Kia has given us the privilege of testing out their all-new 2017 Cadenza and we are excited to see what it has to offer.
From the outside the Cadenza distinguishes itself as a complete separate entity from the Optima. With modern styling that resembles the contour of the Kia Niro from front to back, the Cadenza is sure to turn heads. Despite its attractive looks, it’s also pretty sturdy with an increase in dent resistance on the doors by 18% and a class leading 35% torsional rigidity.
The key highlights of the exterior are the “Z” style lights that align from the front to the rear lights. But for us the most impactful exterior feature is the new tiger nose grill that is so aggressive in style that it matches what’s under the hood.
The new Cadenza features the 3.3 V6 GDi engine with a respectable 290 hp and 253 ft-lbs of torque. It’s quite the upgrade from the usual 2.0 that we initially thought. Offering a good balance in power and economy, we can agree that it was appropriate choice for size and value.
The transmission features the all-new 8-speed transmission which according to Kia engineers and designers has been exclusively built in house by Kia as oppose to other competitors who purchase the transmission from other suppliers. Feeling the transmission through the shifts and managing both highway and street speeds, we are very impressed with how smooth the shifting is. Thanks to the additional gearing, a driver can be at the right gear almost every time to get the best power when passing other vehicles or going uphill.
If it’s one thing that Kia does masterfully, it’s their interior design. Sitting on the driver seat feels almost like jumping the latest technologically advance automobile. Fitted with dozens of features eloquently place so as to be noticed but not overbearing, and matched with the often timeless classic clock in the center console, Kia has presented quite the image of luxury and technology. Switching spots into the passenger front and rear seats, Kia has also taken the passenger into consideration by given them the experience of jumping into an executive class plane with an abundance of room, and comfort that is beyond what one would expect in this price range.
For instance, the most enjoyable spot in the Cadenza to take full advantage of the top moon roof was in the rear passenger leather seats. Furthermore, in comparison to the Optima, the interior has become far more detailed in terms of luxury with a different style of stitching, and molding on the door panels. One thing we were left wanting that would be nice in the future is the rear auxiliary ports like in the Optima, because in this day and age it seems everyone has a low battery and needs a recharge.
One of the things that Kia has increasingly worked on are their semi-autonomous and safety driving features. Year after year it seems that Kia is visibly getting closer to reaching a fully Autonomous vehicle. The features that were most profound during the drive was the color head-up display on the windshield notifying the driver of their speed, navigational directions, and posted speed limit to remind any heavy footed driver that you can’t test that V6 just yet.
One feature that we indecently had the opportunity to experience is an automatic braking application that corrects the vehicle to its intended course. It was interesting that the Cadenza could sense the proximity of other vehicles and intentionally brake only one side of the vehicle to increase the spacing between cars. Unless you were intentionally looking out for this feature, very few would notice the auto-correct.
After experiencing the Cadenza in traffic, street, and highway driving (we unfortunately were not near any racetracks for the more track driving review) we can say the Cadenza is great value for the money. It overall accommodates both driver and passenger in comfort, style, and amenities. Similar competitor cars that come to mind are the Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES and BMW 5-Series. However, here is where Kia outshines the competitors in terms of value, the estimated starting price for the Cadenza is $32,000 for the entry level and depending on the options will climb to $44,000. In assessing the type of person that would drive this form of car it’s hard to say.
It seems that the Optima is a great option for family members, and young professionals, while the Cadenza could be considered the next step in maturity. I could see an established individual going for a night on the town, or an upscale but income conscious family looking to enjoy the latest features in entertainment and safety. One could say the Cadenza is more of a tailored vehicle for those that seek value and luxury in their professional careers.