- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009

KIA AMANTI

The 2009 Kia Amanti offers a roomy and well-equipped alternative to higher-priced sedans in its segment. A host of amenities await consumers looking for refinement.

Sirius Satellite Radio with three months complimentary service and auxiliary and USB input jacks add to the extensive list of standard features. Standard amenities include dual-zone automatic temperature control, power front seats and power windows with heated outside mirrors. Available option packages add 17-inch chrome wheels, leather seat trim, a premium Infinity sound system and power adjustable pedals.

Amanti’s 3.8-liter all-aluminum dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine generates 264 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque. A fully independent suspension featuring gas-pressurized shocks, a front double wishbone and rear multilink setup are premium attributes most commonly associated with pricier luxury cars.

Amanti’s exterior styling features include chrome accents such as the front grille, door handles and body-side moldings; clear-lens halogen headlights with front projection fog lights; tinted windows; and a dual exhaust.

Inside, more luxurious standard features are highlighted with chrome, plush leather and exquisite wood accents.

Base model estimated mpg: 17 city/24 highway

Estimated starting price: TBA

KIA SORENTO

The 2009 Sorrento midsize sport utility vehicle continues to bring to its segment the capabilities, practicality and safety features of an authentic body-on-frame SUV while maintaining a level of refinement found in luxury vehicles.

The all-aluminum 3.3-liter V-6 engine, standard on LX trim level models, emits 242 horsepower and 228 foot-pounds of torque. The Sorrento can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

All EX models remain standard with the 3.8-liter V-6 engine, which produces 262 horsepower, 260 foot-pounds of torque and a competitive 5,000-pound towing capacity.

A rugged, authentic SUV, Sorrento features body-on-frame construction with nine crossmembers, a double wishbone front suspension and a five-link solid rear axle. A long wheelbase and wide track provide a comfortable ride and effective stability in most typical driving situations, while the short front and rear body overhangs allow Sorrento to navigate steep terrain.

The 2009 Sorrento is available in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive. Standard exterior features include a single bar insert with chrome surround grille, front headlamps with projection lights, front-end skid plates and front and rear towing hooks.

Base model estimated mpg: 16 city/22 highway

Estimated starting price: TBA

KIA SPECTRA

The Kia Spectra and Spectra5 are standouts, leading the pack with high marks for thrifty fuel-sipping ability combined with high style and class-leading safety features.

Spectra and Spectra5 are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which features continuously variable valve timing. Producing 138 horsepower and 136 foot-pounds of torque, the Spectra lineup offers a powerful punch with two trims available for 2009: a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission.

Built on a front-wheel-drive unibody frame, independent front suspension with MacPherson struts, standard coil springs and stabilizer bars work with an independent dual-link rear suspension to provide the optimal balance of ride comfort.

Larger than Kia’s entry-level Rio, the Spectra line personifies a more grown-up exterior body with smooth, clean lines. All trim levels feature body-color exterior door handles, body side moldings and rear garnishes to create a sleek canvas on which to outfit aggressive subtleties.

Base model estimated mpg: 24 city/32 highway

Estimated starting price: $13,550


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