It’s no secret that Kia will be replacing the unloved (and long-gone) Amanti sedan that once served as the company’s flagship here in the U.S. The replacement will be called the Cadenza, and we now have spy photos of the nearly finished vehicle undergoing hot weather testing in the desert.
The Cadenza will be based on the same mechanical underpinnings as the Hyundai Azera, so it’s a safe bet it will boast the same 3.3-liter, 293-horsepower V-6 engine under the hood, and will route that power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Similar to how the Hyundai Azera is larger than the Sonata, the Cadenza will be larger than the Optima, and more premium; don’t be surprised if the price creeps close to the $40,000 mark.
The exterior is mostly obscured by lumpy, baggy camouflage, but we can still make out some details. Not surprisingly, the Cadenza looks a lot like a slightly larger Optima sedan, with a similar shape to the windows, profile, and nose. However, there’s more chrome around the windows, the taillights are obviously a different shape, and there are other details that will help the Cadenza stand out from the crowd.
But beyond the exterior styling, this is the first time we’re getting a good look at what the Cadenza’s interior. Honestly, it’s maybe a little too familiar. While we can certainly understand Kia’s decision to go with an interior that’s going to be similar to the Optima, we were hoping it would be a little more premium looking. On the other hand, the stitched dash cover, central clock, and chrome accents are understated and tasteful, as is the T-handle shifter. We’re expecting the flat gray plastic trim on the passenger side dash to be replaced with the usual faux wood, carbon fiber, or metallic pieces when the Cadenza hits the streets sometime next summer as a 2014 model.
Source: KGP Photography