2011 Kia Cadenza
2011 Kia Cadenza. Click image to enlarge

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Kia Canada

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By Brian Early

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2011 Kia Cadenza

With Kia’s flagship Amanti sedan getting a little long in the tooth, and with several new or redesigned models presently in its line-up, it comes as no surprise that a replacement is waiting in the wings.

Based on the KND-5 concept car first shown at the Seoul Motor show this past April, the new top Kia will be called the Cadenza in all markets outside of Korea – Kia says that “Cadenza” is derived from an Italian musical term for “an elaborate, ornamental flourish for a concerto or aria.”

Set to slot in above the existing midsize Magentis (where it will compete with larger sedans, such as the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, and Toyota Avalon/Camry), the Cadenza will make its official debut at the Kuwait International Automobile Exhibition in early December.

The Cadenza’s exterior styling represents the latest evolution of Kia’s family design characteristics, and incorporates distinctive LED lighting elements within the headlamp units that highlight their shape. It is quite a contrast from the more staid, Mercedes-esque front-end fitted to the Amanti.

While no interior photos have been released at this time, Kia claims that among the Cadenza’s unique interior touches are a “floating” dashboard and a mood lighting strip that glows to welcome drivers into the car. Given the expressive interior design used in Kia’s much more entry-level Soul compact crossover, it should be attention-worthy.

Heated and cooled seats, power-extendable seat cushions, automatic windshield defrosting, and a heated steering wheel are said to be part of the Cadenza’s roster of available creature comforts.

Mechanical specifics have yet to be determined, however it is known that the Cadenza is based on a front-wheel drive platform, rather than a version of sister-company Hyundai’s similarly sized rear-drive Genesis architecture. Optional all-wheel drive is a possibility, as is a potential choice of four- or six-cylinder gasoline engines, likely variations of the 2.4-litre four and 3.3/3.8-litre V6 engine currently employed in many Hyundai/Kia vehicles.

It’s reasonable to expect that Kia may make a V6 the standard engine for Cadenzas sold in U.S. and Canadian markets so as to position it further above the smaller Magentis, which offers an optional V6.

At present, no on-sale date has been announced, but the Cadenza’s mid-December unveiling suggests that we should see it by the third quarter of 2010, likely as a 2011 model.

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