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Down on the Eindhoven Street – Kia Opirus

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I love the Kia Opirus. It’s a car so ungainly looking, it pretty much makes the googly-eyed mid-’90s Ford Scorpio look like a beauty queen. It’s an unquestionable rip-off of the Mercedes-Benz W210 E-class, combined with bits and bobs of the Jaguar S-Type – neither of which are particularly good-looking cars unless you’re an unquestioning follower of either brand. The one other Korean luxury car of the same era that made it to Europe, the Hyundai XG, positively looks like a well-judged Mitsubishi Debonair development in comparison. The Opirus, in contrast, is just bloated and blobby.

Naturally, I want one. This 2007 car was shot in Eindhoven, some way inland from Amsterdam.

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And yet, in dark bluey green, the car almost pulls it off. It looks restrained and tasteful, yet completely anonymous in parts. The LED DRL:s aren’t too well-suited to the car, though. Neither are the generic wheels.

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The Opirus is one of the few cars that don’t necessarily display the manufacturer’s logo on the front grille. I’ve seen numerous grille treatments on various Opiruses, and this is one of the more modest ones. They all look pretty terrible.

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You need to walk all the way to the back to identify the car. The Opirus was also sold as the Amanti, which is too close to Mazda’s stillborn Amati brand for comfort. The Opirus was sold here with the 3.5-litre Sigma V6 producing a touch over 200hp, or the 3.8-litre Lambda II V6 that this exact car has, with 260hp.

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And when you take a step back, you realize they were aiming at the Lincoln Town car all along. That roofline, together with the rear plate chrome surround, is legit Lincoln stuff. What a car!

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. david42 says:

    I love off-kilter luxury cars as much as the next hoon, but this never did it for me. I do like the LED turn signals though (those aren't DRLs); they're brilliant when they ignite, and were really eye-catching when the car first came out.

  2. Stephen Walton says:

    Amanti is a bad name, but Opirus sounds like a communicable disease.

  3. RobbyDeGraff says:

    I drove one a few years ago and was very surprised and impressed/surely an under-rated car.

  4. Devin says:

    Some of them have this rear end, which doesn't quite look like anything.

    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/vehicle-pictures/2006/kia/amanti/3518-048-rear-3-4-480.jpg"&gt;

    Naturally, I'd drive one, debadged, just to see the reactions.

    • dukeisduke says:

      Yep, that's the Amanti rear end. The Opirus has the Hyundai XG/XGL rear end.

      • Devin says:

        Well they both had both butts. Earlier ones have that butt, later ones have the butt of the car posted originally, due to a butt-lift.

  5. Chris says:

    I snuck into the back seat of one of these in the showroom. The leather was so soft and plush, I think I could have gone to sleep right there.

  6. wisc47 says:

    It's like one of those dogs who is so weird looking it starts to look kind of good. Or like Andie MacDowell.

  7. marmer01 says:

    At the time (sold as Amanti here) it was by far the cheapest up-lux interior available. Really, by about ten grand. Nice materials and drivetrain; if I recall correctly there was some kind of off note about the interior; ugly display screen or no nav system or something like that. But buttery leather and nice wood, if that was what you wanted, without M-B or BMW price or perceived ostentation.

    There's a family in my neighborhood who has a well-kept first-year one.

  8. My neighbour has one of these, I must say they look horrible in the flesh, but yeah they come with all the bells and wistles.

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