I have not tried any "low-end" Kenyan teas, and I've tried a lot more Assam than Kenyan teas, but I notice that every Assam I've tried has had more maltiness in the aroma. While Assams can be very smooth, I find that when they are not, they seem to have a really deep tannic edge: it doesn't hit you quite at the beginning but is very present in the aftertaste. The few Kenyan teas I've tried have never had anything like this same sort of edge, and what bitterness they had was more up front, right from the first sip.
Kenyan teas, I also found to have more in common in overall characteristics with Yunnan red or Dian Hong teas. I wouldn't think of Assam and Dian Hong as having as much in common.
Take everything I am saying with a grain of salt though; it could have just been the small sample of Kenyan teas I've tried, and I've only had one recently.