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Detroit show: Luxury Kia Cadenza branches out

New look: The Kia Cadenza gets the company’s familiar ‘Tiger Nose’ grille as part of a facelift that will take it to a number of new global markets.

US market Cadenza large sedan premieres in Detroit, but Kia Australia rules it out


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16 Jan 2013

KIA will branch out into more markets with an upgraded Cadenza luxury sedan revealed at this week’s Detroit motor show, but Australian sales remain off the table.

At about the same size as a Holden Commodore, the upmarket Cadenza fits into the Kia global range between the Optima mid-sizer and flagship Quoris limousine.

While the previous model was limited to markets such as Korea – where it is called K7 – and the Middle East, the facelifted version will be introduced to a greater range of global markets, most importantly the US.

The move to branch out into more markets comes as a result of Kia seeking to move further into the premium car market as it matures as a brand.

Kia Motors America executive vice-president of marketing and communications Michael Sprague said the company had “seen an increasing number of customers in our outlets looking for a sedan with even more upscale amenities and technology”.

Revised styling brings the car closer into line with Kia’s new corporate identity, with the new model getting the familiar ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, a new bonnet and boot lid, and more angular headlights.

Reflecting its position as a premium model, the Cadenza comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen, 550-watt sound system, dual-zone climate control, ventilated rear seats and keyless start.

Higher-level versions offer features including a panoramic sunroof, adaptive headlights, Nappa leather trim, powered rear sunshade, 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning and lane-departure control.

US versions will use a 220kW 3.3-litre direct-injected V6 engine shared with parent company Hyundai, while international models will use an older 3.5-litre MPI V6 petrol engine.

Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Kia Australia national public relations manager Kevin Hepworth said that, like the Quoris, Cadenza was not a good fit for the local market, with the company preferring to focus on the Optima as its flagship passenger car.

“It may fit in some markets, but for here it’s simply too close to Optima ... it’s one that’s never been on the radar,” he said.

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