Representing the second-generation of the near-luxury nameplate, the latest version of the Kia Cadenza arrives with several key enhancements over its predecessor. Chief among those improvements is an all-new body with crisper lines and a more up-scale appearance. The new Cadenza wears the latest version of Kia's corporate "Tiger Nose" grille, with vertical slats adding a hint of Maserati into its design. Both head and taillights feature a new 'Z' motif; designers played up that new lighting element with a character line that runs the length of the Cadenza, connecting both sets of lenses. The rear of the Cadenza features a subtle ducktail spoiler, thinner LED taillights and dual exhaust outlets.
The interior of the Cadenza is a simple but elegant design. The dash features horizontal lines with wood and metal accents mixed in to keep things interesting. All Cadenza models ship standard with a dash-mounted touchscreen display to handle infotainment duties; a seven-inch screen is standard while an eight-inch unit is available. Cars with the seven-inch screen get UVO eServices with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity while Cadenzas outfitted with the up-rated eight-inch display also get embedded navigation.
The Cadenza's cabin is extremely roomy, particularly in the back seats. Front seat occupants get spoiled with standard power-adjustable thrones with heat while all passengers are treated to standard leather upholstery.
The latest Kia Cadenza uses a 3.3L naturally-aspirated V6 developing 290 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. All models in the range use an eight-speed automatic transmission developed in-house by Kia. The Kia Cadenza is rated at 20mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway, netting a combined average of 23mpg.
Trim Level Overview
The Kia Cadenza is offered in three trim levels — Premium, Technology and Limited.
Even in base Premium trim the Cadenza comes well equipped with standard equipment including 18-inch wheels, LED taillights, Bluetooth connectivity, leather seats, power-adjustable front seats with heat, smart key with pushbutton start and a rearview camera. Major options for the Cadenza Premium include a larger 8-inch touchscreen display, premium audio, blind spot detection system, rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist.
Stepping up to the Cadenza Technology nets a panoramic sunroof, power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights with high beam assist, 19-inch wheels, standard 8-inch touchscreen display with premium audio, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with heat, multi-way adjustable front seats with heat and ventilation, smart trunk release and a wireless smartphone charger. Additionally, the Cadenza Technology includes a wide-ranging safety and convenience suite with smart blind spot detection, rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, smart cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane change assist.
The top-spec Cadenza Limited gets dark satin 19-inch wheels, chrome mirror caps, smart power trunk, a surround view monitor, head-up display, power rear sunshade, rear door window shades, quilted Nappa leather, heated rear seats and unique floor and trunk mats.
No options are available on either the Cadenza Technology or Limited.
The Cadenza is fitted as standard with dual front, front side, rear side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag, traction and stability control systems and brake force assist with electronic brake force distribution.
The Kia Cadenza competes in the full-size near-luxury segment against vehicles like the Chevrolet Impala, Buick LaCrosse, Hyundai Azera and Nissan Maxima. Although rear-wheel drive, the Chrysler 300 fights for the same buying dollars as the Cadenza.