Kia Cadenza — A first-class redesign

By David Finkelstein

Does the all new Kia Cadenza sedan have what it takes to be a major contender in the import luxury car arena? I think it does! First unveiled at the New York International Auto Show earlier this year, the second generation 2017 Cadenza took center stage and captivated the audience.

The expressive looking and stunning model is designed to be stronger yet lighter than its predecessor. The increase in the cars body rigidly equates to a more enjoyable driving experience overall.

The cars looks are quite sophisticated, but its draw doesn't stop there. Its interior is beautifully crafted and well through out.

Designed at Kia’s Southern California design studio, Cadenza’s precision-machined extremities demonstrate a high level of confidence overall. It starts with the clean and expressive body lines. The sleek profile is further evident with the visually matching “Z-shaped” lighting signatures in the headlights and LED tail lights. This translates to a more distinctive road presence, regardless if its in daytime or nighttime.

Furthermore, you'll quickly notice a more allusive designed front fascia. As expected, the signature Kia “tiger nose” grille is still an unmistakable design trait but it's been totally reworked. More notable is the substantial change to the front end assembly with it's distinct concave design form. It tends to curve inwards (towards the engine bay), giving Cadenza a more chiseled front presence, but keep in mind that Cadenza is also available with two different styles of grilles.

Available in three trim offerings, the entry models are equipped with the “Diamond Butterfly” front design that showcases the same three-dimensional pattern as other vehicles within the Kia lineup. The higher trim models will come with an “Intaglio” grille, featuring vertically oriented, faceted blades.

Other thoughtful details include chrome garnish accent trim, found on select exterior body components. The 2017 version has the same overall length as the outgoing model, yet it’s slightly wider and lower in height. Increasing the wheelbase has allowed for added legroom for rear passengers.

Cadenza's interior was completely redesigned with quality materials that tend to exemplify craftsmanship throughout. The car's wraparound dashboard flows directly into the door panels and features genuine hand-worked stitching. The door panels themselves include high quality soft-touch materials. Premium Nappa leather is available with quilted seat bolsters accented by diamond shaped stitching.

For 2017, buyers have greater opportunity to customize their Cadenza — a dark brown interior color has been added — bringing the total number of color combinations to four.

Like the outgoing model, Kia offers a “White Package” option, but it has been upgraded with a new black wood-grain-style trim finished with a pearlescent sheen.

Improvements were made bumper-to-bumper to ensure a more pleasant driving experience overall. “The new Cadenza adds an extra dose of excitement to the large-car segment with its striking, aggressively handsome looks and premium refinements,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, Kia Motors America. “Everything you see and touch in the Cadenza’s cabin has been improved, but it’s underneath where the Cadenza truly shines with a stiffer and lighter chassis, eight-speed transmission and vastly improved driving dynamics.”

Loaded with technology, the cockpit is designed to provide a more harmonious human-machine interface with ergonomically intelligent design, intuitive controls, and a suite of enhanced convenience. These features make the driving experience enjoyable and effortless.

New to the 2017 Cadenza is the Head Up Display which shows key driver information such as speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions reflected on the windshield, directly in the driver’s line of sight. In addition, the Surround View Monitor has been updated with improved software and resolution that gives the driver a clearer birds-eye view of the area around the vehicle.

Other features new to the Cadenza include Smart Trunk, which conveniently opens the trunk lid if the sensor detects the key fob for more than three seconds. Also included is a wireless smartphone charger. The latest generation of Kia’s UVO operating system is featured with Android Auto and Apple CarPlayas standard, while a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon system featuring Clari-Fi music restoration technology is an option.

The 2017 Cadenza is built upon a strong foundation with a body structure composed of more than 50 percent advanced high strength steel, more than twice the amount used in the outgoing model.

The total number of airbags comes to nine. And the Cadenza offers cutting-edge driver assistance features such as Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning, seamless Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning.

Newly designed 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels or offered and the brakes have been beefed up helping to reduce stopping distance.

Powering this world-class automobile is a 3.3-liter V6 engine, rated at close to 300-horsepower. The engine was reworked for 2017 in order to improve fuel economy. The estimated EPA numbers are 20-mpg city/28-mpg highway.

The engine sends power to the front wheels via Kia’s first FWD-based eight-speed automatic transmission.

Base pricing starts in the low $30,000 range, however the top end SXL model will likely sticker out in the mid $40's. Destination charges are an additional $895.