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First Drive: 2014 Kia Cadenza

The Korean maker targets the premium segment.

by on May.22, 2013

The 2014 Kia Cadenza.

Kia has grown quickly in recent years by offering consumers an array of interesting and well-designed vehicles that belie the brand’s original image as the maker of stripped-down econoboxes even while Kia maintains its focus on value.

The introduction this month of the Kia Cadenza is yet another big step in the evolution of the Korean brand, Kia taking its first step into $35,000-plus price range was once reserved for major luxury. Much like the Genesis offered by sibling Hyundai, the new Cadenza offers a level of refinement and features until now not associated with the Kia brand.

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Moreover, the Cadenza, like the Hyundai Genesis, is a very attractive vehicle. Its long, low silhouette endows the new Kia sedan with a long, elegant stance that conveys the sense this is a luxury vehicle. The front and rear fascias are very handsome with a nicely tailored appearance set off by the distinctive lamps at all four corners of the vehicle.


Kia Makes the Case for Cadenza

Korean maker aims for the premium sweet spot.

by on May.15, 2013

Kia hopes to fill the white space between mainstream and luxury with the new 2014 Cadenza.

As it rolls out the new Cadenza, Kia says it hopes to break into a new niche between the conventional mainstream and more luxurious segments.

The Kia Cadenza becomes the most expensive product the Korean maker has ever offered, with a well-equipped model pushing above the $40,000 mark. The launch echoes the strategy of Kia’s sibling brand, Hyundai, which has also expanded upwards from its traditional, econobox roots.

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During the launch of the new Cadenza, Michael Sprague, Kia’s vice president for marketing communications, said the habits of American car buyers are changing. Fewer motorists actually want to move up and own a luxury brand, only 8% today compared to 22% before the recession undermined consumer confidence. Instead car buyers are looking for a good value and they want luxury features and the latest technology in a less ostentatious package.


Kia Targeting Luxury Market

K9 could reach U.S. by 2017.

by on Jun.08, 2012

The Kia K9 is likely to reach U.S. shores by 2017.

Like its Korean sibling, Kia has been steadily moving up-market and plans to enter the luxury segment with two or more all-new models by 2017.

Among the models now under development are the K9 and K7 Cadenza, according to company sources and additional reports in the Korea Times.

Kia has traditionally focused on more down-market segments than Hyundai, the latter entering the mid-luxury segment in 2007 with the launch of the Genesis in 2007 – and followed up with the premium luxury Equus last year.

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But Kia has been signaling a desire to move up-market for some time.  It showed off the sporty GT concept last year and revealed sketches of an even more luxurious model, codenamed KH, last winter.

The decision surprises few considering the maker’s global styling chief, Peter Schreyer, is not only considered one of the world’s leading designers but previously held the top spot penning products for Audi.


First Look: Kia K9 Luxury Flagship

Is the maker barking up the right tree with its latest push up-market?

by on Feb.28, 2012

Kia will launch a new rear-drive flagship, the K9.

Kia has been doggedly moving up-market, in recent years, and with the launch of its new K9 luxury flagship it will mark a dramatic shift from the cheap-and-cheerful little econoboxes that used to define the Korean carmaker’s line-up.

The formal announcement of the rear-drive model echoes the strategy followed by sibling brand Hyundai, which scored big with the launch of the big Genesis sedan in 2007, and last year’s launch of the even larger and more upscale Equus.

While Kia isn’t releasing details on the K9, it’s believed to be sharing many of the same underpinnings – and powertrain options – of the rear-drive Hyundai line, such as the 5.0-liter direct-injection V-8 offered in both the Genesis and Equus.

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Though traditional Korea buyers might be surprised to see such a large and lavishly equipped offering at their local Kia showroom the new K9 won’t seem completely unfamiliar.  It features the brand’s stock pinched grille and fender vents.  But the overall design feel is more elegant if not exactly all-new.  There is at least one place where the maker nudges the cutting edge, opting for LED headlamps as well as taillights, technology the rest of the luxury market is just migrating to.