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
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)