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Kia Cadenza review

This modern, large sedan jumps to the top of its segment

Published: August 2013

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The Cadenza banishes any lingering thoughts that Kia is just a manufacturer of cheap, unrefined cars. This modern large sedan is well-rounded and thoroughly likable. And it scored near the top of its category in our testing, edging out the Toyota Avalon, which was once a benchmark in this segment. Thanks to the Cadenza’s better ride and handling, it also outscores the Hyundai Azera, which shares its platform and powertrain.

Pulling off that high score requires a long list of positives and very few faults. The cabin is quiet, well-finished, and spacious, and it has super-simple controls, which is rare in a loaded luxury sedan. The refined 3.3-liter  V6, which is mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission, delivers ample power and a respectable 22 mpg overall.

Ride comfort is very good, but the Cadenza lacks the placid isolation of the best-riding cars, such as the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Impala.

Despite Kia’s traditional emphasis on value, our $39,030 Cadenza lacks some features we expect for the price, such as blind-spot monitoring and comprehensive seat adjustments. To get blind-spot monitoring, you need to ante up for the Luxury and Technology packages, which cost $3,000 each.

We don’t yet have reliability data on this new model.

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