2007 Kia

2007 Kia Amanti

Kia's first foray into the entry-luxury market offers ample interior room and comfort, with restrained and fairly elegant styling, but with perhaps too soft of a ride. The Amanti comes powered by a 195-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which drives the front wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission that includes a manual-shift mode. Anti-lock brakes are standard, with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, traction control, and Electronic Stability Control optional. Also included are both front and rear seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Leather upholstery with heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a garage door opener are among the major standard features. Stability control is optional, and an optional equipment package includes a premium Infinity audio system with CD changer, trip computer with four-inch monitor and memory settings for the driver's seat and outside mirrors.

2007 Kia Optima

Redesigned last year, the mid-sized, front-wheel-drive Optima sedan carries through into 2007 with both four and six-cylinder models, a good-sized 14.8 cubic foot trunk and one of the roomiest cabins in its segment. Standard safety equipment includes front and front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front headrests and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Four wheel ABS disc brakes with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, traction control and Brake Assist (BAS) are available as a packaged option. Drivetrain-wise, the standard 2.4 liter, four-cylinder engine produces 161 horsepower while the optional 2.7 liter V-6 is good for 185. A five-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic manual shift capability is standard on most Optima models. An improved, smoother shifting five-speed manual transmission is standard on the base LX four-cylinder model -- which also comes standard with cruise control, keyless entry and alarm, manual tilt and telescopic steering column, audio system controls on the steering wheel and floor mats. The LX V6 model adds dual exhaust outlets and alloy wheels. Top-of-the-line EX models (four-cylinder and V-6 versions) feature alloy wheels, fog lights, solar glass, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, automatic temperature control, auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink, leather-wrapped steering wheel, trip computer, metal door scuff plates, chrome accent outside door handles and an Infinity AM/FM/Cassette/6-disc CD/MP3 premium audio system; the EX V6 adds dual exhaust outlets.

2007 KIA Rio

Redesigned for 2006 along with its equivalent at Hyundai, the Accent, the subcompact Rio continues as one of the lowest (if not the lowest) priced cars sold in the U.S. Details on changes, if any, to the 2007 version were not available at the time of this writing. Available as either a sedan or hatchback in base and LX models, the revised Rio is longer, wider, and taller than before, affording added backseat legroom, increased shoulder clearance, and more available headroom. Its trunk capacity is 27 percent larger than before. A black mesh grille and swept-back headlamps highlight a variety of styling updates. Under the hood, a new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with CVVT (Continuously Variable Valve Timing) delivers 110 horsepower. It can be teamed with either a five-speed manual gearbox, or a four-speed automatic. Power rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel-disc brakes are standard, as are six airbags, including front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and roof-mounted front/rear side curtain airbags. Anti-lock brakes are optional. While the base model is fairly unadorned, the LX version adds a CD stereo, and offers a Power Package that includes power locks, mirrors, and windows, keyless entry, and heated mirrors.

2007 Kia Sedona

Kia's seven-passenger Sedona minivan was redesigned for 2006; no word at the time of this writing on changes for 2007 but they are expected to be minimal. The Sedona is designed to compete with offerings from Honda and Toyota by offering similar features for less money. The latest Sedona rides on a longer wheelbase and features a roomier cabin with seven-passenger seating, including a standard 60/40-split third-row seat that folds flat into the floor for cargo-carrying flexibility. The minivan packs a 3.8-liter V-6 engine with 240-horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque that drives the front wheels via a five-speed Sportronic automatic transmission with manual-shift capability. Its ride and handling benefits from a new four-wheel independent suspension. As befits a family vehicle, safety features are plentiful, including front-side and side-curtain airbags that extend across all three rows of seats, and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Electronic Stability Control, a tire pressure monitor and active front headrests (to help reduce whiplash injuries in a crash) are optional. A host of amenities that today's minivan buyers have come to expect are all available, including power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, power-operated side doors and rear liftgate and a backseat DVD video player.

2007 Kia Sorento

Kia's mid-size Sorento SUV is due for updating, but at the time of this writing, official details were not yet available. The current model remains available in both rear- and four-wheel-drive versions; buyers have a choice of either a part-time or full-time Torque-on-Demand 4WD system. A 3.5-liter V-6 generates 192 horsepower and 217 lb-ft of torque and can be mated to either a four-speed-automatic transmission or a five-speed-manual gearbox. The vehicle includes standard four-wheel-disc brakes, a CD stereo, cruise control, power locks, mirrors and windows and a rear wiper/washer. Anti-lock brakes, an automatic load-leveling suspension, automatic climate control, and heated leather seats are all on the options list. For the '06 model year, LX models got new alloy wheels as standard equipment.

2007 Kia Spectra

Available as a compact sedan or hatchback, the Spectra is an impressive small car, with attractive styling, solid performance and a bargain price. It offers six standard airbags, including dual front, front-side, and head-curtain varieties. The Spectra's 2.0-liter four-cylinder uses variable valve timing to generate a 138 horsepower; enough to be fun for enthusiast drivers. This engine can be mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic gearbox. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, with anti-lock brakes optional. The hatchback model offers more aggressive styling and handling, sport seats and metal brake, accelerator, and clutch pedals. Both the Spectra5 and the top SX sedan version add several comfort and convenience features.

2007 Kia Sportage

A vastly improved version of the compact Sportage sport-utility vehicle that appeared in 2005 carries over to 2007. This model This compact SUV/crossover is based on the Hyundai Tucson. Front- and all-wheel-drive models are offered, and the Sportage benefits from its car-like underpinnings, which help contribute to a relatively smooth and well-controlled ride. It rides on MacPherson struts up front, with gas-filled shock absorbers at the rear, stabilizer bars added at both ends, and 16-inch wheels and tires. Power comes from either a standard 140-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or an available 2.7-liter V-6 that produces 173 horses, either of which can be mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. A cabin air-filtration system and tire-pressure monitor are now standard.