Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kia Cadenza

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited
  • ENGINE: 3.3-liter V6 
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with Sportmatic paddle shifters
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm/253 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 112.4 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 195.7 x 73.6 x 57.9 in. 
  • TIRES: P245/40R19 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 16.0 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway/25.5 mpg test
  • FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,765 lbs.
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Jaguar XJ, Cadillac XTS, Audi A8
  • STICKER: $45,290 (includes $900 delivery)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Kia Cadenza is a luxurious package with ride quality to match. It’s Kia’s best ever.

          Kia made its reputation by building small cars. It was the perfect companion to its sister brand, Hyundai.
          But now the Korean manufacturer is set to give Hyundai’s Genesis cars a run for their money with the redesigned Cadenza, which is a large car with all the comfort and luxury you would expect from any large luxury car manufacturer. Well, maybe not Rolls-Royce or Maybach, but you get the idea.
          Cadenza’s redesigned chassis and body do not appear to be built on the Genesis platform, as one might expect. The dimensions are all too different. Nevertheless, Cadenza offers outstanding front and rear legroom. The upholstery is cream-colored with diamond pleating and very good side support, both for the front and rear. Both front seats and the outside rear seats are heated, which was an asset since we drove the Cadenza in some bitter cold weather.
          Under the hood is a 3.3-liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower, driving the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Sportmatic paddle shifters are located behind the wheel, but the character of this car seems to preclude “manual” shifting, even if it is clutchless. Cadenza has four drive modes - Eco, Sport, Smart and Comfort. We drove in Eco all the time, and it is reflected in our 25.5 mpg overall.
          Between the front seats is a clamshell-covered console/arm rest. It is deep, with a 12-volt outlet inside. An additional 12-volt outlet is located in a cubby at the base of the center stack along with USB and AUX connections. 
          There is a nicely designed clean dash with all the controls within reach of the driver. Instrumentation consists of the standard tachometer and speedometer with an information panel between them. The white-on-black dials add a touch of luxury, rather than some exotically designed mishmash.
          My only complaint is that the HVAC controls are on the top and the nearly identical audio controls are lower down on the dash. This is sometimes confusing, but an owner could master it quickly.
          In the middle of the dash is a clear infotainment panel. At start-up, it shows a map on the left and audio on the right, but you can easily convert it to a full-screen map or audio. The navigation destination is easy to program once you get it in the right state. We were trying to find a location in New York state and the navigation system kept toggling back to Pennsylvania. 
          Shift into reverse and the show begins. First, the outside rear mirrors dip to give you an idea of the relationship between the tires and the curb. On the infotainment screen are two views. One is the “standard” rear view camera view. To its right is an “overhead” view that gives you the car’s position in relation to curbs, parking lot lines and any other obstacles. This was very convenient when we had to navigate large piles of snow. 
          Cadenza is equipped with all the necessary safety goodies, plus a full assortment of air bags. For example, the Cadenza has Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and a Smart Blind Spit Detection System. The latter seemed to be “touchy” at first when we noticed that it was detecting vehicles further to the rear than most BSMs do.
          Ride quality is excellent, thanks to significant improvements in NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) over the previous model. Sound absorbing insulation abounds, as does a full floor pan that reduces road noise. 
          Rear legroom is excellent. In addition, rear passengers have their own HVAC controls plus the outboard heated seats. There are also shades for the side and rear windows. With the shades down, there is excellent visibility for the rear passengers that includes a panoramic sunroof that extends to the rear seats. 
          Cargo is taken care of with a large lighted trunk (16.0 cubic feet). The rear seats apparently don’t fold to increase the trunk. The trunk lid is powered and can be opened remotely or (occasionally) using a switch on the dash.
          Clearly, Cadenza is a big step toward a possible future luxury brand coming under the Kia nameplate. Even if Kia chooses not to go that route, they have an excellent top-of-the-line model at a very good price point.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

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