We’re not sure you asked for it, but here it is regardless: the 2013 Kia Cadenza full-size sedan. Slotting above the Kia Optima, the Cadenza is the automaker’s first foray into the full-size sedan arena since the Kia Amanti left our shores in 2009. If you don’t remember what the Kia Amanti was, don’t fret; it wasn’t worth remembering.
The Cadenza might be a different story, though. It shares its architecture with the just-introduced 2012 Hyundai Azera, and looks sharper and far sleeker than the bulbous sedan it replaces. We’re expecting power to come by way of the same 293-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 used in the Azera when it makes its official introduction at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. That power should be routed to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Kia Cadenza has been sold in South Korea since 2009, making the 2013 version a mid-cycle refresh for the rest of the world. If it proves successful for Kia, don’t expect it to have an extended stay, as an all-new model will be just a few years down the road.
As we reported earlier this month, Kia is planning to bring five new vehicles—three production models and two concepts—to L.A. Since the top-range Kia Optima Limited comes in at more than $35,000, we expect the Cadenza to start around that price when it goes on sale. Not only will the stylish sedan serve as a flagship for what was once considered the official brand of “cheap and cheerful,” but it’ll foreshadow the future introduction of the Kia Quoris, a rear-wheel-drive luxury car likely to start above $50,000 that will compete at a cut price against the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS.
That is, it will if Kia finds the success it’s looking for with the 2013 Kia Cadenza in the U.S. and proves, like the Hyundai Genesis and Equus before it, that there’s a market for yet another zoot-suit Korean car.