Kia gained a toehold in the American marketplace in 1993 by challenging the small-car dominance of Toyota, Nissan and Honda. These days, the South Korean carmaker appears to be competing with the luxury brands Lexus, Infiniti and Acura as well.
While the flagship Kia Amanti is unlikely to threaten the dominance of the Japanese models, it does offer an attractive alternative to buyers seeking upscale amenities and elegant styling at a price below $30000.
For 2006, Kia embellished Amanti’s value with the addition of leather seats, heated front seats, auto-dimming rear view mirror with HomeLink system and power sunroof as standard equipment.
The Amanti rides like a luxury car, though the degree of float in the suspension may put some drivers off. The power steering is deft for a sedan with a long, 110.2-inch wheelbase.
While the 200-horsepower V6 is strong, it may be the weak point against the Japanese luxury brands. Sending power to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission, the Amanti takes off briskly and maintains a nice surge up the entrance ramps. Still, the engine is an also-ran against the luxury competition.