2017 Kia Cadenza is Big on What Matters Most in a Sedan

After spending a week behind the wheel of the 2017 Kia Cadenza, I would swear the Korean automaker hired Buick engineers and designers to build this car. Traditional sedan buyers choose a brand or model because it fits their exact needs and the new Cadenza is the perfect sedan model.

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2017 Kia Cadenza/Images courtesy Kia

Cadenza is, by the numbers, a large sedan with front-wheel drive, comfortable seating for up to five adults, and loaded with all the creature comforts any driver and occupants would want. There is also a lengthy list of safety features and of course the latest technology for those so-minded folks. At the end of the day, it is a very comfortable, roomy, quiet, easy to drive sedan designed and built for the masses.

Buick upped its sedan game last year with an all-new LaCrosse in this segment and this Kia is going to give that car a real run for its money. In fact, this 2017 Cadenza reminded me so much of the bigger Buick in almost every sense with the GM product only nudging out the Kia on horsepower rated and realized.

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For the new 2017 model Cadenza, Kia developed a stronger yet lighter body structure while improving driving dynamics and efficiency and delivering more sophisticated styling and materials. Inside and out, the new Cadenza shows a positive direction for the Korean line and serves as a very worthy opponent to traditional domestic and even European competitors in this premium sedan segment.

Under the hood of the new Cadenza is a revised version of Kia’s 3.3-liter V-6 direct-injected engine rated for 290hp and 253 lb. ft. torque. It is mated to Kia’s first FWD-based eight-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic mode and steering wheel paddle shifters. Despite the extra two gears over the outgoing model this new transmission is actually lighter. Suspension technology is independent MacPherson strut design up front and multi-link type in the rear. Steering is effortless thanks to the rack and pinion design with electric motor driven power steering components.

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There are three trim levels offered for the 2017 Kia Cadenza: Premium, Technology, and Limited. Our tester arrived in the latter so we enjoyed every amenity Kia engineers could fit into the vehicle. Seating is ultra comfortable in Nappa leather trim with heated and ventilated front buckets that are nicely supportive and outboard rear seat occupants are treated to the heat option as well. The car features head up display, push button start, smart key technology, and smart power trunk operation. The Limited also featured 8-inch color touchscreen infotainment system with voice command, smartphone integration, Bluetooth technology, Satellite radio, and Harman/Kardon premium audio system with Clari-Fi technology.

Above and beyond the usual vehicle stability management technologies, this new Cadenza features forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, smart blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and rear parking assist with surround view monitor.

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Pricing for the 2017 Kia Cadenza begins at just $31,990 for the base Premium model – a price point actually lower than the starting price of the model it replaces. Our loaded Limited tester arrived with a final window sticker of $45,290. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. And Kia still offers its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza may be built in Korea but it is designed in California with the American consumer in mind. I have driven a lot of sedans over the years and I find this new Kia to be one of the best. It is no sport sedan to be certain but it is the epitome of the premium American large sedan – even if it is Korean.

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[Editor’s Note: Read Judie’s 2017 Kia Cadenza first drive post here]

About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.