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by Jay Traugott
Kia continues its rapid growth by launching the all-new Cadenza, an upscale front-wheel-drive sedan that'll compete directly with the Toyota Avalon.
We've known for some time Kia had plans to sell a large sedan in the US market but all earlier signs pointed to the Quoris, a rear-wheel-drive model based on the same platform as the Hyundai Genesis. That car is still supposedly in the cards but for now Kia has unveiled the 2014 Cadenza at this year's Detroit Auto Show. The front-wheel-drive sedan is built on the same platform as the new Hyundai Azera, which is definitely a good thing considering that car's solid reception so far.
Power comes from a 3.3-liter direct-injection V6 producing 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque that's mated to a six-speed automatic. In order to give the Cadenza a driving feel that's not entirely boring, Kia equipped it with a sport-tuned suspension and a choice of either 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels. Stepping inside and you'll find leather, wood and chrome trim as well as a sporty dash design complete with eight-inch color touchscreen display. Buyers can also choose to add Nappa leather seats, a premium 550-watt 12-speaker audio system with rear surround sound, UVO infotainment system and a panoramic sunroof.
The exterior was penned by South Korean auto industry superstar Peter Schreyer's design team. Along with Kia's trademark "Tiger Nose" front fascia, the Cadenza has a contoured hood, large wheels and wide stance. Along with optional HID headlights, Kia has once again proven its gunning after new buyers who typically drive European premium brands.