Kia continues to assert the meaning of “magnificence,” and the Cadenza is typical example. The large interior is well equipped with high quality materials; nappa leather as well as heated rear outboard seats are available. A 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive is the best engine choice. Available safety tech includes blind-spot and forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear-park assist and automated emergency braking.
For 2017, the second-generation Cadenza arrives, and it gracefully moves farther up in execution, carving out a niche among full-size near-luxury sedans. When we say the term “luxury car”, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, and Lexus are certain brands usually come to mind first, rarely Kia. However the Kia Cadenza first appeared on the scene in the U.S. as a 2014 model, start to perform its way into the mainstream large-sedan segment dominated by the Toyota Avalon and the Chevrolet Impala.
Compared with the previous Cadenza, rear-seat riders gain half an inch of legroom, and rear-seat passenger volume grows from 45 to 46 cubic feet. Although rear-space hairsplitting will tell you that falls short of the 49 cubic feet provided by the Toyota Avalon and the Buick LaCrosse, the Cadenza’s back seat comfortably accommodates occupants well over six feet tall. The Kia also has excellent front-seat roominess and total passenger volume of 105 cubic feet, an increase of two from before. The Cadenza’s brake feel is vastly improved, and it’s easy to modulate stopping force. The brake rotors have grown one inch in diameter in the front, to 12 inches, and by 0.1 inch at the rear, to 11.1 inches. The larger rotors delivered shorter stops, although braking performance is no better than mediocre. The Cadenza required 180 feet to come to a halt from 70 mph—six feet shorter than in our last test but longer than the results posted by the LaCrosse, the Maxima, and the Avalon.
With its redesign, the 2017 Kia Cadenza solidifies its place at the table. The former Cadenza was a fifth-place finisher in a comparison of six entry-level luxury sedans, but Kia has polished and refined the new one to the point that it’s a credible competitor. While the Cadenza may not win any drag races, it’s among the best-looking of its peers and boasts the segment’s most artistic interior—particularly in white under the lights.