Steering Column

Moody Magentis

Kia’s flagship car, the Magentis, is about to take on a whole new look; a look which I’m convinced is going to be a major boost to the Korean manufacturer’s image in Europe and the USA.

The first pictures of the next generation Magentis show a sleek and moody car, all narrow lights, swooping lines and glittering alloys. It looks elegant and technically advanced. BMW wouldn’t be embarrassed to have one like this in its brochure.

It’s a saloon that Kia says “exudes athletic confidence from every angle”. The official communiqués talk of the raked roofline, the high shoulder line of its sculpted flanks, its extended wheelbase with flared wheel arches and a “shallow glasshouse” working to “create a saloon with a muscular, self-assured stance”.

Normally I’d balk at such verbose inanities but on this occasion, I’m inclined to agree. I must be ill. Longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model, it’s a totally new car from the ground up. It’s a truly international car too, the exterior being designed in Frankfurt and the interior in California.

I’ve been calling it the new Magentis, and that’s what it will be unveiled as at the New York International Auto Show next month. However, Kia says that it will be confirming its name in the UK nearer its launch date in 2011. The car will be launched in phases around the world.

Revamped RAV

Toyota’s baby four-wheel-drive, the RAV4, is getting a new look for 2010. Unveiled at Geneva earlier this month, the car looks better and stronger than ever before.

Every development of the RAV4 has, in my opinion, helped it mature from the boy-racer “off-road GTi” it was first marketed as, to the sensible five-door family car we see before us today.

The current model is pretty far from being dog-ugly, but the new version has narrower lights, a wider and more cheerful looking front grille and a nicely sculpted bonnet. It’s following in the tyre-tracks of the new-look Avensis family car. In the UK there will be no change to the powertrains we’ve come to know and love. There will be the two-litre petrol engine and the 2.2-litre diesel engines. Gears will be stirred up using either the six-speed stick-shift box, the CVT unit or the six-speed automatic.

You can neither buy nor order them yet but you will be able to soon and that’s when we’ll get the final low-down on the equipment and the prices. You can probably expect them to be between £20,000 and £25,000.

People get ready . . . . . .

The new Mazda6 is coming early. Such has been the demand for the all new hatch and estate-car versions that the company has brought forward its UK launch date a few weeks.

The planned on-sale date was to be 1st April but petrol models should be in showrooms very soon if they aren’t there already and diesel models will arrive in May.

There will be 19 cars with refreshed exterior and interior styling along with extra kit and improved fuel economy. They will have a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines, four equipment levels, and two body-styles. Prices will be between about £17,000 and £23,500.

Mike Grundon


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