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From its divisive baroque styling to its status as the court jester of the rental car circuit, the Kia Amanti has so far lived a less than charmed life. The Amanti's tough luck story could change in a big hurry, however, if a new story from Motor Trend is true. MT is reporting that the Amanti is will be going rear-wheel drive as soon as late 2011 on a smaller version of the Hyundai Genesis Sedan platform.

Since Kia is more value-oriented as a brand than Hyundai, most expect the new Amanti to be a few thousand dollars cheaper than the Genesis Sedan. The current Amanti has a lofty starting price of $26,045, but boatloads of incentives are needed to move them off dealer lots.

Motor Trend speculates that the 375-hp Tau V8 engine probably won't make its way under the hood of the next Amanti, with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the 3.8-liter V6 being the more likely powertrains. We're thinking that a range of four- and six-cylinder engines would be sufficient, especially when considering tough new fuel economy laws scheduled for 2011 and beyond.

We do have one question, however. With such a radical rethink apparently in store and not having a great deal of brand equity tied up in the Amanti brand, wouldn't Kia be better off finding a new name? They haven't seemed too reluctant to change model names in recent years when bringing out new models, so perhaps they'll consider a change in designations.

Either way, with its hip and stylish Soul, the surprisingly competent Optima, along with the pretty new Forte and Koup models, Kia's lineup has gotten a radical overhaul for the better. If the next-gen Amanti is anywhere near as good as Hyundai's Genesis Sedan, the competition should keep a very close eye on boys from South Korea.

[Source: Motor Trend]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Amanti styling is ugly and dated; I can't believe that car sells as well as it does.

      If they made it look like a bigger Forte with some luxury performance, they'd have a winner.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As ugly and derivative as the Amanti is, its funny that it almost looks like the Jaguar designers chanelled the Kia's taillights for the new XJ. I like the stylized versions on the Jag though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ahhh! You beat me to it!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm really beginning to think Hyundai doesn't know exactly what it wants to do with Kia. If they can re-style it and make it a shorter wheel base (3-series size); it could be interesting, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Amanti = Lovers in italian
      But this car is ugly
        • 5 Years Ago
        Interesting isn't it that when it was on sale in Italy, it was known by its international name of Opirus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man that car is sexy! Definitely would have relations if I was reincarnated as a male car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That Kia sure is ugly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Kia cop cars, here we come!
        • 5 Years Ago
        No kidding. I don't get the appeal of this vehicle, nor its reasons for existence.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Amanti isn't ugly from most angles, but the front end is a dealbreaker; looks like a MB E-class had a drunken interlude with a Jaguar S-Type.

      Moving to the Genesis platform is an interesting move, especially if they can give the body the crisp angles of the Forte. I have an '07 Sedona, and I'm a believer in Kia's stuff now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This may sound strange, but KDM Amanti was positioned more "upscale" than the car Genesis replaced, called Dynasty. It was a favorite Korean corporate executive sedan catering to high-end market as Equus was considered a ganster's car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe they should try to differentiate their cars more.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Amanti has always been kind of a joke, (at least to me).
      A small cheap car from Korea trying to look like a big expensive car from Europe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why not merge the Amanti and the Azera into one car for Kia in the next generation? Let Kia have the value-oriented Optima while Hyundai's next Sonata can be a bit more upmarket with more tech options and more powerful engine choices, much as it is today. Their top range would be the Genesis while those who want something more affordable and FWD could opt for the Amanti, which would compete with the new Taurus and upcoming Impala.

      That way the brands cover two bases. Otherwise I don't see room for both brands together in the North American marketplace.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That would be interesting. Then Kia would be more of a proper luxury car than Lincoln's Taurus rebadge.
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