The oval headlights that characterize the current Amanti are gone, replaced by more modern-looking lamps that should work wonders for the car’s stodgy image. Add in a better suspension, more powerful engine and an upgraded interior, and the Amanti could be a formidable family sedan.
Spotted testing in Death Valley, the 2010 Kia Amanti has a far more conventional shape than its awkward predecessor. It looks more like a larger version of the Optima sedan instead of a Korean-market limousine. The sleeker shape may compromise interior space compared to the current Amanti, but all that extra room hasn’t done it any favors in the marketplace anyway. A set of horizontal LED taillights should help slim the rear end, too.
Based on the same front-wheel-drive platform that underpins the current Hyundai Azera, expect to see a similar engine and transmission setup. If anything, the Amanti will get a little extra horsepower out of its 3.8-liter V6 and maybe a six-speed automatic to help keep its fuel mileage reasonable. Handling should be much improved as well, because the Amanti has taken more than a few hits from critics for being too soft even for the U.S. market.
Expect to see official pictures of the 2010 Kia Amanti sometime next year, most likely with the Opirus nameplate, as that’s what this car is called in Korea. U.S. sales are expected to start either late next year or early in 2010.