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2004 Kia Amanti

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$24,995

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

Sedan

Body style

5

Seating capacity

196.0” x 58.5”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

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2004 Kia Amanti review: Our expert's take

By Cars.com Editors

Familiar, for Good Reasons
2004 Kia Amanti

This is a soap opera, a tale of dalliances and romances speculative and true.

It involves liaisons and rumors of liaisons between the world’s greatest car companies. Its protagonist is the 2004 Kia Amanti sedan, the grand offspring of those many affairs.

In the main, the story is told through the Amanti’s face and ample body, which are subjects of much gossip in the global automotive community.

Legend has it that the Amanti, Kia’s first large sedan, is the descendant of an initial union between Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, which begot a child, Jaguabenz.

Jaguabenz was reared in a patrician environment in which it dated and mated with BMW, a coupling that yielded Jabenbimmer, who in childhood cruelly was nicknamed “Jabimbo.”

Angry, rebellious and resentful, Jabimbo rolled around a lot, most notably with a Japanese partner, Toyota Avalon, and a somewhat pretentious American, Buick LeSabre.

From one of those unions, which one is uncertain, came this week’s car, the Kia Amanti. It’s being passed off as a full-size Korean sedan simply because it is sold by Kia Motors, which became a part of South Korea’s Hyundai Automotive Group in September 2000.

But anyone looking at the Amanti will not be taken in by that ruse. At the very least, the Amanti is the design progeny of styling cues stolen from every major manufacturer of big cars European, Japanese and domestic. It is the finest bit of industrial plagiarism witnessed in decades, and for that Kia deserves applause.

Applause?

Yes, applause, congratulations and kudos of every sort. What Kia has put together here is praiseworthy — a truly big and comfortable car of excellent fit and finish, packed with amenities, and sold at a price that renders discounts on comparable automobiles meaningless.

And although questions and jokes remain about its styling legacy, one thing is certain: The Amanti turns heads.

For example, Mercedes-Benz executives were shocked at last year’s Frankfurt Auto Show when they saw a black Amanti roll into the driveway of the Intercontinental Hotel.

“That looks like one of ours!” said a Mercedes-Benz official.

“No,” said another Mercedes-Benz executive. “I’ll be [expletive]! That’s a Kia!”

That’s exactly the reaction Kia is seeking with the Amanti, and that is what it is getting in the United States and abroad.

Kia has an objective. It wants to erase every vestige of the shame and embarrassment that accompanied the introduction of its automobiles in America in 1994. Those early Kia cars were losers — cheap, small, unreliable and built to stay that way. They were fodder for Jay Leno car jokes on “The Tonight Show.”

But Kia has been improving, and its progress accelerated when it got together with Hyundai four years ago. (The Amanti, in fact, lar gely is based on the front-wheel-drive platform of Hyundai’s big sedan, the XG350.) With the Amanti, Kia is serving notice that it is here to stay. It is targeting the loyal and lucrative baby-boomer market for large sedans, currently served by models such as the Buick LeSabre, Toyota Avalon, Mercury Grand Marquis, Chrysler Concorde and, although it’s a bit of a stretch, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

In addition to the look and interior roominess of those cars, the Amanti has their cushy boulevard ride.

The Amanti glides like a butterfly, floats like a boat. In that regard, it also has more than a little bit of Lincoln Town Car in its genetic code. But not everybody is asking, “Who’s your daddy?” about this one. It’s getting admirers and thumbs-up as a legitimate and credible player in the American market.

Perhaps it’s time to welcome Kia Motors and the Amanti to the family.

Nuts & Bolts

Downside: Not much. The ride is too soft for my tastes. But other people love it. The Infinity speaker in the passenger-side door wasn’t properly mounted. But that’s an easy fix.

Ride, acceleration and handling: There is more than enough here to please normal drivers (those who don’t confuse city streets with racetracks) in all three categories. This is an enjoyable car.

Head-turning quotient: “Who’s your daddy?” Before seeing the Kia badge, many people mistook the Amanti for a Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, “a kind of BMW” as one observer put it, the new Buick LaCrosse, “a Lexus of some sort,” and the Toyota Avalon. All of those misidentifications are music to the ears of Kia executives.

Body style/layout: The Amanti is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive sedan. Kia markets it as a full-size model. But it also has been referred to as a midsize car.

Engine/transmission: The Amanti is equipped with a 3.5-liter, 24-valve, V-6 engine that develops 195 horsepower at 5,500 revolutions per minute and 220 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. The engine is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually.

Capacities: The Amanti has seating for five people. Maximum cargo capacity is 16 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 18.5 gallons of gasoline. Regular unleaded is recommended.

Mileage: I averaged 23 miles per gallon in city/highway driving.

Standard features: Loaded! Power seats and locks, heated side-view mirrors, simulated wood trim on dash and center console, eight-speaker sound system, leather-wrapped steering wheel and more.

Safety: Standard front and rear head air bags, dual front and dual rear side air bags; standard anti-lock brakes.

Price: Base price is $24,995. Dealer invoice price on base model is $22,655. Price as tested is $26,085, including $550 for the optional electronic stability control system and a $540 destination charge.

Purse-strings note: The Amanti is the first Kia car to earn a “buy” rating from this column.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior 4.9
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value 4.7
  • Exterior 4.7
  • Reliability 4.7
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Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Very dependable car for the money

My mother in law owned this car first, then we bought it for our daughter. She had it for years and it was very reliable and dependable. It stopped once on her but needed a new battery and has worked great every since the battery was replaced. We hated to part with it but the daughter wanted a more trendier car.

5.0

2004 Kia Amanti 170,000+ Miles Strong

2004 Kia Amanti?great styling, safety features, reliability, warranty, and pretty good gas mileage. But did you know that you could easily keep a 2004 Kia Amanti on the road well past 100,000 miles? We did. In fact we surpassed 170,000, and the engine still purrs. Purchased at 30,000 miles old, this vehicle never failed during eight subsequent years and only required regular maintenance, including timing belt changes, brakes/rotors, and, yes, oil changes. Life on the road in our 2004 Kia Amanti has been delightful after long commutes and even longer work hours. The sound system and surrounding sound speakers have been wonderful distractions. Unfortunately, it has all came to an end, as we have pushed a little too hard and delayed an all-important service run before the transmission became unreliable. This is the sort of thing that happens when you work too much. Still, the engine purrs. And we are thankful for eight fateful years of service and unyielding dependability. Lessons: remember to take care of yourself so you can take care of your Kia.

5.0

Best car ever owned RELIABLE

1st year model for this car, bought it new, still have it, tires, brakes, battery only repairs, just bought another kia cadenza! Love them!

See all 11 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2004 Kia Amanti base trim.
Nhtsa rollover rating
4

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Kia
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
60 months/60,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/100,000 miles
Powertrain
120 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
60 months/unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years or newer/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles
Powertrain
10 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
165-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?