We return to Kia’s midsize-or-larger sedan historical past in the present day within the latter portion of the 2000s. In our final entry, we discovered concerning the Optima, which arrived as Kia’s first midsize developed below Hyundai’s majority possession. Sensibly the Optima was a lightweight rework of Hyundai’s Sonata, and the 2 shared virtually all the things (together with very poor crash security scores).
On the extra govt full-size facet of the lineup, Kia’s Opirus was the primary massive automobile developed below Hyundai possession. It shared a platform with the Grandeur (XG350 to you). While the Opirus noticed okay gross sales in most markets, it failed in North America the place it was bought because the Amanti. Very few North Americans needed a $39,600 (adjusted) Kia, irrespective of what number of luxurious styling touches it borrowed from different manufacturers. And so the Amanti was canceled after 2009 domestically (2012 elsewhere). By that point its alternative was already on sale. Meet K7.
Kia’s new tackle the full-size sedan entered manufacturing in 2009 for the 2010 mannequin yr. Called K7 inside its dwelling market of South Korea, it was often known as the Cadenza in all different markets. Like its Opirus predecessor, it utilized the Hyundai Y platform, which was co-opted by Kia for its automobiles after the 2 corporations joined palms in 1998.
In this occasion, the Y platform transitioned to a brand new technology between the Opirus (Y5) and the K7 (Y6). Under Kia’s utilization, the platform was referred to as VG, whereas Hyundai referred to as it HG. Like the Opirus and Grandeur a decade prior, the brand new K7 preceded a brand new Grandeur in manufacturing. Kia’s providing prepared the ground by two full years as Hyundai continued its staggered product launch plan. It was most likely for one of the best the K7 was launched earlier than the brand new Grandeur, because it was a brand new and unfamiliar mannequin title that appeared nothing like its predecessor. The Grandeur mannequin dated again to the Eighties when Hyundai constructed its personal model of the previous Mitsubishi Debonair.
Underneath, the VG platform used a MacPherson entrance suspension and a multilink rear suspension, and the anticipated transverse engine front-drive format. Engines had been all of four- or six-cylinder persuasion and began on the small facet at 2.4 liters from the Theta II engine household. There was additionally a 2.7-liter V6 from Hyundai’s Mu line (in gasoline or LPG codecs), in addition to 3.0, 3.3, and three.5 variations of the Lambda V6. The 3.0 Lambda was additionally provided in LPG kind, as many taxis and industrial automobiles within the South Korean market use LPG. All K7s had been motivated by a six-speed automated transmission, whatever the market.
Aiming for a extra balanced look than its predecessor, the wheelbase elevated from 110.2 inches in Opirus to 112 inches on the K7. Showing how comparable the platforms had been, the width stayed precisely the identical at 72.8 inches. Overall size was truly a bit shorter on the K7, regardless that it appeared visually longer than the Opirus: 195.5 inches on the K7, 196.9 inches for the ultimate model of the Opirus. The K7 was far more environment friendly with its weight, as the highest weight of a completely geared up Opirus was a hefty 4,109 kilos, whereas the K7 was 3,726.
Given Kia’s expertise with the largely panned amalgam styling of the Opirus (and its different vehicles), the corporate determined to concentrate on a styling theme of its personal, specifically one that will enchantment to the European market. To that finish, Kia employed a well known devoted stylist in 2006: Peter Schreyer.
Schreyer got here to Kia instantly from Audi. A protracted-time worker of the Volkswagen group, he began at Audi in 1980. In 1991 his position was moved to Audi’s design workplace in California however returned to Germany the next yr. Immediately after that, he went to design issues for Volkswagen (just like the ’98 Golf). Simultaneously he labored at Audi and designed the unique A3, the 1997 A6, the A4 of 2000, and his best-known work: The TT.
Kia imported Schreyer to be its chief design officer, the place he undertook a whole do-over of Kia’s styling. At the time the K7 was developed, he was accountable for Kia design work in Korea, Germany, the U.S., and Japan. Early work resulted within the Kee idea, which was displayed in 2007 on the Frankfurt Motor Show. The idea was notably necessary because it debuted the brand new Tiger Nose grille.
The Tiger Nose was applied (albeit in a restrained method) on the K7 when it launched in 2010. Set right into a grille of skinny vertical vanes, the general look of the K7 was far more cohesive than the Opirus it changed. Large headlamps had sharp corners and didn’t look too astray from the just lately launched Buick Regal. But the entrance finish completed the “generally European” look Kia sought. The bumper blended into the fenders in a clean method, with some sculpting across the grille that swept downward to massive fog lamps. The nook of the headlamp fashioned the beginning of a personality line that traveled the total size of the K7.
The higher character line was supported by a secondary one which began within the entrance door and continued by each door handles and to the rear. Smooth surfaces abounded beneath the door handles which had been seize fashion and chromed with a body-colored insert. The greenhouse was of a median kind, with a type of tackle the previous Hoffmeister kink on the rear door. On the decrease portion of each doorways, a continuous chrome spear added a little bit of visible curiosity.
The K7’s rear was sculpted equally to the entrance, with numerous clean edges and never numerous element. The character line pale right into a crease on the rearmost level of the fender and blended into massive brake lamps that had been Jetta-like. A clean trunk lid wore a big Kia brand that appeared pressed into the steel. Behind the rear tire, the chrome spear that ended on the rear door resumed its course and wrapped across the bumper. Large trapezoidal chrome exhaust retailers completed the look of the rear finish.
The K7’s inside charted a brand new course in comparison with the Opirus, too. Unlike its predecessor which gathered Lexus, Jaguar, and Lincoln cues, the K7 went its personal path for many of its cabin. Dominating the view of the sprint was an aggressive character line that lower in from the A-pillar from each side, and fashioned a type of protect form within the middle stack. Lines lower inward, outward, after which inward once more earlier than they resumed a straight line down the middle console.
Similar trim styling was used on the doorways, which appeared as if they’d separate inserts for the higher door panel that contained the door deal with. Materials had been largely shiny gray and black plastic when the K7 debuted, although there was a lot revision because the mannequin continued its life. One of the primary issues to go was the loopy form utilized to the outside of the middle stack.
Gauges not mimicked Cadillac and its STS however as a substitute mimicked the easy look of the VW-Audi group vehicles. Red needles stood out on white backlit gauges with a black background. Almost a duplicate and paste of an Audi of the time. Another copy-paste occurred within the K7’s key, which was a switchblade fashion very acquainted to any VW or Audi proprietor.
It took Kia a while to collect itself and edit the K7 right into a Cadenza for the North American market. However, throughout these few years, it had a good bigger full-size automobile already in growth, which landed in North America previous to the Cadenza. We’ll choose up with Cadenza’s North American launch subsequent time and canopy its larger brother, the biggest Kia sedan ever made.
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