For those interested in the function of a luxury sedan with the low-key practicality of a Kia, the Cadenza is a compelling option, details auto writer Greg Rubenstein

A New Cadenza

For those interested in the function of a luxury sedan with the low-key practicality of a Kia, the Cadenza is a compelling option, details auto writer Greg Rubenstein.

 

Just over three years ago, North Valley Magazine featured a review of Kia’s then all-new Cadenza flagship. For 2017, Kia has launched its second-generation Cadenza, demonstrating maturity of both the product and this South Korean manufacturer’s product line.

Built on an updated platform that is stronger, lighter, and more rigid than its predecessor, the Cadenza’s fresh body and recalibrated suspension now deliver superior manners, better noise isolation and significantly reduced vibration. Steering precision is also enhanced, providing improved road feel translating into more enjoyment behind the wheel and less driver fatigue.

Under the hood, the Cadenza retains its 290-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 engine, while the previous six-speed transmission has been upgraded to a multi-mode eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters mounted to a heated steering wheel. Tipping the scale at a relatively lightweight 3,799 pounds, this four-door, five-seat sedan is without high performance pretense, and superbly delivers as a comfortable commuter and long-haul people mover.

While the Cadenza’s role as Kia flagship has been usurped by the unfortunately-named K900, it nonetheless continues to make few compromises. At $45,290, this ride comes ready to play, with high-tech, luxury, and advanced safety features common to premium models costing tens of thousands more.

Heading up the equipment designed to keep driver and occupants safe are nine standard airbags, including driver’s knee, full-length side curtain and dual front and rear seat-mounted side air bags. The Cadenza also offers “intelligent” cruise control with automated distance-keeping and stop-and-go capability, front collision warning with active, autonomous braking, and lane departure warning with active blind spot sensing and intervention. This Kia won’t always drive itself, but it’s autonomous enough to make it nearly distracted driver-proof. Whether this evolutionary path is a good thing will have to be decided through car buyer choice, but few competitors at the price point have as much driver-independent functionality.

Kia claims to have purposely-developed the Cadenza to provide “harmonious human-machine interaction.” Such marketing-speak is typically hyperbole, but in this instance their suite of ergonomic, “intelligently-designed” controls must be experienced to appreciate the efficacy. Highlights exemplifying the capabilities include a multi-function, multi-color head’s up display providing speed, navigation, and local speed limit data, 360-degree multi-mode monitor for worry-free backing, an intelligent trunk that almost magically seems to know when you want it open––and does so automatically––along with a wireless mobile phone charger, automated rain-sensing wipers, and exceptionally-comfy Nappa quilted leather front seats, including 14-way power adjustment for the driver—with four-way lumbar adjustment and power seat extension—and eight-way power adjustment for the front passenger.

Although the Cadenza has much to offer by way of features and functions, where it shines brightest is in curb appeal. Its exterior lines penned at Kia’s California design studio––helping to explain the uniquely-American approach of big, bold, and chrome––the Cadenza is lovely, flowing, and simultaneously audacious. While overall length remains unaltered, the new version is wider, lower, and just a bit stretched between the wheels, providing increased legroom for rear occupants.

Its strikingly-designed LED headlights and taillights, and chiseled, vertical faceted-blade grille complete an upscale appearance, which could easily be mistaken as a high-end offering from any number of luxury marques. For those interested in the function of a luxury sedan with the low-key practicality of a Kia, the Cadenza is a compelling option.

 

STATS

Price (as tested): $45,290

Horsepower: 290-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 engine

Transmission: Multi-mode eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters mounted to a heated steering wheel.

Weight: 3,799 pounds

 

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