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The Kia Cadenza is a full-size sedan with front-wheel drive introduced for 2014 that shares the Kia showroom with the full-size Kia K900 with rear-wheel drive.
Nicely styled and appropriately packaged, the Cadenza is a serious contender in its class, compelling for its combination of comfort, premium features and value.
For 2016, Cadenza is available in a less-expensive base model that retails for $32,990. Otherwise, there are no major changes for 2016.
Though closely related to the Hyundai Azera, the two differ significantly. Azera’s flowing design, with sculpted sheetmetal, stands apart from the Kia Cadenza’s tauter, athletic appearance.
With its 293-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 developing 255 pound-feet of torque, mating with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Cadenza feels at least as responsive as other big front-drive premium sedans. Its light steering and lack of road feel preclude the Cadenza from being called sporty. Instead, it’s an impressively pleasant and quiet-riding large sedan, suffering nearly no wind or road noise. Add impressive interior materials, including the leather upholstery that comes standard, and the Cadenza becomes worthy of notice.
Well-equipped even in base trim, the Cadenza can easily move up the luxury scale. Active-safety features are affordable, though not standard. Choosing the Cadenza SX Limited edition or adding a Luxury Plus Package and a Technology Package to the Premium model brings a panoramic sunroof, power retractable sunshade, Nappa leather ventilated seats, smart cruise control, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning, all without passing the $45,000 mark.
Mating with a paired smartphone, Kia’s UVO eServices suite includes roadside assistance, a diagnostics assistant, and a parking minder. The touchscreen system responds adeptly to voice commands. Plenty of traditional buttons are included, too.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash-tested the Cadenza, but it earned top Good scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It’s not yet been subjected to the newer small-overlap test.