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TEST: Hyundai Sonata, Kia Magentis


YURI OCHETOV. PHOTO: Konstantin Yakubov

Kia magentis

2.0 L, 136 L p., 4-speed "automatic", entry-level equipment, $ 20, 850.

Hyundai Sonata

2.0 l, 133 hp, 4-speed automatic, GLS equipment, $ 20, 250.

Hyundai Sonata

The fifth-generation Hyundai Sonata debuted in the summer of 2001. The front-wheel drive sedan is unified with the KIA Magentis.

In the spring of 2004, assembly was mastered

at TagAZ.

Engines: 2.0 liter petrol (133 hp) and 2.7 liter (178 hp).

Gearboxes: 5-speed

mechanical, 4-speed automatic


Options: GL and GLS.

Price in Russia: $ 17, 500–24, 600.

Kia magentis

KIA Magentis was shown at the end of 2000, and two years later its appearance was updated. Available with a sedan, unified with the Hyundai Sonata. In the spring of 2001, assembly was launched in Kaliningrad by AvtoTOR.

Engines: gasoline 2.0 liters (136 hp) and 2.5 liters (168 hp).

Transmissions: 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.

Two levels of configuration.

Price in Russia: $ 19, 550–22, 600.


The traffic cop stepped onto the roadway and, having passed the solid "Magentis", cleverly hooked the frivolous silver "Sonata" with striped tackle. A lesson in practical psychology - a lot of officials drive Kaliningrad sedans, so it’s sometimes more expensive to slow down a car like the previously nomenclature Volga. Particular of the Hyundai Sonata is another matter … However, the situation may even out - from now on it is also a domestic car and now it is quite patriotic to drive it.

However, let's leave the hardware games. We are interested in something else: a very attractive offer appeared in the middle class - the price of a large two-liter “Sonata”, assembled at the Taganrog Automobile Plant, starts at $ 17, 500. For acquaintance, we took a car with an automatic transmission, which is offered only in the GLS complete set with alloy wheels, traction control, climate control - for everything about everything a little more than twenty thousand. A couple of hers was another “Russian Korean” - “KIA Magentis” of the AvtOTOR Kaliningrad enterprise, which in a very close configuration, also a two-liter one and with an “automatic”, costs almost the same.



Sometimes we categorically identify cars as feminine or masculine - especially when the name helps. Our couple is just one of those: rounded, all of the soft lines of the Sonata with flirty upturned corners of slanted headlights - obviously a lady in a silver dress. Serious, black with chrome “Magentis” - of course, a gentleman in a classic suit, shaded by the sheen of cufflinks, watches and a cigarette case.

At first glance, there are two completely different cars, which combine only close sizes and belonging to the European D-class. However, there is much more in common than they seem and even than can be gleaned from press releases. They mention the unification of the platform - it is logical, because KIA Motors is part of Hyundai Corporation. But unification is a loose concept, here we see its maximum manifestation. Honestly, I have never seen a greater similarity between two cars of different brands.

Automotive companies are sometimes cunning, releasing a restyled version on the market under the guise of a new model - go figure out what is hidden under the changed appearance. However, there is a simple but absolutely reliable way to find out the truth - just compare the shape of the door and window openings, racks, roof. They are included in the power structure of the body, which is not affected during cosmetic upgrades. Just such a case is before us - with all the external differences, the Hyundai Sonata and KIA Magentis have the same spatial framework at the heart: a close relationship is evident.

By the way, the steps between the body parts of the "Sonata" in places reach one and a half to two millimeters (a real trifle, by the standards of the domestic auto industry!). The "Magentis" is another misfortune - they forgot to put the pistons of the rear bumper. How can one not recall the loose wing of the editorial Focus and the Accent wheel falling off during the test - they were also collected in Russia …


Quite expectedly, our couple turned out to be almost the same and the salons are spacious, able to easily accommodate five non-skimpy men. A general note is the relatively small ceiling height at the back, which is touched by the top of the head with a passenger taller than 180 cm. The driver will have to pretty much twist the vertical position adjusters before he finds a comfortable position - the chair is spacious, but rather flat. In addition, a solid steering column cover strives to call on the knees.

The similarity in the design of the salons is such that sometimes you get confused: seats, front panel, instruments, handles, button and switch blocks, climate control panel, selector lever of the “automatic machine” and many other elements are either completely identical, or are distinguished only by materials or shades. By God, it’s easier to list the differences: the steering wheels and the parking brake levers slightly differ in shape, the door panels are more or less original, and the KIA center console is visually combined with the tunnel - Hyundai has these elements separately. General impression: the interiors are neat enough, but too modest, in some places - on the verge of cheapness, incompatible with the class. What are slippery, with burrs plastic handbrake, out of place crowned with chrome buttons!

If you depart from the requirements of stylistic unity, the Magentis interior looks a bit richer: there are inserts under the tree, metal sills on the thresholds, and the steering wheel and selector are sheathed in leather, which is really convenient. A radio tape recorder is also installed, although rather simple. On the other hand, he does not have a headlight level control, without which the cars now, it was thought, would not be released at all. "Sonata" can not boast of a radio as standard: the one that shows off in a test machine, installed by the dealer.

The originality of equipping cars with this is not limited to. For example, there is a central lock, but without remote control - to be honest, I already forgot when I had to open the car with a key. Four power windows are installed, but the automatic mode is only for the driver and only for lowering. The key blocks themselves seem to be from the twice cheaper KIA Rio … it's a shame … I pulled the steering column for a long time, trying to adjust it in length, until I realized that it could only be raised or lowered. And just a couple of frontal airbags, albeit in the basic configuration - not enough! In general, the filling of our pair of "Koreans" is different from what the European buyer is used to seeing in this class. And from what we are slowly getting used to.


Almost identical power units are installed on both machines: two-liter sixteen-valve engines differ only in the setting of the electronics. The “Sonata” has a slightly more “high-torque” characteristic - 184 N.m at 4500 rpm, the “Magentis” - 180 N.m at 4600 rpm. But the latter is a little more powerful - 136 liters. with. against 133 at the same 6, 000 rpm. Transmissions with automatic transmissions repeat each other up to hundredths in gear ratios. And I would not have to talk about differences in dynamic qualities, if … not one “but”.

The fact is that cars are equipped with wheels of various dimensions - 205 / 60R16 at Hyundai and 205 / 60R15 at KIA. It is difficult to find a logical explanation, since the wheel arches are the same in size, but the results are obvious: the “extra” inch of diameter provides the Sonata with a very good ground clearance of 170 mm, but increases the turning radius to 5.6 m. The Magentis has 160 mm, respectively and 5.2 m. And most importantly: the big wheel, ceteris paribus, realizes less traction - up to a hundred silver car accelerates in 14.6 s, losing more than a second to the opponent.

However, these are the nuances. Subjectively, both “Russian Koreans” are calm, comfortable airliners, able to accelerate smoothly, with dignity, and then quietly fly along the highway, swaying on soft suspensions that ignore potholes (we note that they are also exactly the same). But to “shoot” from a traffic light or when overtaking, to precisely register a bunch of steep turns - it doesn’t work out very well. And the power doesn’t seem to be small, but multiplied by four “viscous” gears of the hydromechanical “automatic machine” (by the way, with the possibility of manual control), and then assigned to nearly one and a half tons of curb weight, the thrust-weight ratio is very moderate.

Reckoning for lulling comfort is a strong buildup on gentle waves, which in combination with large banks in corners sometimes threatens to simply throw the car to the sidelines. It is difficult to “catch” it because of slowed-down, smeared reactions and an almost weightless steering without reliable feedback. In such a situation, the limited performance of the power steering for both cars looks more likely as an advantage: with a sharp turn, it seems to rest against a slowly retreating limiter, preventing it from making unnecessarily bold evolutions. Note that the KIA Magentis seemed a little more focused and accurate - perhaps because it is lower?


… perhaps still the Magentis. No, not only for the few advantages that he demonstrated in comparison with the Sonata. Yes, outwardly I like him more, but this is a subjective matter. But the manufacturer’s guarantee is an objective factor. The Taganrog Plant promises to disinterestedly take care of its Hyundai Sonata for only two years or 40 thousand km, but AvtoTOR will faithfully love my KIA Magentis for five years or 120 thousand km! Of course, the absurdity is complete - after all, the cars are almost the same, but what does the buyer care about? A long-known truth is confirmed: the guarantee does not reflect the reliability or technical perfection of the car, but only indicates the desire of the manufacturer to sell their goods. We will assume that I “bought” this move. However, the situation may soon change. TagAZ dealers are seriously considering the possibility of increasing the guarantee - presumably up to three years and 100 thousand km.


"Hyundai Sonata" - in the minimum configuration, perhaps the best offer in the class.

+ Spacious interior, comfortable suspension, high ground clearance, good insulation, attractive price.

- Poor equipment and trim, modest dynamics, sluggish fuzzy reactions, uninformative steering.

“KIA Magentis” - maximum representativeness for each invested banknote.

+ Spacious interior, comfortable suspension, considerable ground clearance, good insulation, solid appearance, attractive price, long warranty.

- Modest equipment and decoration, moderate dynamics, blurred reactions, uninformative steering.



SONATA Magentis

Fog lights -

Headlights corrector -


wheel disks -

central locking

Power window

(front / rear) / /

Electric mirrors


steering column

Climate control

Audio preparation -

Audio System -

Belt tensioners


(qty) 2 2



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