2021 Kia Cadenza Review


Sometimes, when things seem too good to be true, they are quite real nonetheless. Case in point, Kia’s Cadenza delivers most of the goodness of a premium luxury sedan at a remarkably low price. Of course, Kia, like its sister brand Hyundai, has built a strong reputation providing outstanding value for the money. For those in the know, it comes as little surprise this car looks and acts like it costs far more money than it does.


This handsome interior treatment is the result of a redesign for the 2020 model year. Its prominent feature is a 12.3-inch infotainment monitor, which is one of the largest on offer. The standard navigation system communicates with the Cadenza’s standard smart cruise control system to negotiate upcoming curves. Moreover, an entire alphabet’s worth of initialisms of other contemporary driver’s aids are available, including a startlingly precise lane keep assist system. With it, the Kia is almost capable of driving itself.


Power spins out of this ultra-smooth 290-horsepower V6, which is also good for 253 lb-ft of torque. This is an increasingly rare find in a time when most manufacturers are going to turbocharged fours, even in cars larger than this one. An eight-speed automatic transmission feeds the front wheels. I averaged just over 25 miles per gallon overall.


Cadenza’s handsome profile harbors a spacious passenger cabin with unrestricted outward visibility, exceptional legroom at all five seating positions and praiseworthy quiet. Ride comfort is exemplary too. Steering is a bit on the light side, but Cadenza responds dutifully to inputs and inspires confidence, both on the highway and on winding roads.


Long story short, the 2021 Kia Cadenza would represent an outstanding choice at an even higher price point. Its recent styling update, leather upholstery, quality fit and finish and broad feature set make Cadenza one of the most desirable sedans in its category — which also includes Avalon, Maxima and Chrysler’s 300.

I like it.

Pricing starts at $37,850.

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