2008 Kia Amanti Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
August 18, 2008

If you don't mind driving a big car with derivative looks, the 2008 Kia Amanti is a great choice.

TheCarConnection.com's sedan experts have researched road tests from respected sources to bring you this conclusive review of the 2008 Kia Amanti. Editors also have driven the Kia Amanti and added opinions and details where they help you make the most informed shopping decision for your new car.

Just one look at the Kia Amanti and you'll see why editors at TheCarConnection.com rate it low for style. The design is a blatant (but poor) rip-off of the previous-generation Mercedes E-Class. As a design, it fails miserably. However, don't judge this book by its cover. The 2008 Kia Amanti is a capable large sedan and, despite its homely looks, a strong competitor against full-size Buicks, Fords, Mercurys, and the Toyota Avalon.

The 2008 Kia Amanti has two big things going for it: its attractive price and confidence-inspiring warranty. Like every Kia, the 2008 Amanti is backed by a 5-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, plus a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain. This excellent coverage goes a long way toward addressing quality concerns over this Korean car--which are fewer as Hyundai/Kia develop a stronger reputation for quality and reliability.

Thankfully, the inside of the 2008 Kia Amanti is better designed than the outside. The interior is well finished and roomy enough for three adults to sit in the backseat without feeling cramped.

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The front-wheel-drive 2008 Amanti offers only one powertrain: a 3.8-liter V-6 with 264 horsepower that is matched to a five-speed automatic. The EPA numbers are 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway.

On the road, the 2008 Kia Amanti rides softly. The intent is to deliver a quiet, isolated ride, and this car hits that target. In other words, if you like sporty driving, there are other cars you should consider. The Amanti sometimes seems to float over the road, and the steering complements this suspension tuning by being just as vague.

Curiously, the 2008 Amanti does not include stability and traction control as standard equipment. However, anti-lock brakes, side, and side curtain airbags are standard. Performance in the IIHS crash results earned this sedan a "good" rating.

Every 2008 Kia Amanti includes these standard features: 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, the only way to upgrade the Amanti is to request option groups. These include the Leather Package with leather seat trim, heated front seats, memory driver's seat, power heated mirrors, an upgraded Infinity audio system, and a four-inch monitor with trip computer; the Electronic Stability Control Package with electronic stability and traction control systems; and a Premium Package with one-tone interior trim, black leather seat trim, power-adjustable pedals, brushed-aluminum interior trim, and 17-inch tires with seven-spoke chrome-finished alloy wheels.

Editors at TheCarConnection.com have debated how long they'll have to include the following in their reviews of Kia vehicles: "Korean vehicles, including some Kias, use to be low-budget, bargain-basement affairs. But this is just not true anymore and you've got to drive them to believe what we're writing." Our thinking is that if Kia keeps on its current track, its old cars will be forgotten pretty quickly.

The Toyota Avalon is the benchmark for the full-size sedan class. Over the years, it has become the leader based on its quality, room, and high level of refinement. When driving the Avalon back to back against the 2008 Kia Amanti, it's easy to see the Toyota's greater level of polish.

The Ford Taurus and Buick Lucerne are two other solid front-wheel-drive sedans in the full-size class. The Taurus offers more interior room than the 2008 Amanti, while the Lucerne is available with V-8 power and a number of options not offered on the Kia. The Taurus also offers the option of all-wheel drive.

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