2017 Kia Cadenza Test Drive

By Barbara & Bill Schaffer

Kia has run some very good television commercials portraying the high level of luxury, spaciousness, and elegance of the 2017 Cadenza. While we don’t always agree with the visions portrayed by some of the new vehicle advertising, we think those for the Kia Cadenza are right on target.

Kia debuted the full-size second generation Cadenza with the all-new 2017 model and critics and customers alike are starting to see that this is no ‘Kia come lately’, it’s the real thing, an elegant, luxurious sedan, just like the commercials say.

To put the Cadenza in prospective, it is about the same size, and has features like the other entry full-size luxury sedans including the Buick Lacrosse, Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, and Nissan Maxima. It’s a little better in some comparisons and maybe not quite in others, but overall, the Kia is a strong competitor, a very good value and an impressive car.

Over the years we’ve reviewed Kia models, there has been one constant – each year and each generation has been significantly better than the model it replaces. We’ve never seen the brand waver from that target; it’s just moved forward, and the Cadenza is a major leap forward in all respects.

To start with, the styling is great, we think it looks as good or better than all the competitors. The design comes from a team led by Kia Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, who was responsible in an earlier life for some of the most notable Audi and Volkswagen designs. His team has carved the Cadenza into a distinctive interpretation of the Kia brand luxury car.

The interior of our Cadenza Limited test car was elegant, with interesting diamond pleated seat bolsters and comfortable perforated leather cushions. The seats are available in four colors including a new brown leather which we especially liked. The stitched dash materials wrap around the front of the cockpit and flows into the door panels. Climate and infotainment controls are large, well-marked and have a quality feel. They are also well organized in horizontal groupings to provide easy access for both front seat passengers. We like the convenient storage spaces in the center console and available smart phone charge points.

As we would expect from any luxury car, the Cadenza has abundant convenience, driver assistance and safety features. We especially like the Kia navigation and infotainment systems for their user-friendly controls and quick response.

To enhance safety and stiffen the body structure, the Cadenza uses more than 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel. The highly rigid body structure combines with an advanced airbag system, and all the latest braking, stability, and accident prevention technologies. The Cadenza has earned the highest rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Technology features include Blind Spot Detection, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collison Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning along with several others.

Cadenza is available in three well-equipped trim levels: Premium, Technology and Limited. Each of the versions is equipped with the same naturally aspirated 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 engine linked to a Kia-designed eight-speed Sportmatic® automatic transmission. This is Kia’s first eight-speed transmission developed for a front wheel drive system.

The Cadenza accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds according to buff magazine test results, but that puts it toward the back of the pack of competitors. EPA fuel economy estimates list 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. We averaged 23.4 mpg during the week we drove the Cadenza. The Cadenza ride and handling leans more toward comfort and quiet rather than handling and performance. The Amplitude Selective Dampening shock absorbers help to maximize ride comfort and maintain stability.

The Premium, Technology and Limited trim levels have base prices of $32,890; $39,890; and $45,260 respectively. Our Limited test car had all the available features, with the only choices being colors and a few aftermarket accessories.

For someone shopping for a full-size car, or near luxury model, the 2017 Kia Cadenza is a “Must Drive’. This is a car that will surprise someone who has no experience with the Kia brand. It’s every bit as luxurious and comfortable as the competitors. Add the excellent 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the 5-year 60,000-mile Limited Basic Warranty and the 5-year, 60,000-mile Roadside Assistance program help it rank as one of the best values in this category.

To find out more about the 2017 Kia Cadenza go online to: http://www.kia.com/us/en/vehicle/cadenza/2017

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