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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited

      Take Three for Kia's Big Sedan

    Kia’s second attempt at a full-size sedan, the Cadenza wasn’t a big success for the company. Over the course of four years, less than 30,000 Cadenzas were sold. This might make you think Kia would get out of this segment. Not so. Last year, Kia introduced an all-new Cadenza with various improvements to try and improve the fortunes of it. Let us see if they make a difference.

    • The previous-generation Cadenza didn’t really stand out in terms of design. The only distinctive item you could point out was the tiger nose grille. Otherwise, it was 195.7-inches of car. This has been addressed with the redesign of the Cadenza and it looks quite sharp. Up front, Kia has widened and added a concave shape to the tiger nose grille The front LED headlights feature a unique Z-strand to provide some eye candy. Move towards the side and it looks like an Audi A7 in profile with the hatchback-esq sloping roofline.
    • Kia has made some noticeable improvements to the Cadenza to look and feel more premium. There is abundance of soft-touch materials used on the dashboard and door panels, along with surprising touches such as the dark wood trim and quilted leather on the seat bolsters. The center stack has been slightly tweaked with a revised layout that makes it easier to find the various functions.
    • In terms of tech, the Cadenza Limited features an 8-inch touchscreen with Kia’s UVO infotainment system. We like UVO as its interface is simple to understand and is quite fast in terms of performance. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto add another plus point for this system. The Limited also comes with a heads-up display which can display speed, navigation, and other details. In our test car, the display was quite blurry and you had to really focus on it to make out what it was showing. Hopefully, this issue was only limited to this particular vehicle.
    • Those sitting the back will appreciate the large amount of legroom available. Headroom is quite tight for taller passengers due to the roofline and optional panoramic sunroof. 
    • Power comes from a 3.3L V6 offering up 290 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. This is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic. Compared to the last Cadenza we drove back in 2013, the new model feels slightly quicker. Part of that can be attributed to the new automatic that helps keep the engine in the sweet spot of power. However, the Cadenza does lose out to competitors in terms of acceleration. Those who timed the Cadenza to 60 mph said it takes between 6.5 to 6.8 seconds, which puts it on the slow end of the full-size sedan class.
    • Fuel economy also falls behind competitors with EPA figures of 20 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. I saw an average of 22.1 mpg for the week with mostly city driving.
    • Kia has done a great job of giving the Cadenza one of the smoothest rides in the class. Even roads ladened with potholes are mostly ironed out. Road and wind noises are kept to very acceptable levels.
    • This does mean the Cadenza shows a fair amount of body roll when cornering. Passengers will be bracing themselves if you decide to take a corner a bit too fast. For most buyers, this isn’t a huge deal.
    • Our test Cadenza Limited rung in at $45,290 with destination, which is a lot of cash to drop on a big sedan. It is a nice sedan and can justify the large price tag, but will people be willing to spend that much for a Kia? Personally, I would get the Technology as that gets you everything you need and comes in under $39,000.
    • It seems odd that Kia is competing in a class where their previous attempts didn’t really make a dent. But the second-generation Cadenza shows Kia isn’t willing to give up in a certain class. While the full-size sedan class is venturing into the sunset, it is nice to see automakers give it their all to produce models that stand out. The Cadenza is a prime example of this.

    Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Cadenza, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Kia
    Model: Cadenza
    Trim: Limited
    Engine: 3.3L DOHC 24-Valve GDI V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,400 
    Torque @ RPM: 253 @ 5,200 
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/28/23
    Curb Weight: 3,770 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Hwaseong, South Korea
    Base Price: $44,390.00
    As Tested Price: $45,290.00 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)

    Options: N/A


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    Why would ANYONE buy a KIA Cadenza over a Chevy Impala or a Buick LaCrosse?  Anyone?  Bueller?  I see no USP that distinguishes the Cadenza from any competitors.

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    It's an OK car in a dying segment competing with great cars (Impala, Avalon, Lacrosse). At $45k, you can get a loaded Lacrosse that will dust this thing in acceleration, luxury, and fuel economy, not to mention available torque vectoring AWD. At $35-40k, you're squarely against the Impala and Avalon with better V6s and great road manners.

    I see the Cadenza as the car getting passed over for Kia Optima Limited models (which I see regularly) on their own lot, which is unfortunate because it's better than the Optima. It's not the segment buster it has to be to succeed.

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    The problem with all these full size sedans, is what does a Cadenza do that an Optima Limited doesn't?  The Optima with a turbo is probably quicker and rides/handles similar.  The Optima seats 5, probably has most of the same features, same infotainment, and the Optima is about 4 inches shorter, so it isn't like you give up loads of interior room.   It is just a tough segment for any automaker as most people don't want a large sedan, and even if they do, they probably don't see it worth paying $10k extra to get an Avalon or Cadenza over a Camry or Optima.

    I always thought the Cadenza had a nice interior.  But I wouldn't spend $45k on a Kia sedan, it isn't that nice.

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    On 5/31/2017 at 10:15 PM, smk4565 said:

    The problem with all these full size sedans, is what does a Cadenza do that an Optima Limited doesn't?  The Optima with a turbo is probably quicker and rides/handles similar.  The Optima seats 5, probably has most of the same features, same infotainment, and the Optima is about 4 inches shorter, so it isn't like you give up loads of interior room.   It is just a tough segment for any automaker as most people don't want a large sedan, and even if they do, they probably don't see it worth paying $10k extra to get an Avalon or Cadenza over a Camry or Optima.

    I always thought the Cadenza had a nice interior.  But I wouldn't spend $45k on a Kia sedan, it isn't that nice.

    Optima turbos are slow. Like 7+ seconds to 60 and a mid-15 1/4 mile while sounding like a blender. I'd definitely take a Cadenza over the Optima Limited.

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    On 5/31/2017 at 0:20 PM, Frisky Dingo said:

    45K for a KIA......let that sink in for a moment.

    I'd spend a few grand more and get an A4 Prestige, lol. Or anything else, really.

    Or a life time supply of bus passes, actually...or a Cannondale and $43,500 in the bank.....

    On 6/1/2017 at 11:39 PM, cp-the-nerd said:

    Optima turbos are slow. Like 7+ seconds to 60 and a mid-15 1/4 mile while sounding like a blender. I'd definitely take a Cadenza over the Optima Limited.

    I have a kitchen appliance that would like a written apology from you for defamation of character.

    On 5/31/2017 at 10:15 PM, smk4565 said:

    The problem with all these full size sedans, is what does a Cadenza do that an Optima Limited doesn't?  The Optima with a turbo is probably quicker and rides/handles similar.  The Optima seats 5, probably has most of the same features, same infotainment, and the Optima is about 4 inches shorter, so it isn't like you give up loads of interior room.   It is just a tough segment for any automaker as most people don't want a large sedan, and even if they do, they probably don't see it worth paying $10k extra to get an Avalon or Cadenza over a Camry or Optima.

    I always thought the Cadenza had a nice interior.  But I wouldn't spend $45k on a Kia sedan, it isn't that nice.

    Actually the Avalon is a pretty decent product and everyone I know with them is very happy with them. Better yet, they don't go around comparing them to every other car on the planet on automotive forums.  C and G is the only place where we can go from talking about a 65 VW Bus and van life to an S class Mercedes and its role as the number one selling luxury car in less than ten posts.

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