DETROIT Aug 20 Kia Motors Corp's
Cadenza debuted on Tuesday in second place on Consumer Reports
magazine's list of top large sedans, edging out the former
standard-bearer in the segment, the gasoline-powered version of
Toyota Motor Corp's Avalon.
The gas-powered Avalon ranked third among 12 large sedans
rated by the influential publication, which has more than 8
million subscribers. At the top of the Consumer Reports list was
the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, made by General Motors Co.
Toyota's hybrid Avalon sedan did, however, tie for second
with the Cadenza.
"The Cadenza banishes any lingering thoughts that Kia is
just a manufacturer of cheap, unrefined cars," said Jake Fisher,
director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.
In 2007, the last time the magazine ranked large sedans, the
gas-powered Avalon topped the list. That the Avalon has been
supplanted by American and Korean models reflects the upheaval
in the global auto industry over the last six years.
Since its 2009 U.S.-funded bankruptcy restructuring, GM has
put a renewed focus on quality. Kia and its sister company,
Hyundai Motor Co, are moving into more premium
segments of the U.S. market with higher-quality models.
"Kia and Hyundai have really risen up in our testing," the
magazine's automotive editor, Rik Paul, said in an interview.
"Americans, too, are following suit. The Japanese are not nearly
as dominant as they once were."
The hybrid Avalon sedan tied for second place with the
Cadenza because fuel economy is given more weight in the
rankings, Paul said. Last month, the magazine said the Impala
was the best-rated sedan of any size.
The Cadenza, which went on sale earlier this year, is Kia's
first attempt to go upscale. Kia used the model to mark its
first appearance at the Concours d'Elegance classic car show