2017 Kia Cadenza Limited

2017 Kia Cadenza Limited

Kia’s march towards excellence continues

Words by: Adam Allen


Cadenza, huh? Aren’t these sitting quietly in the dining rooms of grandmothers across the country?

You’re mistaken…the hopelessly dated (and usually weighing in at what seems like a thousand kilos) pieces of furniture gathering dust in the place of so many family meals and get-togethers is called a ‘Credenza’. In other words, they are nothing like the similarly named Kia Cadenza you see here, which does weigh over a thousand kilos yet boasts styling that is far from embarrassing; actually, it’s quite fetching. Peter Schreyer’s pen has never been employed to design furniture, but you can bet people would be much more likely to fight over his work if he had done so rather than some of the stodgy pieces you see with seriously marked down price tags at estate sales.

Roger that. Still, Cadenza isn’t ringing any bells of familiarity…

That’s because for some reason, only just over one hundred Canadians have embraced Cadenza ownership over the course of 2017. Sedans in general have suffered from lack of consumer interest lately, more so for some of the larger luxuriously oriented examples. The Cadenza is no exception. In fact, over the course of the week we had the Cadenza under our care, we were stopped on more than one occasion by passersby wanting to know what it was. The unanimous response? “THAT’S a Kia? Wow.” For a brand that takes great care of how they are perceived in the marketplace, that is high praise indeed. Actually, before we picked it up, we found it hard to recall seeing them in our day-to-day travels.

What’s not to like? Why the lack of interest?

Yeah, we don’t have an answer for that- it really is a headscratcher as to why more people don’t buy this car. In a class that consists of products like the Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon and Chevy Impala- all excellent, mind you- the Kia is as good or better than those and others competing in the segment but we cannot figure out why it is so overlooked. Our tester was furnished in Limited trim which brought a boatload of standard kit to the party, and combined with excellent road manners, a powerful naturally aspirated V6 and slick styling it should be chasing the sales chart leaders, at least in our opinion. To wit: if you were to option those other cars we mentioned, they would cost more than the Cadenza’s as-tested asking price of $47,655. And they would be hard pressed to match the Kia’s level of refinement and comfort.

So, it’s a smoothie to drive?

And how! We’ll scream ourselves hoarse with enthusiasm over the latest sports cars but there is always a part of us that breathes a little sigh of relief whenever we get the opportunity to pilot something as soothing and serene as the Cadenza. No matter the situation or road surface you find yourself traversing, the Cadenza seems to softly whisper “Enjoy the ride; I got this.” That’s a nice feeling to get from a car, to reassure you that everything is going to be OK. Perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but there aren’t many cars that coddle their occupants as well as the Cadenza does. Those who resolutely refuse to give up sporty driving dynamics may be a bit disappointed- the Cadenza’s pillowy suspension isn’t eager to be thrown into corners, even when you select Sport mode. The big Kia will never embarrass itself, but don’t think you’ll be keeping up with MX-5 on twisty two lanes. The engine and transmission play nice with each other and when you do put your foot down, the 3.3 litre V6 makes a pleasing noise and isn’t’ at all gritty at high revs. There is hardly anything to fault about the way the Cadenza drives.

Does the placid motif continue when you step inside?

We said the Kia is quiet and refined, didn’t we? Still, it’s our job to tell you about what the confines of the Cadenza are like, and in the case of our Limited tester we can safely say that the interior is a nice place to be, and it doesn’t matter if the trip is a long one or a short jaunt. The seats are upholstered in fragrant and buttery quilted Nappa leather and are vey supportive. They also feature smart seat heaters that will discreetly lower the temperature so you don’t cook your keister on cold mornings. All the switchgear and touch points are first rate, further underscoring the continued torrid pace of Kia’s continuous improvements to their products. The list of standard kit is lengthy enough to devote to an entire review, but here’s a few highlights: the infotainment system is a breeze to use and is astutely sharp both in its looks and response times, the LED lighting fore and aft make short work of gloomy afternoon winter sunsets and the Harman/Kardon stereo will belt out your favourite tunes in impressive clarity. Honorable mention goes to Kia’s slick Heads Up Display- it’s the only car in recent memory where we actually used it and didn’t try to immediately disable whenever we set off.

What might go wrong?

Kia is quite proud of its new 8-speed automatic for front-wheel drive cars, and it’s even lighter than the six cogger it replaces. For the most part, it shuffles ratios smoothly- only the occasional low speed flub shows that there are a few bugs to iron out in its programming. The only other complaint we have is that we lament the absence of all-wheel drive from the options sheet, although it should be noted that’s the case with many of its direct competitors as well.

Should I buy a Kia Cadenza?

With just 105 Cadenzas dispersed across driveways in Canada, think of the exclusivity you’ll have of you buy one! That’s but one reason for adding it to the family fleet, but we think the others we talked about above carry more weight- the compelling value, incredible refinement and comfort wrapped up in an handsomely styled package are better reasons for putting one in your garage.



2017 Kia Cadenza Limited — Specifications

  • Price as tested: $47,655
  • Body Type: 5-door, 5-passenger sedan
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/front-wheel drive
  • Engine:  3.3 litre V6, DOHC, 24 valves
  • Horsepower: 290 @ 6,400 rpm
  • Torque (lb-ft.): 253 @ 5,200 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Curb weight: 1,723 kg (3,799 lbs.)
  • Observed Fuel Economy: 12.2L/100km (19 mpg)