New & Used Kia Amanti: In Depth
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The design of the Amanti was probably its least endearing trait. As a blatant (and poor) ripoff of some luxury vehicles a decade earlier (the late 1990s Mercedes E-Class is one that comes to mind with the look of the front end), the Amanti failed on many counts to establish either a cohesive or credible look.
Luckily, the Amanti otherwise was a pretty agreeable sedan. Power was provided by a 264-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 that was strong and smooth, albeit a little coarse-sounding when pressed. Sluggish transmission response was one common complaint, and the Amanti was a relatively safe but sluggish handler. EPA numbers landed about where they were for V-6 luxury sedans of the time: 19 mpg city, 26 highway.
While he Amanti might have been an aesthetic flub, it was a success in many other ways. Standard features on the Amanti were pretty generous for their time, especially considering its affordable base price of around $25k. The base model included an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system, air conditioning, cruise control, and a tilt steering wheel. Aside from a stand-alone sunroof and a 17-inch wheel/tire option, option groups included things like leather seats, heated front seats, power heated mirrors, and an Infinity audio system. Keep in mind, also, that electronic stability control was optional as part of a package.
Interior space and ride quality were strengths for the Amanti, which had wide-opening doors, wide and generously cushioned seats, and an especially roomy back-seat area compared to other mid-size sedans—and nearly as much as models like the Toyota Avalon or Buick LaCrosse. The trunk was large and wide-opening as well. Cabins were tight and quiet, although the ride could feel floaty, and a little too removed from the road surface in some instances.
The Amanti also boasted quite the warranty when new—a five-year/50,000-mile basic one, and a ten-year/100,000-mile warranty on powertrain components (not fully transferable to subsequent owners, though).
Overall, the Amanti was a valiant first effort, but the combination of its derivative, out-of-time styling and floaty ride made it an odd duck in the market when it was new, and even more so now as a used car. Today it appeals either to those who want to travel in comfort and don't care about appearances, or those who want to drive something a little eccentric.