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2011 Kia Cadenza To Replace Amanti, Meanwhile Optima Is Top Model

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2011 Kia Cadenza

2011 Kia Cadenza

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2011 Kia Cadenza

2011 Kia Cadenza

Enlarge Photo

2011 Kia Cadenza

2011 Kia Cadenza

Enlarge Photo

Hyundai has risen from barely-noticed econo-car maker to winner of the North America Car of the Year with the Genesis Sedan, but what of little sister Kia? They've been hard at work improving their image, too, and one of their next steps will be the replacement of the Amanti sedan. The Kia Cadenza unveiled in South Korea today is pegged to get that job, though it won't be coming to the U.S. until mid-2010 or later.

Based on the same architecture that underpins the Hyundai Genesis Sedan, the new Kia Cadenza also wears a skin designed by Peter Schreyer, Audi's former chief designer.

Back in October we brought you an early look at the car, and in July we brought you news that the Amanti replacement would bear European styling courtesy of Schreyer and would likely get power from the six-cylinder engine that powers the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The larger Tau V-8 engine is expected to remain a Hyundai-only engine for the time being.

The new Cadenza gets a 3.5-liter V-6 engine for South Korea, however, so markets outside the U.S. may see other implementations than the 2.4-liter Theta II gasoline direct-injection four-cylinder and the 3.8-liter V-6 we're expected to get. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode will likely be standard across the range.

An official global debut is expected December 12th at the Riyadh Motor Show in Saudi Arabia before the car goes on sale in South Korea in late December. It won't make the trip to the U.S. until mid-2010 at the earliest, to be sold as a 2011 model.

With the phase-out of the Amanti already underway, once those stocks are depleted, the Optima will be Kia's largest sedan sold in the U.S. until the Cadenza turns up. Check out our overview of the Kia Optima, including the Bottom Line and Full Review, to see what that means for you.

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