Just like telemarketing and those piles of flyers that show up in your mailbox once a week, full-size, near-luxury cars wouldn't exist if there were no market for them. That's where the Kia Cadenza competes as one of that Korean brand's poshest cars.
Slotting in between the Optima and K900, the Cadenza plays in a sandbox occupied by better-known cars like the Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon. It's a curious little segment of cars that offer lots of interior space and can be optioned with all kinds of luxury kit but wear the badges of mainstream brands that also produce true upscale cars: Ford has Lincoln, GM (Chevrolet) makes Cadillac and Toyota is the brains behind Lexus.
The Cadenza is unchanged for 2018 following a redesign last year, so it returns with a 3.3L V6 whose 290 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque puts it in the meat of the class performance-wise, while an eight-speed transmission offers a couple gears more than most of its competitors.
Trims include a base model, followed by Premium and Limited models. Kia has put a lot of effort into creating a true upscale car in the Limited, with cues like quilted leather upholstery, ambient lighting and a stitched dashboard. There's also wireless charging, head-up display, hands-free power trunk, 360-degree camera, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and radar cruise control.
Premium trim includes ventilated front seats and heated rears and a 12-way power driver's seat with lumbar and bottom cushion extension, rear side window shades and a power rear sunshade.
All trims are standard with a heated steering wheel, eight-way front passenger seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror and passive keyless entry.
Fuel consumption estimates are 11.5/8.5 L/100 km (city/highway). Only the Toyota Avalon is more efficient, while the Taurus can be optioned with AWD.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed