2017 Kia Cadenza

>Susan Frissell

We had no official Monroney on the new 2017 Kia Cadenza. Our model, the Limited is purported to start at $45,290. We knew it had to be ‘up there,’ given its ‘rich’ feel. The color-Pluto Brown—was exceptional and a real looker. The styling, different for 2017, is better than the previous Cadenza iteration. However, we think it’s a tad stodgy. Hey, but nice car.

A full-size sedan, the Kia Cadenza fits, we’re not sure, in the lineup. With Optima, Azera (Hyundai), etc, it would almost seem superfluous. Quiet and almost Lexus-like, the 2017 Cadenza Limited is quiet, smooth and comfortable. Why, my passenger told me I looked very comfortable driving the Cadenza. Almost as if I wasn’t even driving! Easy.

No longer the go-to family car, the large sedans still can command a place in the market. Trust me, after you reach a certain age, two-door coupes no longer apply. Having a generous four-door sedan is Heaven.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza is second-generation-only! Seems as though it’s been around longer, doesn’t it? Driving the Cadenza feels so much more, well, sophisticated. Why, with both heated and ventilated seats, what more could you ask for? Kia has done a lot right in the new 2017 Cadenza; a market we even considered unneeded a few years back. So many choices? From one manufacturer.

Perhaps appealing to all ages, the Cadenza provides a lot of cars in one: Highway cruiser, around-town shopper, easy to park and maneuver. The lines are taut and conventional; hardly daring, but will wear well with time. The interior is upscale, with very attractive leather seating, generous space and the upscale technology.

Lots of competition exists in this large sedan category; namely, Toyota Avalon, Ford Taurus, and perhaps, the Dodge Charger. Or the Fiat Chrysler 300. Chevrolet Impala, all new and redesigned could also be considered, along with Hyundai’s Azera and Nissan Maxima. Rear-wheel-drive is attractive to many consumers-this writer included-so there is still a market. And, one can probably get a great deal now on ANY sedan; as long as it’s not a SUV.

Kia sold about 28,000 Cadenza’s in its first generation; apparently, enough to continue its existence. The second generation, though, is much more luxurious, and in our mind, desirable. It would really be hard to make a choice today.

Although the new Cadenza won’t ‘define’ any segment, it is a nice sedan. It represents the best of the family sedan; reasonable, but no cheap, by any means. It surely offers a lot of space, high-end features, smooth ride and quiet that would be hard to match. We are assuming dependability, also.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza is clearly a different vehicle; if only in looks alone. Complete with several eye-catching features such as multi-element headlights, a new concave grille with one of two inserts (depending on the model), Z-shaped LED lights and a totally different profile. It lies somewhere between the sporty Optima and the Kia 900.

The dash is two-layered with gauges and infotainment screen split. We kept hitting the radio buttons when we wanted the climate controls, and vica versa. Bummer. Otherwise, it’s fairly simple to master. The Cadenza is complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a great Harman/Kardon audio system that we made sure to have one each time we entered the vehicle. We often had the benefit of the brake assist warning; apparently getting too close to the car in front of us! The cruise control and blind spot warnings also let us know they were around. We’re getting accustomed to the flash in the side mirrors, letting us know a car is approaching.

Just taking a glimpse into the rear seat announces all the available room. Man, long-legged driers would be happy. There is ample headroom, legroom and because the floor is mostly flat-not much of a hump-the middle-seat passenger can relax in comfort.

Equipped with Kia’s 3.3-liter V6 engine, this four-door sedan has 290 horse with 253 lb. ft. of torque; plenty of get-up-and-go for the road. Kia matches this V6 with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, making its debut in the 2017 Cadenza. Kia’s new shock absorbers us what is known at Kia as Amplitude Selective Damping. Apparently, they adjust to different conditions. Combined with an internal Hydraulic Rebound stopper, the structure is stiffer so that the the ride is smoother over harsh surfaces. We found the Cadenza to be the ultimate daily driver, taking all roads effortlessly.

Kia doesn’t bill the Cadenza as a sport sedan, despite shift paddles on the steering wheel and selectable driving mode function that includes “Sport.” Drive it however you want, it’s a great sedan on the highway, or through town.

As with all new vehicles today, you can expect the highest in technology. The Technology model starts at $39,890, and the fully-loaded Cadenza (like our test vehicle) commands $45,290. Yikes. Apparently, this pricing is highly competitive. We’ll never see it, but it’s great to be able to spend a week in the new Cadenza and enjoy its capability.

We liked the 2017 Kia Cadenza, much more than expected. Probably out of our price range, though, it’s not a contender, but would certainly consider it.


MSRP: $45,290
Engine 3.3-liter, V6, 290 horse, 253 lb. ft. torque
Transmission: eight-speed shiftable automatic, FWD
Wheelbase: 112.4 in.
Length: 195.7 in.
Width: 73.6 in.
Height: 57.9 in.
Curb Weight: 3,770 lbs.
Fuel Tank capacity: 18.5 GAL.
EPA Fuel Economy: 20 /28 MPG.
Tires: P245/40R19
Wheels: 19-inch diameter
Warranty: 5 yr/60,00-miles basic, 5 yr./60,000-miles roadside assistance, 5 yrs/100,000-miles rust, 10 yr./100,000-miles powertrain, 10 yrs./100,000-miles drivetrain.

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