amanti
The second-generation Kia Amanti was produced from 2007-'09. Although the exterior looked remarkably similar to the previous car's, it cloaked a complete redesign. A modified chassis yielded significant weight loss and improved handling, while most notably, the company dropped the original 200-horsepower V6 in favor of a new 3.8-liter, 264-hp V6.
This Amanti was available in one trim level. A two-tone interior color scheme along with subdued wood and metallic accents and comfy seats should please those looking for a low-priced luxury car. Standard equipment was comprehensive. When optioned out, the Amanti featured such niceties as leather upholstery, heated power front seats with memory, power-adjustable pedals and a nine-speaker stereo with six-CD changer. Some higher-end features, however, like a navigation system, weren't available.
The standard 3.8-liter V6 provided 264 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power was sent to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. Antilock brakes and a full array of airbags were standard; traction and stability control were optional. Shoppers would be wise to make sure a specific Amanti they may be interested in features these electronic aids.
We were always impressed with the Kia Amanti's equipment levels, ample space and low price. However, its handling was not particularly impressive, with the car's suspension sometimes getting uncomfortably upset when driven quickly over bumps. Overall, the Amanti's road manners were acceptable, but more discerning full-size-sedan buyers will prefer the added capability and refinement of the Kia's competitors. Although styling is a subjective quality, the car's lack of cohesive design and odd, sewer-grate grille didn't do it any favors either.
Past Kia Amanti Models
The original Kia Amanti ran from 2004-'06. It featured a 3.5-liter V6 good for only 195 hp, upgraded to 200 hp the following year. Compared to the newer Amanti, this generation was heavier and featured a more flaccid structure. Handling was even worse and its suspension was less sophisticated. Several features were added as its life went on, including an optional leather package in 2005. Judging by our lukewarm reaction to the current car, it should be no surprise that we think less highly of the original.