2017 Kia Cadenza

Whenever the term “luxury car” gets bandied about, certain brands come to mind first—Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Lexus among them. Not so much Kia. But the Kia Cadenza first appeared on the scene in the U.S. as a 2014 model, nosing its way into the mainstream large-sedan segment dominated by the Toyota Avalon and the Chevrolet Impala. For 2017, the second-generation Cadenza arrives, and it gracefully moves farther up in execution, carving out a niche among full-size near-luxury sedans.

White, Light

Our test example was dressed in SXL trim (which stands for SX Limited) and equipped with the White package, which brought seats wrapped in ivory-colored nappa leather with quilted, diamond-stitched bolsters. A matching microsuede headliner; leather-trimmed dash and door panels; and piano black, faux wood, and metallic silver accents all could be materials pilfered from a Mercedes-Benz. Approach the Cadenza during the evening hours, and the LED interior lighting illuminating our car’s bright-white cabin brought to mind the presentations we’re used to seeing on auto-show turntables.

Compared with the previous Cadenza, rear-seat riders gain half an inch of legroom, and rear-seat passenger volume grows from 45 to 46 cubic feet. Although rear-space hairsplitting will tell you that falls short of the 49 cubic feet provided by the Toyota Avalon and the Buick LaCrosse, the Cadenza’s back seat comfortably accommodates occupants well over six feet tall. The Kia also has excellent front-seat roominess and total passenger volume of 105 cubic feet, an increase of two from before.

That’s in a package with the exact same overall length and a fractionally longer wheelbase. The styling is new, with clean body panels and a single body-side crease that runs the length of the vehicle, giving credence to chief design officer Peter Schreyer’s “simplicity of the straight line” philosophy. Out front is a concave version of Kia’s “tiger nose” grille, although the look is strikingly similar to that of the Volvo S90. Two nose treatments are available in the Cadenza lineup. The lower trims use a “diamond butterfly” design similar to other Kias, but our test car wore the new “intaglio” grille with vertically oriented blades. The daytime running lights feature a Z-shaped lighting signature that’s also applied to the LED taillamps. While they look upscale, annoying shadows project onto the road ahead, a product of how light is reflected within the housings. Read more...

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30 Dec 2016