2009 Kia Amanti Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
July 16, 2009

The 2009 Kia Amanti is a solid choice with a growing reputation for quality.

TheCarConnection.com has driven the Kia Amanti and reports in this Bottom Line on the driving experience, as well as how it stacks up to other large sedans. TheCarConnection.com has also researched road tests from respected sources to bring you opinions and details where they help you make the most informed shopping decision on the Amanti.

The 2009 Kia Amanti quite simply isn't an exciting car to look at. As a design, it fails miserably; it's a bit of a mockup of the previous-generation Mercedes E-Class, with some elements of Lexus and Buick thrown in. However, the 2009 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.

Thankfully, the inside of the 2009 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.

The front-wheel-drive 2009 Amanti offers only one powertrain: a 3.8-liter V-6 with 264 horsepower matched to a five-speed automatic.

Review continues below

On the road, the 2009 Kia Amanti rides softly. The Amanti sometimes seems to float over the road, and the steering complements this suspension tuning by being just as vague. 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 EPA numbers are 19 mpg city, 26 highway.

Performance in the IIHS crash results earns this sedan a "good" rating. Anti-lock brakes, side, and side curtain airbags are standard. The 2009 Amanti does not, however, include stability and traction control as standard equipment.

The Amanti has two big things going for it: its attractive price and confidence-inspiring warranty. Like every Kia, the 2009 Amanti is backed by a five-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, plus a ten-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 develops a stronger reputation for quality and reliability.

Every 2009 Kia Amanti includes plenty of 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 Electronic Stability Control Package with electronic stability and traction control systems; 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; and a Leather Package with leather seat trim, heated front seats, memory driver's seat, power heated mirrors, an upgraded Infinity audio system, and a larger in-dash monitor with trip computer.

5

2009 Kia Amanti

Styling

The 2009 Kia Amanti lacks originality and excitement on the exterior. Inside, however, the design is much better.

Reviewers just don't give the 2009 Kia Amanti good marks for styling, which is somewhat derivative, somewhat boring.

Kelley Blue Book comments that the Amanti "certainly knows how to make an entrance...the tall body, big grille and headlight treatment stir up memories of a number of luxury cars." Edmunds says politely, the "exterior styling is not for everyone." They add, "borrowing noticeable cues from other brands like Mercedes-Benz the Amanti's designers ended up with a rather awkward overall look." Cars.com notes that a recent redesign results in "vertical taillights and a taller profile [that] give the rear a much fuller figure." They also insert the contrarian view that "if you wedge the Amanti headfirst into a tight parking spot, the trunk looks a bit like that of any six-figure ultraluxury car."

The interior relieves the exterior's awkwardness with a more tasteful design. ConsumerGuide notes that "gauges are large and easy to read with most commonly used controls falling readily to the driver's hand," although "some testers found the center stack's look-alike controls to be hard to identify quickly in low light conditions." Edmunds reports "nice touches like tasteful faux wood and metallic accents, [and] a leather-covered front console armrest." Kelley Blue Book says "the attractive 2009 Kia Amanti dash employs a split-level two-tone design with a prominent analog clock or optional information screen taking center stage."

7

2009 Kia Amanti

Performance

The 2009 Kia Amanti doesn't handle as well as many competitors, but the V-6 engine provides ample power.

The 2009 Kia Amanti offers decent performance—especially for a budget car.

According to Edmunds, "the front-wheel-drive Kia Amanti comes with a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 264 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque." Cars.com reports that "the V-6 is quite capable...delivering energetic acceleration from on-ramp stoplights all the way up to highway speeds, and passing at 60 to 70 mph is nearly as easy." Edmunds notes that "in testing, we found the Amanti capable of reaching 60 mph in 6.9 seconds," which is "fairly swift for a big V6-powered sedan." ConsumerGuide vouches "the V6 provides more than adequate power in any situation." Car and Driver calls it "so-so," however. The EPA rates the Kia Amanti at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. However, ConsumerGuide finds their "test Kia Amanti 2009 averaged 17.8 mpg in city/highway driving," pointing out that the "Amanti uses regular-grade gas."

Edmunds reports that "the V6 is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control." They add, "quick downshifts assure that the power is always on tap for merging onto fast-moving freeways or quick passes on two-lane roads." According to Cars.com, "the drivetrain looks good on paper, but in practice it's stymied by a sluggish transmission...toe the gas for power coming out of a corner, and you'll often catch the automatic loitering in the higher gear you were in when you entered the turn."

ConsumerGuide says that the "unusually soft suspension absorbs most smaller bumps fairly well but can be poorly composed over sharper bumps and potholes in city driving," also noting that "highway speeds bring an undue amount of bobbing over larger road imperfections." Edmunds agrees, pointing out "suspension refinements last year sharpened the handling, but many drivers will still find the ride quality to be overly floaty." The Amanti's handling is clearly tuned for comfort, without a bit of sportiness baked into its steering, suspension, or brakes. Car and Driver observes "high content means high curb weight," making the 2009 Kia Amanti "one of the floppiest rides on the market...a comfortable highway and byway cruiser for nonenthusiasts, but with numb steering, [and] a soft suspension." Regarding braking quality, Cars.com comments "the pedal feels a bit on the mushy side, but it delivers firm stopping power when pushed hard."

7

2009 Kia Amanti

Comfort & Quality

The 2009 Kia Amanti is quiet and comfortable, with nice fittings throughout.

The 2009 Kia Amanti offers a roomy interior with a respectable level of quality overall.

ConsumerGuide attests that the Kia Amanti "offers ample headroom and legroom, even for taller adults" with "generously sized seats...nicely contoured and especially comfortable." Edmunds reports that the "Kia Amanti's roomy cabin seats five and pampers its occupants with plenty of room." Edmunds points out that the Amanti has "a bit less rear hip- and legroom than you'll find in slightly larger sedans like the Toyota Avalon."

Storage space is plentiful. ConsumerGuide notes that the 2009 Kia Amanti's "big trunk is usefully shaped and has a large opening. In-cabin storage includes a map pocket in each door, a two-level console bin, and a good-sized glovebox." According to Cars.com, "interior volume measures 106 cubic feet, competitive with the Avalon and Impala."

Materials and assembly are definitely above par as well. ConsumerGuide is of the opinion that "though not quite to premium-car standards, 2009 Kia Amanti's interior is nicely finished with soft, high quality materials." Automotive.com notes the Kia Amanti 2009 offers "luxurious interior materials."

Noise levels are acceptable. Edmunds says "the Amanti is tuned to provide a smooth, quiet ride with maximum isolation from the road." ConsumerGuide reports that "the cabin is impressively hushed with very little wind or road noise," and "the V6 engine produces a refined muted growl when pushed but is otherwise nearly silent."

8

2009 Kia Amanti

Safety

The 2009 Kia Amanti has plenty of safety features and good crash-test ratings.

Experts at TheCarConnection.com find that the 2009 Kia Amanti offers good safety features despite incomplete testing.

The 2009 Kia Amanti does receive the highest rating of "good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing. It has not been tested by NHTSA.

Edmunds states that "an optional 2009 Kia Amanti package bundles stability and traction control systems with a brake assist feature." Cars.com reports that "four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard" for the Kia Amanti 2009, as are "front and rear side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags," while "an electronic stability system is optional."

The Kia Amanti has little in the way of vision obstructions, and drivers enjoy a clear view. According to Cars.com, "outward visibility is good, though very tall drivers may find that the inside rearview mirror is mounted low enough to interfere with their forward view."

6

2009 Kia Amanti

Features

The 2009 Kia Amanti hits all the basic features, but the options list is far from extensive.

Experts at TheCarConnection.com aren't exactly disappointed by the features list of the 2009 Kia Amanti, but it doesn't measure up to luxury vehicles.

According to Cars.com, Kia Amanti "standard features include power front seats." Edmunds reports the "2009 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."

Edmunds says that when you "opt for the Leather package...you'll get leather 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." The package also includes a larger in-dash display screen.

The list of options not offered on the Amanti is extensive: navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite and HD radio, and adaptive cruise control—all features found on some near-luxury models from other automakers.

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6.6
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 5.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 7.0
Safety 8.0
Features 6.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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