The Kia Cadenza is one of the larger mid-size sedans—think Chevrolet Impala or Toyota Avalon. It was introduced for the 2014 model year and gets a makeover for 2017. The Cadenza offers attractive styling inside and out and a ton of features, giving luxury brands a run for the money. But like Hyundai, it’s been challenging for Kia to get customers to think about the brand as a luxury car maker.
The front-wheel-drive Cadenza is available in three trims: Premium, Technology and Limited. Starting prices range from $31,990 to $44,390. It seats five passengers.
One engine is available: a 3.3-liter direct-injection V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed Sportmatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The Cadenza is enjoyable to drive, especially as a highway cruiser. Acceleration is fine but a tad pokier than some rivals. The ride is smooth even on bumpy roads. Shifts are seamless and the transmission always seems to be in the correct gear. Choose Normal, Eco and Sport driving modes to customize your ride. Although the cabin is quiet most of the time, you will notice a bit of wind noise especially at higher speeds.
The Portland area was hit with a major snow storm during my time with the Cadenza. I chose not to drive it during the peak of the storm because it was not outfitted with winter tires and I didn’t have chains that fit. Once main roads were plowed, I did venture out and the Cadenza did pretty well negotiating short distances on neighborhood streets that still had a fair amount of snow and ice.
Fuel efficiency is about average for the class. EPA mileage estimates are 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with a combined rating of 23. I got 21 mpg during my week with more city than highway driving. It takes regular fuel.
My tester, the Limited, comes with a ton of standard features, so it had no options tacked on, and it was hard to think of anything else that could have been added. The attractive cabin looks modern and controls are well laid out.
The UVO infotainment system can be slow to respond to your inputs and it locks when the car is in motion. This means your passenger can’t interact with the system to perform tasks such as entering an address. The good news is there are plenty of buttons and knobs in addition to the touchscreen making it easy to perform all functions from adjusting climate control to changing the audio source. The center console also has a nifty e-cubbie that boasts a wireless charging pad as well as the USB and auxiliary inputs and a 12-volt plug.
There are numerous features including a panoramic sunroof, automatic windshield wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Kia’s UVO infotainment system, and many driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning system, smart blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert and autonomous emergency braking. The Cadenza also has a handy smart trunk that will automatically open when the key is near the back of the car for three seconds.
The Cadenza comes with Kia’s excellent warranty of five year/60,000 mile limited basic and 10 year/100,000 miles limited powertrain.
Lots of features for the money.
Attractive inside and out.
Plenty of legroom for passengers in both rows of seating.
Upscale interior with standard Nappa leather seating.
Lots of tech including a nifty wireless smart phone charger, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a head-up display.
Great sounding Harmon Kardon audio system.
Buttons and knobs make it easy to operate controls instead of being forced to use only a touchscreen.
The Not So Good:
Kia’s UVO Infotainment system can be slow to respond.
Sloping roof line limits headroom in the back seats.
Not many features in the rear seats (no folding seat backs and no USB inputs or charging ports).
Trunk space is a bit smaller than competitors at 16 cubic feet, and the small opening can make it challenging to load large items.
Like the Genesis G80 and G90, the Kia Cadenza will appeal to buyers who want a luxury sedan with a ton of features but don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars more to get a vehicle with a status badge.
My tester starts at $44,390. Delivery fee is $900 bringing the grand total to $45,290.