You don't need to have a prestige brand automobile to have a comfortable and spacious sedan with sharp styling, and top-notch amenities. And you especially don't need to spend a fortune to put a car on your driveway with all of these traits. For a small but stable number of buyers, large sedans like Kia Cadenza bring all the trappings of a Lexus or BMW without the hefty entrance fee.
For 2017, the Cadenza has been fully redesigned and sees the sedan migrate to the same platform that the latest Optima uses. This rigid new structure is made from more than 50% ultra high strength steel, but is also bigger than before, providing rear-seat riders with more legroom. Overall cabin volume is generous but trails big sedans like the Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala ever so slightly.
While the Cadenza shares its front-drive platform with the Optima, its styling and interior design draw heavily from the K900 flagship sedan. Leaner styling with sharp edges and elegant exterior designs are a big departure from the forgettable styling of the outgoing car. Kia's signature Tiger Grille has been traded for a new design dubbed Diamond Butterfly; it's narrower in height than before, but is wider, concave in shape, and finished in bold vertical strakes. Z-shaped LED accents for both the head- and taillights, and quad-beam LED foglamps, plus standard 18- or 19-inch wheels provide a sporty touch.
The Cadenza is offered exclusively with V6 power. The 3.3-litre mill, shared in common with the Sorento crossover, generates 290 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. While a strong motor, the 2017 car puts out slightly less power than the outgoing model, which generated 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. Nevertheless, the Cadenza continues to push forward in the powertrain department with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, which is two gears up over the old transmission.
Greater effort has been put into the Cadenza's cabin to create a more upscale ambiance. Quilted leather upholstery, additional ambient lighting, and stitched dashboard trim pair nicely with Kia's well-organized console, accented in metal-effect trim. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard, and features Android Auto (no CarPlay as of yet). The Cadenza is also one of the few vehicles in the segment to be available with wireless device charging, a nice high-tech feature.
The Cadenza boasts Kia's latest-generation active safety technology, bringing the brand one step closer to semi-autonomous functionality. Radar cruise control gains stop and go traffic assist, while the car's systems can keep the car within its own lane, in addition of warning for lane departure. Blind-spot monitoring and a 360-degree parking camera are also available.
Overall the redesigned Cadenza is positioned well to compete against the likes of the Toyota Avalon, Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Maxima, and even premium-brand models like Volvo's S90. While not an especially sporty vehicle, Kia claims ride and handling are improved with revised shock absorbers and a new 32-bit electric power steering processor. Buyers looking for hair-raising performance might wish to hold out for the upcoming 2018 Stinger performance GT fastback.
The base price of the 2017 Cadenza starts at $36,295.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed