Kia Readies The Next Cadenza Sedan’s Korean Launch With These Teaser Sketches

The updated model may make its way over to the U.S. market in the coming months

Kia Cadenza
This is the new Kia Cadenza – at least in sketch form. [Image: Kia Motors]

‘Cadenza, you say?’

Kia took to social media to tease the imminent arrival of the next-generation Cadenza ahead of its official Korean launch. A series of sketches show off the new model, known as the K7 in South Korea.

You may not be too familiar with the Cadenza name, but Kia does sell this car in the U.S., and it slots in between the Optima and the K900 in their sedan lineup. This particular update sports a more aggressive concave grille design with sharp headlamps and daytime running likes that run down the bottom of the headlight assembly and, strangely, flow into the grille itself.

Kia Cadenza

Look around the back, and the Cadenza takes on a new taillight aesthetic as well. Instead of a chrome strip, a light bar connects the two rear light assemblies. Kia also moved the rear badge higher up on the trunk lid.

Changes inside and out

The new Cadenza’s interior is not too drastically different than the current generation. However, this design has a much larger infotainment screen, while everything else blends into the flowing surfaces. The gear lever, for instance, is a smaller unit that mirrors the Stinger. Kia updated the air vents and shuffled the center stack around a bit to put the center vents closer to the driver and passenger.

At the moment, Kia has been mum on powertrains for the updated Cadenza. The current generation uses the brand’s 3.3-liter, 290 horsepower V6, transversely mounted and connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is more of a mid-cycle refresh than an out-and-out redesign, since Kia last updated the model in 2016. Granted, we’re at the four-year point that would usually necessitate a major update, but the first-generation model was around for seven years prior to the current generation’s debut.

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Posted by KIA Motors Corp on Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Kia Cadenza is one of Kia’s slowest-selling models in the U.S., only ahead of the limousine-like K900. So far this year, Kia shifted just 633 units, as opposed to 39,379 Optimas. As it is by no means a popular model here, I wouldn’t expect Kia to radically update the powertrain, but they may go ahead and do it for the sake of the Korean market.

Whatever the changes, Kia will almost certainly bring a nearly identical version over to North America. The current model starts at $33,100 and comes in three trim levels. The Limited already tops out at around $45,000, so it’s likely Kia won’t make the car any more expensive with this updated version.

While we wait for the new one, check out how it looks compared to the current generation shown below: