Kia K7 Premier facelift is so extensive it almost feels like new generation
The second generation of Kia’s largest and most well-appointed FWD sedan/saloon, called the K7 in some markets and Cadenza in some others, has been around for three long years. Unsurprisingly, the company felt like bringing it up to date, but the result looks more like a new generation than a mid-generational refresh.
For starters, the 2019 update ships with the word ‘Premier’ added to the model name. First radical changes begin on the outside, where most of the body has been restyled from scratch. The doors and the roof are perhaps the only two elements that remain stylistically unchanged. As a result, the car now looks much sportier and more muscular than its predecessor. The Z-shaped patterns in the lighting throughout also appear to be new, and the taillights are now connected with a LED stripe.
The changes inside the car are by no means less far-reaching. The entire dashboard, the center tunnel, and the center console are new. The windows take advantage of thicker glass panes, and the noise proofing is said to be better overall. Perhaps most interestingly, the standard trim now ships with a plethora of features, including leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, nine airbags, a reverse cam, and a collision warning system. A 12.3-inch digital dash is available as a paid option and comes with a handy feature: whenever you indicate turning right or left, the instrument cluster gets temporarily replaced with video streams from side-mounted cameras.
Moving on to the engine options, a new 2.5-liter SmartStream GDI unit (specs undisclosed so far) comes as a replacement for the old naturally aspirated 2.4 GDI rated at 190 hp (142 kW). The rest of the palette remains unchanged. This includes the 3.0-liter gasoline V6 with 266 hp (198 kW), the 3.0-liter CNG unit churning out 235 hp (175 kW), the diesel one with 202 hp (150 kW), and the hybrid one composed of a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated V4 (159 hp / 119 kW) and an electric motor (52 hp / 39 kW). All five ship bundled with a brand-new eight-speed automatic transmission controllable with a same-position joystick shifter.
Pre-orders for the 2019 Kia K7 Premier are already open in South Korea, and the first shipments are expected in July. Prices start from the equivalent of U.S. $22,600. The United States will be the second market to get the update, the company says without providing any specific dates.
Reporter Sergei Musa