2017 Kia Cadenza Limited: Full Review!

This past years worth of automobile offerings have brought on some pretty intense competition, and Kia’s next iteration of the Cadenza is no exception!


Ascetically my first impressions were a bit mixed. I love the size and overall shape, but the snout initially had me a little conflicted. Over the coming weeks I had payed closer attention to model year ’17 Cadenza’s, and I will say, I pray none of you live in states that mandate front license plates. The design of the front end has become an absolute lust of mine, and a license plate bracket just thrusts a dagger into my heart (although its already cold) . My press car as shown is Platinum Graphite, over White Nappa Leather, a combination that is no longer shown as an available combination from kia.com, which is unfortunate.


Powered by a 3.3L direct injection V6 producing an eager 290hp and a sufficient 253lb ft of torque, and matched with an 8 Speed automatic transmission makes the most of the only engine offering. Fuel economy per the EPA is 20 city, 28 highway with a combined of 23; although over my week test I observed a pleasant 25.4 MPG combined . Although front wheel drive, a myriad of electronic nannies, and proper tires are sufficient for most in North America, I feel the added certainty of All Wheel Drive would have been a nice stand alone option, especially where I reside in the North East.

Safety and security items were absolutely not spared with the refresh of the Cadenza. LED headlamps, fog lamps, tail and brake lamps not only provide very distinct visibility for yourself and everyone around you. Despite the extensive use of light emitting diodes throughout both the interior and exterior of the car, I was a little disappointed to see the use of an incandescent bulb for the rear turn signals, while the front and mirror repeaters were LED.

During my week I really enjoyed, and fully exploited the Advanced Smart Cruise Control, including start-stop functionality. At this price point having an adaptive cruise control system capable of handling heavy Manhattan stop and go traffic. In the image shown above a solid panel in the center of the radiator grille houses some of the hardware for the Advanced Smart Cruise Control system, a full speed range adaptive cruise control system that is remarkably easy to utilize and is dialed in nicely, for freeway and urban city traffic. One of the nicer systems I’ve used this year, especially within its price point.


Dark Satin finished 19 inch wheels wrapped in 245/40 series tires included on the Cadenza are absolutely stunning, especially when rolling down the road, but to tend to collect brake dust quickly and automated car washes that apply tire shine tend to make a mess of them as the sidewall is minimal. Despite the low profile wheel and tire combination, over complex transitions and bumps in pavement I feel that the suspension could be a little tighter for my tastes, although the demographic for this car may never notice.


Interior accommodations are absolutely first rate. Limited trim as tested is adorned in supple nappa leather, which receives a quilted treatment on the bolsters of all four outboard seats, which is just enough to get the point across without being too busy for my taste. The faux wood trim in my test car paired well with the white leather, black upper dash, door panels and carpeting, along with an alcantera headliner. The panoramic sunroof provides a remarkably large opening for your vitamin D intake, without sacrificing much headroom for rear seat passengers. On the more scorching days, an opaque suede shade deploys from the rear of the headliner, paired with the dual zone climate and ventilated front seats makes it quite comfortable. A power rear window shade, which lowers automatically when reverse is selected, along with manual side shades are included. We do wish that a shade solution was included for the small window in the C-Pillar for a more cohesive appearance.  I would like to offer great thanks for retaining an analog clock, especially in this price point.


Kia’s use of Harmon Kardon was an absolute delight, 12 speakers and 630 watts paired with the UVO infotainment system and Apple CarPlay made for a really pleasant week. I would have liked to see more than one USB port, as only two 12v outlets are available, one of them being in the forward portion of the center stack, and one in the front arm rest (which was rendered inoperable in my particular test car). Wireless charging is included in the same front storage area, but alas my iPhone at the time of review was not capable.


Adam Saxe on Apple Music – iTunes

I spend a majority of my time living in upstate New York, and the week of this press loan I was hosting an event, road rally nonetheless.  This weekend trip spanned from the tiny village of Sharon Springs, ending in lower Manhattan at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. As a member of the Board of Directors for Hero Fund America, a non-profit that writes grant monies for training, education and life saving equipment for first respondents, hosting this event is no small feat. Despite nearly a year of planning for the inaugural Hero Fund America Rally for First Responders, a mind-boggling amount of last-minute to-do’s lead to a car full of people, Chrysanthemum’s and citronella torches.

Hero Fund America


Things We Loved:

  • Interior materials
  • Active safety tech
  • Space for four primary passengers
  • Cargo and storage

What we would change:

  • Amount of charging points
  • Addition of folding rear seats
  • Add all wheel drive option
  • Ultrasonic parking aid

Single handedly the most interesting thing I experienced was how many people were absolutely blown away by the fact that the Cadenza was produced by Kia. Hopefully long gone are they days where everyone expects automobiles with this nameplate to be disposable. This second generation Cadenza offers a big value without breaking the bank. Our test car comes in at right at $45,000 including destination.

This 2017 Kia Cadenza was provided by Kia Motors America and delivered by DriveShop.