By on October 19, 2009

Global Times has an official image of the production Hyundai Azera-based Kia Cadenza, the replacement for the aged and unlovable Amanti. Not long ago, TTAC’s sharp-eyed readers had a surprisingly hard time identifying this car’s interior as a Kia at all. And with a new Schreyer-styled look that’s light years beyond the Amanti’s crude E-class cribbing, the Cadenza’s exterior could fool a few observers as well. With GM positioning Buick as “luxury without paying for status,” a Kia like this seems to be that brand’s chief competition. Who saw that coming?

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27 Comments on “Kia Cadenza: Entry-Entry-Luxury?...”


  • avatar
    rockit

    Looks good in a generic sort of way. Isn’t Kia supposed to be sporty and hip? “Luxury without paying for status” doesn’t fit that image.

    Is this based on the new Sonata?

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Korean Buicks vs. Chinese Buicks? Can we even design a desirable entry-level luxury car in the good ole’ USofA anymore?

    Guess every car design now has to play in multiple markets to be financially viable…and the winners will be those who can leverage international appeal…not an easy task with divergent tastes, safety regulations, etc.

    Hyundai/Kia continues to look like a formidable challenger in the global market.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Move the Kia badge to the middle of the grille, the silly chrome strip at the bottom of the doors up 5 or 6″ and replace the impossible to clean saw blade wheels and this could be a really decent new entry. Does anybody know if it’s FWD/AWD or RWD? Which platform is it based on?

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

    How many times did th elowly, cheapo Kia try to sell a Kia as a “luxury sedan”? Add the times Hyundai failed with the XG 350 or so and then the Azera. SOme people never learn.

    This is even more ridiculous than the VW Phaeton debacle.

    KIA must be the cheapest brand in the Universe of US -sold cars,

    did they learn NOTHING from TOyota which has a far better reputation for Quality, but still, it understood that it cannot sell a luxury car as a TOYOTA, so it created LEXUS?????

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Orange-peel and strange protrusions come standard.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    I guess Kia desperately needs some kind of a “halo car” to erase its image of the cheapest brand on sale in the USA, even if it has to lose $100 million or so in the process of keeping these losers alive for a few years (Amanti, now the cadenza).. Sort of what Hyundai did a few years ago with the XG 350 and then the Azera, both utterly unremarkable Buicks.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    This is a great leap forward from the Soviet Bloc styling of the Amanti.

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    Looks more like an Impala than a Buick – completely uninspiring.

  • avatar

    The styling doesn’t do much for me.

    So, does this share a platform with the Azera or with the Genesis? My guess is Azera.

    Update: did a quick search, and Azera appears correct.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Don’t know about “luxury” Kias, as I think that may be a little out of their lane. But after driving a Koup just for GP, if they play their cards right for low(er) cost alternatives to Honda and the like, they are on track to show considerable success. Moving upscale probably isn’t the wisest product move for Kia…perhaps Hyundai (to a degree), but keep Kia the low-cost, more youthful brand and keep the quality improvements coming.

  • avatar
    DearS

    If people in this country can get past Badge and prestige (belittling and demeaning) and buy vehicles for substance, thank God. A Kia, Buick and Hyundai as luxury cars without diminishing one another sounds heavenly.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    Remember, the Amanti was not forgettable…it was actually quite memorable, but not in a good way.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Looks good in a generic sort of way. Isn’t Kia supposed to be sporty and hip? “Luxury without paying for status” doesn’t fit that image.

    I’ve been wondering this for some time. Hyundai doesn’t seem to have a good idea of what it wants to do with it’s North American channels.

    On one hand, if Kia is “cheap and sporty”, why do they have the Rio sedan, sad-sack Amanti, Tahoe-clone Borrego. And why does Hyundai have a three-door Accent, an Elantra wagon and both the Genesis coupe and Tiburon. Then there’s the duplication: both brands have minivans, both have crossovers that primarily compete with each other.

    There’s some bright spots in terms of differentiation (the BoF Sorrento, the Soul, the Elantra sedan vs. the Forte, the Gensis sedan) but they really have problems.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    Kia, IIRC, is supposed to go after the US domestic market. Hyundai competes with other imports.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Looks good. Quality? I’d have to give that some more thought.

    Why can’t GM build some sort of car that looks like this??????? Oh – AND – sell it here!!!

    They’ve come close (AURA).

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    this is a new platform

    what Hyundai/Kia do is trial the new platform first at Kia and the roll it over to Hyundai once the kinks are worked out

    this car is a disppointment to me… it just looks a lot worse than I expected… it’s not Bangle awful but it’s a generic design like the Kizashi

    it will have the option of Haldex Traction 4wd

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    Well, it doesn’t look bad at all. It’s inoffensive and conservative. However, I’m going to wager that’s a higher trim level and predict that anything less than the top tier will descend into gray-plastic-cladding hell.

    The idea itself is just stupid, really. Modern luxury entails lots of electronic finery, so what are the chances that these “luxury” Kias won’t be suffering from crippling electrical system and accessory failure 5 or 6 years down the road, especially when none of the German luxo-brands can manage it? Hyundai’s whole luxury push (Genesis included) just seems like a bridge too far to me. Like Autosavant said, neither Hyundai nor Kia has the brand equity and cachet to compete in the luxury market. If it were up to me, I’d halt the upmarket creep for now and focus on defining the brands–Kia as a price-intensive, youth-oriented, car and small-ute brand, and Hyundai as a full-line brand to do battle with Hontoyossan. After the auto market recovers (admittedly an unknown date), then they can think about a third luxury brand. Doing that right now would be suicide, and they know it. This car will belly flop just as the Amanti, XG350, and Azera did by trying to do too many things at once.

    On a side note, a halo car was mentioned. If Hyundai wants a halo car for Kia, how about a sport compact of some sort? A hot-hatch Soul, maybe? Resurrecting the Tiburon as a Kia?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    ZZZZZZ….snore…

    Whoops, sorry, I fell asleep. Were we talking about luxury Kias?

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    I think it’s handsome.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    psarhjinian :
    October 19th, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I’ve been wondering this for some time. Hyundai doesn’t seem to have a good idea of what it wants to do with it’s North American channels.

    On one hand, if Kia is “cheap and sporty”, why do they have the Rio sedan, sad-sack Amanti, Tahoe-clone Borrego. And why does Hyundai have a three-door Accent, an Elantra wagon and both the Genesis coupe and Tiburon. Then there’s the duplication: both brands have minivans, both have crossovers that primarily compete with each other.

    There’s some bright spots in terms of differentiation (the BoF Sorrento, the Soul, the Elantra sedan vs. the Forte, the Gensis sedan) but they really have problems.

    I dunno… I’m kind of glad someone is making a few two-doors available. Conventional thinking has all of us being herded into anonymous four-doors and SUV/CUV’s with perhaps one sporty two-door in an entire brand’s given lineup (sometimes not even then).

    BTW… the Tiburon was discontinued after the 2008 model year… and the Elantra “wagon” really isn’t even an Elantra (nor is it actually a wagon – and it’s a pretty interesting car with real European driving dynamics). Just sayin’.

    But I do understand your point about duplication between Hyundai and Kia and the company’s slight confusion about each brand’s mission. A valid point.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Looks good in spite of the stupid made-up named. The Kia Cadenza’s natural competitors would appear to be the aging Chevrolet Impala (chassis dating back to the 1989 Lumina), the Dodge Charger equipped with the crappy 2.7 and 3.5 liter V-6 engines, and the decent but over-priced Ford Taurus. It should do well.

    It will probably rope in some buyers attracted by the extra space and room over a similarly-priced Camry, Altima, or Accord.

  • avatar
    BD

    @rockit – It’s supposed to be upscale sporty a la the Maxima (or the new Taurus).

    @ponchoman49 – It’s FWD (based on the next-gen Azera platform) and reportedly will have a Haldex AWD option.

    @Autosavant – It would help to actually KNOW something about what one is talking about

    The Credenza is entry-level “luxury” a la the Maxima, Taurus, Avalon, etc. and not real luxury like the Genesis sedan, which, btw, is the best selling “mid-sized” luxury import sedan aside from the E Class and 5 Series (out-selling the Infiniti M and Lexus GS by nearly a 3 to 1 margin this year).

    @psarhjinian – Kia models will be differentiated from Hyundais in that they will have sportier tuning (as well as a cleaner, more European styling) and will go against the likes of Nissan while Hyundai will continue to have a cushier ride as a rival to Toyota.

    @Via Nocturna – actually, the Kia flagship will be a smaller, RWD sports sedan based on a shortened Genesis platform (technically, the real successor to the Amanti based on how Kia codes its models).

  • avatar
    John R

    It’s looks pretty sharp, but I had heard a rumor that it was going to be smaller than the Genesis and RWD. I guess that’s out. Damn.

    I really wish Hyundai had a plan for this brand. It Kia your sporty brand or not? A RWD 4-door smaller and less cushy than the Genesis would make sense.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    I’m GLAD that one company has distinctly different products that are on paper similar. If I don’t like the styling of the one brand perhaps I’ll prefer the styling of the other brand.

    This is what GM should have been doing when they were selling the same product under 5 different nameplates simultaneously.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Dare I say, but yet again another car from the Kia fold that actually looks good. And yet again, the grill and design features actually tie together the brand! Woo! Yet another nail in GM and Chryslers coffin.

  • avatar
    Accords

    BD:
    Upscale sporty? In case ya havent noticed.. Maxima is doing a shitty job.. cause its got Altima at its heels and its no longer the svelte tossable car..

    Now its an obese fat-ass that couldn’t take a good turn on a soaking wet road.

    I think..
    It might be affordable luxury.

    But that’s a REALM that EVERYONE is going to.. and its getting miserable.

    Once lux gets affordable, then its pointless.

    And you CANT tell me with a straight face, that the Genesis is “real” LUXURY.

    Only reason the company exists is to try and tell you stop paying so much for a car from BMW / MB / Audi. Then again… they dont want ya paying too much for a decent sedan from T or H.

    I think this.. CREDENZA HEHE is a decent look.. more cohesive than the shit they made 2yrs ago, but I dont see anything thats unique or interesting. They even pull the character line.. OUT OF THIN AIR.

    And for a SECOND I think the vehicle is attractive, with its simple lines.. clean front clip and Audi-esque lights.

    Then I smack myself on the head with a 20lb IRON SKILLET and remember that Id have to lose my mind and brain cells to buy from a company that prides themselves as the cheapest car ya can get, ntm is just starting their product renaissance.

    And while (its) design has its critiques.. its largely ignored while the price point is SHOUTED from the mountain tops.

    NTM..
    I agree with others..

    I’m seeing both companies going after the same customers (everybody else’s), with nothing that stands out, besides their b.s warranty and option packages that are the cheapest by far and made in KOREA assembly lines.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    @Accords
    “And you CANT tell me with a straight face, that the Genesis is “real” LUXURY.”

    —————–
    What is the real luxury or not?
    Genesis offers EVERYTHING OF LUXURY. Only without luxury badge.

    And this Kia Cadenza is a same grade with Nissan Maxima/Toyota Avalon/Ford Taurus/Pontiac G8/Any other upscale sedans.

    Even Lexus ES falling in this category.
    Seriously, Lexus ES is a just glorified FWD Camry sedan. ES is essentially same vehicle with Camry.
    Lexus ES was originally sold as “Camry Prominent” in Japan.

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