The Kia Cadenza has always provided luxury appointments at a competitive price. Fully redesigned for 2017, the all-new Cadenza brings in a striking new design, user-friendly tech features and more interior space.
The 2017 Kia Cadenza is a full-size sedan with seating for five passengers. The front-wheel-drive Cadenza is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Buyers have the choice of three trim levels: Premium, Technology and Limited.
The redesigned Cadenza improves on the first generation’s interior comfort, driving dynamics and exterior design. A new eight-speed automatic transmission has replaced the outgoing six-speed automatic, and the engine has been revised to provide a slight boost in fuel efficiency.
Compared with the outgoing model, the all-new Cadenza offers a sportier and more athletic design. Kia’s oversized tiger-nose grille is flanked by attractive lighting that includes standard LED accent lights. With its sharp lines and sleek profile, the Cadenza’s exterior illustrates thoughtful design that is focused on the whole.
The base Cadenza Premium offers a high level of standard features, including projector-beam headlights, halogen fog lights and rear LED combination lights. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels, heated power mirrors with LED turn signal indicators and integrated dual exhaust with chrome surrounds provide the premium look and feel promised by the trim’s name.
Our top-trim Cadenza Limited features LED headlights and fog lights. Nineteen-inch wheels, power-folding side mirrors with chrome housings, a panoramic sunroof and a power trunk lid add to the luxurious nature of the sedan.
The Cadenza’s quiet and spacious cabin offers plenty of standard equipment. With dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and attractive woodgrain interior accents, the base Cadenza may provide all the luxury amenities many car owners are looking for. Finding a comfortable seating position using the standard tilt-and-telescoping steering column and 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat is simple. The standard eight-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat is an added bonus not found on many base-model vehicles in this segment. Both of the front seats are heated.
The rear seating area has grown relative to that of the outgoing model, and the 2017 Cadenza’s back seat provides plenty of headroom and legroom. Middle-seat passengers will appreciate the efforts Kia has made to keep the rear-seat floor as flat as possible.
Our nicely appointed Limited review vehicle included quilted Nappa leather seating, a 14-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat, heated and ventilated fronts seats and heated rear outboard seats. The Limited’s steering wheel is heated and features gear-shift paddles. Limited models also feature an electronic parking brake with auto-hold, a power-operated rear sunshade and side rear-window sunshades.
Most buyers will probably be happy with the size of the Cadenza’s trunk. At 16 cubic feet, the Cadenza’s cargo capacity bests that of rivals like the 2017 Nissan Maxima (14.3 cubic feet), but it falls far short of the capacity offered by the Chevrolet Impala (18.8 cubic feet).
The 2017 Cadenza is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. The front-wheel-drive sedan receives a new eight-speed automatic transmission with manual-shifting capabilities. The Cadenza is rated at 20/28 mpg city/highway, and these figures represent a small improvement over the 2016 model’s 19/28 mpg.
The Cadenza provides a premium driving experience, and the suspension is forgiving and comfortable. The steering is precise but numb, braking is adequate and the sedan handles well. While not a sports sedan, the Cadenza excels on the highway, where passing power is sufficient and long stretches unfold without fatigue. Though this isn’t its forte, the Cadenza does not back down from being pushed a little on a winding back road. Driving manners during city travel are also praiseworthy. The quiet cabin isolates passengers from outside noises while the suspension tames rough road surfaces.
The Cadenza Premium arrives with plenty of standard technology features. The base model includes Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch display, satellite radio, an MP3 player and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and dual USB ports are also included.
Our Limited test vehicle included a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon surround-sound audio system, and this stereo is standard on both the Technology and Premium trim levels. Both of these trims also come standard with a navigation system that features an 8-inch touch screen. A wireless smartphone charger sits in the front console tray. The surround-sound system delivers powerful ear-pleasing audio. Overall we found the Cadenza’s infotainment system easy to use.
Standard safety features include a rearview camera, while the base Cadenza can be optioned with features like blind-spot detection, a rear parking assist system, rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist.
Technology and Limited models come standard with the features listed above, as well as high-beam assist, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and a lane departure warning system. The top Limited trim also features a surround-view monitor that takes the guesswork out of parking the full-size sedan.
The base Cadenza Premium starts at $31,990, not including a $900 destination fee. The Technology model costs $38,990, and models like our top-trim Cadenza Limited start at $44,390.
Kia keeps pricing and option packages simple. Two option packages are available on the Premium model. The Luxury package ($3,000) includes the Harmon Kardon audio system, navigation and active safety features such as rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot detection. The Panoramic Sunroof package ($1,000) adds a panoramic sunroof and LED interior lighting, and it requires the purchase of the Luxury package.
The Technology trim includes the contents of the Luxury and Panoramic Sunroof packages and adds additional active safety features, ventilated front seats and LED headlights and fog lights.
Limited models come with Nappa leather seating surfaces, heated rear outboard seats and a power trunk. No additional packages are available for the Technology or Limited models.
The Cadenza offers excellent value in the segment, with a base price that undercuts both the Nissan Maxima ($33,475) and the Toyota Avalon ($34,185).
While full-size sedans may not be as successful sales-wise as they once were, they continue to offer excellent utility and performance for families and individuals who would rather drive a car than a crossover SUV. The 2017 Kia Cadenza combines contemporary styling, good driving dynamics and decent fuel efficiency with a nicely appointed cabin. It’s a strong contender in the segment, offering luxurious accommodations at a reasonable price point.