Kia, Road Test Reviews, Vehicles

2016 Kia Cadenza Tech – Road Test

Iain Shankland,

I’ve driven the Cadenza a couple of times, but only for small stints – no longer than 10 minutes at a time. Every time I’ve gotten behind the wheel I’ve been impressed by how well it handled – far better than I’d expected it to be – for an old guy’s car. It’s a good-looking car, but let’s be honest here – it doesn’t get the heart-pounding… So why did I book a full week behind the wheel? Well, partly because the all-new Optima had just come out (which I’d already driven) and that left me with a huge question:  Is the Cadenza worth buying when the Optima is sooo good? As luck would have it, just as I was about to pick up the Cadenza, Kia announced the arrival of the all-new 2017 by the end of the year. Now there’s an additional question: How much better will it be than the 2016 model? Let’s tackle the first question now and the second question next year…

 What Is It? 

  • Near-luxury mid-size sedan
  • Sits between the Optima and K900 in the Kia family
  • It’s priced almost exactly in line with the Optima
  • 3L V6 engine
  • 6-speed automatic with paddle-shift
  • Plenty of safety and luxury features that $60,000 cars don’t have

 How Does It Look?                              

  • Very Attractive and classy
  • Panorama sunroof is actually two moon roofs with the front one opening and the back affixed – seems to be the norm from Kia now and that’s a good thing

 Iain Shankland,

What’s It Like Inside?       

  • The fully digital dash (TFT LCD) is attractive and keeps the driver well informed
  • Multi-way power front seats – the driver gets leg extension and lumbar adjustment, but the front passenger has minimal manual control
  • The seats are comfortable, but a little flat – in keeping with the targeted owner
  • 12-speaker Infinity Premium Sound System – much more expensive cars can’t say their sound system is this good!
  • HVAC – Didn’t like how hard it was to focus on the various buttons just to change simple functions – very distracting at 100 kph
  • Stuffed with many standard features that other manufacturers will charge you handsomely for
  • Very comfortable rear seat with an abundance of legroom for rear passengers + virtually flat floor

Iain Shankland,

So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?                    

  • The hushed interior belies the speed you’re actually doing, which is great if you’re driving on the Autobahn, but
  • You’ll probably have to set aside funds for the Revenue Generation Mob aka: Police
  • Steering input is very light – too light for my taste

Horsepower: 293 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque:  255 @ 5,200
Top Speed:   154 mph  / 248 kph
0 – 60 mph (0-97 kph): 6.4 seconds

What Does It Cost?
To Buy…   For up-to-date pricing and options in your region visit:
Base Price Canada: $37,995 // As Tested (Tech Package): $45,595
Base Price USA: $33,840 // As Tested: $43, 140 (Limited model includes Luxury Package and Technology Package as standard equipment)

To Operate…

  • I averaged 8.5- 10.1 L/100 km with a somewhat aggressive right foot, which I would consider very good
  • (L/100 km) is rated at: City -12.7 / Highway – 8.4 / Combined -10.7
  • S. mpg: City – 19 / Highway – 28 // Combined – 22

Iain Shankland,

Noteworthy Standard Features [Tech Model]

  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Adaptive Smart Cruise Control – still don’t like these… I slowed down by 25 kph without realizing it was because the car in front was going slow
  • Lane departure Warning
  • MultiMedia Interface with Navi
  • Windshield wiper de-icer – works fantastic. We had a freak snow and ice storm, it made it so much easier to clear the front window
  • Hill Assist – never did find the button for this!
  • Electric tilt and telescopic steering wheel with memory (including seat)Iain Shankland,
  • HID Headlamps with AFLS (Adaptive Front Lighting)
  • LED tail lamps
  • Rear view Camera & rear parking sensors
  • Panorama sunroof
  • Smart key w/Push button start
  • Infinity Premium Sound System
  • Premium Nappa Leather interior
  • Heated and cooled front seats
  • Heated rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel – very pleasant during a particularly cold snap
  • Electric rear window sunblind

The Competition
BMW 3 Series, Lincoln MKZ, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Lexus IS250/350

 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

  • The Good: It does everything well and even looks the part – Understated Elegance that doesn’t draw undue attention
  • The Bad: HVAC isn’t intuitive when you need to make adjustment while keeping eyes on the road
  • The Bad: Every time the trunk opens, all the rain and snow from on the trunk drops right into the middle and all over anything inside
  • The Ugly: There’s absolutely nothing ugly or wrong with the 2016 Cadenza – can’t wait to check out the 2017 though!

 What’s The Verdict? 
The 2016 Cadenza is a great car, but now that the Optima is all-new where does it logically fit? I think right now it has an identity crisis and I can’t see how or why it needs to exist. The Optima is just as quiet inside, the driver’s seat is more comfortable and it feels much faster and sportier… and it’s $15,000 cheaper. With the all-new 2017 Cadenza coming out by the end of 2016, obviously Kia think there’s a place for it in the line-up. I’m guessing the 2017 is going to be moving much further up-market to compete with the BMW 4 and 5 series as well as Mercedes-Benz E Class – and that makes sense because Kia are already stealing customers from them by offering their solid reliability, high re-sale value and much cheaper maintenance costs. Now there appears to be a third question: should Lexus be worried?

Copyright © 2016 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Kia & Iain Shankland

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