Review and Test Drive: 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited

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Don’t get me wrong, Kia still has some work to do but let’s focus on the car’s strong points. The double-pane acoustic windshield keeps the cabin library quiet, the ride is library soft (if there were such a thing), the materials are of excellent quality, and it’s a wonderful boulevard cruiser or executive sedan.

That last point, however, may be a double-edged sword.

The Cadenza felt somewhat underpowered and the squirrels under the hood had to work pretty darn hard in passing mode. Steering was responsive but there was almost no feedback.

Cornering? The Cadenza begs to be gently directed to a corner, not pushed, and is happiest in a gentle curve. Such is its purpose in life and that may be fine for many drivers.

On to the driver-assistance technology: radar cruise with stop-and-go is becoming rather commonplace but the Kia’s was one of the better examples we’ve seen. The blind-spot warning worked well, informing the driver not too early, not too late.

Controls, switches, dials, and buttons are well laid out and easy to figure out and the Apple CarPlay worked splendidly.


There’s no question that the 2017 Kia Cadenza is quite competitive in its segment. More importantly, unlike what we’ve seen in the past, it’s very well put together and very well thought out, from clear switches and dials to excellent driver-assistance implementation.

The luxurious ride and hushed interior make a compelling argument to call the Cadenza a near luxury sedan and some might even leave out the “near.” How the market reacts is yet to be seen but buyers considering competitive offerings should unquestionably make an appointment to test drive one.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this review.

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