Kia Motors on Tuesday launched the all-new K7, the second generation of its best-selling large sedan.
Targeting sales of more than 75,000 units worldwide in its inaugural year, the carmaker is determined to attract 40-something motor enthusiasts, who prefer good performance and self-satisfaction to brand names.
“The new K7, presented seven years after the original model was launched in 2009, is on a whole new level. It maintains the traditional values of the K7 but features luxury beyond class,” said Kia vice chairman Lee Hyoung-keun at the launch event in Seoul.
Under the main theme of Soft Charisma, the New K7 (sold as Cadenza in North America) has been given a completely different look, but is more powerful and has elegant features.
The talk of the town has been the negative-type vertical grille, which is a huge move from the horizontal or honeycomb shapes of the first generation.
“While we have a strong signature tiger nose grille recognized by many people, we need to renew it as other competitors are repeating the design,” said Peter Schreyer, the company’s president and chief design officer, explaining the necessity of refreshing the traditional look.
Other features that he is “proud of” include the furbished yet masculine Z-shaped line linking the headlamps, the sideline stretching all the way to the tail lamp, as well as the interior with quilted leather seats in the front that represent Korean craftsmanship with precision using luxury materials, he said.
“With the European touch and finesse, I am confident that the car will be desirable in Korea and overseas,” he said.
The new K7 is also the first mass-produced car with an eight-speed automatic transmission for its 3.3-liter gasoline direct-injection models. The all-wheel high-performance transmission is known to enhance fuel efficiency and guarantee better drivability, the carmaker said.
About 51 percent of its body is comprised of advanced high strength steel ― about double the portion of its previous versions ― using the hot stamping method, which has increased its safety level, Kia said.
Cruise control, rear collision warning, navigation and other features have been added to the basic option package, but the price is similar to the older version, as prices start from 26.5 million won ($22,030).
Kia expects to sell 50,000 units in Korea this year, with an additional 25,000 units overseas once the company starts sales in the latter half of the year.
“We will have the first compact hybrid SUV Niro coming out in March, the all-new large SUV Mohave next month and the compact car Morning later than June. The sales of the K5, Sportage, Sorento and Carnival are doing very well. You can expect Kia to shine this year,” said Kim Chang-sik, executive vice president of domestic sales at the company.