To kick things off, the new Kia Cadenza boasts matching Z-shaped lighting signatures in the headlights and LED rear lights. The overall impression is one of modernity and power, which is achieved by visually shearing away surface area to create a more angular form. Head on, the Cadenza is more expressive thanks to the newly designed front fascia. While the signature Kia “tiger nose” grille is still an unmistakable design trait, it has evolved into a new hexagonal shape that emphasizes the Cadenza’s visual width with lines extending underneath the headlights. But the more substantial change to the grille is its distinct concave form, which curves in toward the engine bay, giving the Cadenza its handsomely chiseled face.
Unlike other cars in the segment, the Cadenza is available with two different grilles. Lower trim models will come with the “Diamond Butterfly” front grille that features the same three-dimensional pattern as several siblings within the Kia lineup, but has its own unique appearance thanks to the concave shape. Higher trim models will come with the “Intaglio” grille, featuring vertically oriented, faceted blades.
Other thoughtful details include the chrome garnish that extends through the trunk lid, accentuating the Cadenza’s wide stance, and tasteful chrome accents on the side mirrors and rear quarter windows. In addition, newly designed 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels may be shod with available tyres.
Exterior styling is further enhanced by optimized dimensions. While the new Cadenza has the same overall length as the outgoing model, it’s slightly wider and lower in height. The wheelbase has been stretched slightly, contributing to nearly a half-inch of increased legroom for rear passengers.
Inside, the new Cadenza takes up a wraparound dashboard that flows into the door panels and features real stitching. The door panels themselves have been adorned with higher quality soft-touch materials, while soft leather envelopes the Cadenza’s cabin space. Nappa leather is available with quilted seat bolsters accented by diamond shaped stitching that dresses up the Cadenza’s already attractive cabin. For 2017, buyers have greater opportunity to customize their Cadenza, as a dark brown interior color has been added, bringing the total number of color combinations to four. Like the outgoing model, the White Package remains an option, but it has been upgraded with a new black wood-grain-style trim finished with a pearlescent sheen.
Improvements were made throughout to ensure a more pleasant driving experience. The driver’s seat has been lowered for a sportier and more stable feeling, while engineers extended the seat cushion slightly and developed an innovative cushion extension mechanism that slides and rotates, making it easier for drivers to find their comfort zone behind the wheel. The heating elements used for the seat warmers have been re-engineered to more evenly distribute warmth, and as a Kia first, the seat heaters now utilize a smart control system to automatically lower the heater operating mode after a certain period of time.
Brimming with technology, the cockpit is designed to provide a more harmonious human-machine interface with ergonomically intelligent design, intuitive controls, and a suite of enhanced convenience features making the driving experience enjoyable and effortless. New to the 2017 Cadenza is the Head Up Display (HUD), which shows key driver information such as speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions on the windshield directly in the driver’s line of sight. In addition, the Surround View Monitor has been updated with improved software and resolution that gives the driver a clearer birds-eye view of the area around the vehicle, with newly added reverse guidelines offering confidence when backing into confined spaces. Other features new to the Cadenza include: Connectivity features, Smart Trunk, which conveniently opens the trunk lid if the sensor and a wireless smartphone charger.
Underneath the hood is a revised version of Kia’s 3.3-liter V6 engine, which has been retuned for improved fuel economy. With an estimated 290 hp on tap and fuel economy figures (yet to be determined), the engine sends power to the front wheels via Kia’s first FWD-based eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2017 Cadenza’s confident ride and handling are complemented by improvements in NVH. Additional acoustic absorbing laminate in the front windows and windshield reduces wind noise, while a full floorpan undercover quells road noise. Together with increased insulation around the A-pillars, NVH levels have been substantially reduced, resulting in a library-quiet interior. The floorpan undercover also helps improve the Cadenza’s aerodynamic performance, along with front wheel air curtains that reduce drag around the tyres. Overall, the coefficient of drag has improved from 0.29 to 0.28.
The 2017 Kia Cadenza is specially reserved for the U.S. market.
Edited: Kia Motors