The Kia Cadenza is a full-size sedan positioned as an alternative to luxury offerings from Japan and Europe. It has a spacious interior and plush appointments with dynamic attributes calibrated for comfort. First introduced in the United States for 2013, the current second-generation Cadenza became available in 2017. Numerous updates for 2020 enhance its looks and luxurious capabilities.
Updates include revised exterior styling, notably the bolder front fascia with a larger grille, plus a modern rear end. The cabin has a restyled dashboard, which includes a larger infotainment touchscreen, plus technology to enhance connectivity. Chassis tweaks aim to make the Cadenza quieter and smoother.
The Cadenza receives numerous updates for 2020, including:
In subjective metrics like comfort and relaxation, the Kia Cadenza excels. But when testing equipment comes out, its performance figures trail competitors.
To an extent, the Cadenza's absence of sportiness is appealing. Comfort is its foremost focus; its spacious cabin isolates occupants from the outside world. The mechanical and interior updates applied for 2020 seem to enhance those abilities.
In those regards, Kia's large front-drive sedan presents an alternative to more expensive luxury cars, but it'll leave some drivers wanting more. Unimpressive acceleration and handling are accompanied by relaxed responses and considerable body roll. Fuel economy isn't great, either.
For drivers who seek outright smoothness from their vehicle, the Kia Cadenza is worth a look. Some might also appreciate the vehicle's relative rarity. Just be aware that it's a one-dimensional machine, offering little excitement as it wafts along.
The Kia Cadenza is powered by a 3.3-liter V-6 engine producing 290 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. That's joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. MotorTrend testing measured a 6.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration time. The EPA rates fuel economy at 20/28 mpg city/highway.
In IIHS crashworthiness testing, the Cadenza earns the highest possible rating on all six tests. The vehicle-to-vehicle system earned a top Superior score, the highest, as it avoided collisions in both 12 mph and 25-mph tests. The vehicle-to-pedestrian system got a middling Advanced score. In the 12-mph test, speed was reduced by an average of 11 mph for a crossing child, and by 12 mph for a crossing adult. In the 25-mph test, speed was reduced by an average of 15 mph for a crossing child, and by 19 mph for a crossing adult. In the parallel adult test, average speed reduction was 25 mph in the 25-mph test, and 34 mph in the 37-mph test, with a 1.3-second warning time.
For 2020, the Cadenza's standard driver-assist and active safety features are enhanced. It now includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with corrective steering, rear and side cross traffic alert, and automatic high beams.
The Cadenza's trunk has 16.0 cubic feet of capacity, with a rear-seat center pass through to allow long items to fit inside. In the Cadenza's front row, headroom measures 38.5 inches, compared to 37.4 inches in sunroof-equipped 2020 Toyota Avalon models. In the second row, the Cadenza has 37.6 inches of headroom, while the Avalon has 37.5. Front-row legroom is 45.5 inches in the Cadenza; 42.1 inches in the Avalon. The Cadenza's second-row legroom of 37.2 inches is less than the Avalon's 40.3.
For 2020, the Cadenza receives a larger infotainment touchscreen measuring 12.3 inches. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, and built-in navigation are included. There's also a 4.2-inch information display in the gauge cluster. Three additional USB ports are added for 2020; there are now two in each row. A wireless device charging pad is included. An eight-speaker audio system is standard, while a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium setup is fitted on the Limited trim. The Limited trim features Kia's Blind-Spot View Monitor, which displays a view of the vehicle's blind spots on the gauge cluster screen when either turn signal is activated.
Exterior: 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated power-folding side mirrors, chrome door handles and exhaust tips, panoramic sunroof, sound-insulating windshield and front door glass
Interior: Leather seating upholstery, 10-way driver's and eight-way front passenger's power adjustable seats, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, eight-speaker audio system
Convenience: Dual zone automatic climate control, four USB ports, keyless entry with remote and push-button start, proximity trunk opening, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, rear parking sensors
Exterior: 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome side mirror accents
Interior: Quilted leather seat upholstery, 14-way driver's and 10-way front passenger's seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable steering column, 12-speaker audio system
Convenience: Front and rear one-touch up/down side windows, driver's seat memory settings, windshield wiper de-icer, rear collision auto-braking, 360-degree view parking camera, blind-spot view monitor
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