This is a Kia?
That is the phrase that keeps running through my mind every time I drive the 2017 Kia Cadenza. It is definitely not the economy car that most people envision when they think of the manufacturer. Kia has worked very hard to give this vehicle a luxurious feel and presence while still providing good value. It has paid off.
The exterior styling of the Cadenza reminds me of a BMW 3 series. That’s not a bad thing. It has a lot of similarities without being a copycat which you might cause you to confuse the two vehicles in a crowded parking lot.
I honestly like the way that Kia’s signature “tiger-nose” grill fits with the unique z-shaped LED headlights. It looks nice and clean without being over-the-top aggressive.
The rear of the vehicle is clean and simple with the most dominant feature being the dual exhaust ports which go through the bumper. I like the look but found it to be perhaps a bit too simple as for the first few days I found it a bit challenging to find the hidden controls to open the trunk without using the key fob.
Speaking of the trunk, it is huge! Through much of the time driving the car, I had several car seats stored in it (6 kids with a 5 passenger car) and still had tons of room for groceries. I even fit a 6 foot section of PVC pipe. It is a great trunk!
When I first sat in the Cadenza, I was immediately impressed by the quilted leather seats. They are nice looking, supportive and comfortable. That opinion remained even over the 1000 plus miles I drove the vehicle.
My kids fell in love with the heating and cooling aspects of them (only heating in the back). I also found that the seats were also quite easy to mount car seats to as the seat cushions don’t curve too much and the LATCH points and tethering points are easily accessible. There is also a ton of room in the back seat to even mount rear facing car seats (something many cars have a challenge doing behind my 6’3″ frame).
The dash is nicely laid out with the buttons all being easily accessible and intuitive. The addition of Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto is a nice addition so you don’t have to re-input your navigation destination into the car. I can’t wait until more manufacturers make this work wirelessly. For now, you still have to connect your phone via a cable for CarPlay in the Cadenza. I was not able to test whether Android Auto has to be wired. There is a wireless charging pad in front of the gear shift.
I’m not quite sure the fascination with putting analog clocks in luxury vehicles. I’m as much of a fan of a nice Rolex as anyone, but that is because I view it as a nice piece of craftsmanship and jewelry. In a car, it just seems out-of-place next to the plethora of digital displays in today’s modern vehicles. It feels a bit like putting an analog face on my Apple Watch. Sure, it tells the time but it does not exhibit craftsmanship (like a mechanical watch) or do much to make me look better. In my opinion, it is unnecessary in the Cadenza as well.
The model I drove was the Limited which came fully loaded with every safety feature. This included blind-spot detection, Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), an and Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS). While I am glad I luckily did not need these systems to kick in to save me from an accident, I love that these types of features are becoming more commonplace and I am glad this car has them.
The Cadenza is a very smooth and quiet car. Kia used some extra thick glass on the vehicle which provides an exceptional amount of sound deadening material. I definitely noticed this when I drove it at freeways speeds with no kids but when kids were in the car, I found myself enjoying the Harman Kardon Quantum Logic audio system more (which indecently sounded better to me than the HK system in my BMW).
Kia has come a long way and the Cadenza is an excellent example of this. It is a good looking, luxury vehicle with lots of room, safety features, smooth and quiet ride.
With a price starting at $31,990, it is a good value for a nice luxurious vehicle.