Buyer's Guide

2020 Kia Cadenza
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2020 Kia Cadenza MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Spacious, smooth, quiet, and comfortable
  • Impressive luxury for the money
  • Newly updated technology and driver-assist features

Cons

  • Unexciting to drive
  • Major body roll through corners
  • Unimpressive fuel economy

What's New

The Cadenza receives numerous updates for 2020, including:

  • New front and rear bumper designs
  • Full-LED headlights
  • Fresh wheel designs
  • Redesigned dashboard
  • Larger 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Three additional USB ports for a total of four
  • New interior color and trim choices
  • Enhanced standard active safety and driver-assist features
  • Chassis and suspension adjustments for smoother, quieter ride
  • Available in Technology or Limited trims; Premium trim removed from lineup

Overview

The Kia Cadenza is a full-size sedan positioned as an alternative to luxury offerings from Japan and Europe. It has a spacious interior and plush appointments with dynamic attributes calibrated for comfort. First introduced in the United States for 2013, the current second-generation Cadenza became available in 2017. Numerous updates for 2020 enhance its looks and luxurious capabilities.

Updates include revised exterior styling, notably the bolder front fascia with a larger grille, plus a modern rear end. The cabin has a restyled dashboard, which includes a larger infotainment touchscreen, plus technology to enhance connectivity. Chassis tweaks aim to make the Cadenza quieter and smoother.

What We Think

In subjective metrics like comfort and relaxation, the Kia Cadenza excels. But when testing equipment comes out, its performance figures trail competitors.

To an extent, the Cadenza's absence of sportiness is appealing. Comfort is its foremost focus; its spacious cabin isolates occupants from the outside world. The mechanical and interior updates applied for 2020 seem to enhance those abilities.

In those regards, Kia's large front-drive sedan presents an alternative to more expensive luxury cars, but it'll leave some drivers wanting more. Unimpressive acceleration and handling are accompanied by relaxed responses and considerable body roll. Fuel economy isn't great, either.

For drivers who seek outright smoothness from their vehicle, the Kia Cadenza is worth a look. Some might also appreciate the vehicle's relative rarity. Just be aware that it's a one-dimensional machine, offering little excitement as it wafts along.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The Kia Cadenza is powered by a 3.3-liter V-6 engine producing 290 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. That's joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. MotorTrend testing measured a 6.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration time. The EPA rates fuel economy at 20/28 mpg city/highway.

Safety

Although the IIHS has not performed crashworthiness evaluations for the Cadenza, the testing organization assessed the car's standard front-crash prevention systems. The vehicle-to-vehicle system earned a top Superior score, the highest, as it avoided collisions in both 12 mph and 25-mph tests. The vehicle-to-pedestrian system got a middling Advanced score. In the 12-mph test, speed was reduced by an average of 11 mph for a crossing child, and by 12 mph for a crossing adult. In the 25-mph test, speed was reduced by an average of 15 mph for a crossing child, and by 19 mph for a crossing adult. In the parallel adult test, average speed reduction was 25 mph in the 25-mph test, and 34 mph in the 37-mph test, with a 1.3-second warning time.

For 2020, the Cadenza's standard driver-assist and active safety features are enhanced. It now includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with corrective steering, rear and side cross traffic alert, and automatic high beams.

Utility (Cargo Space and Interior Room)

The Cadenza's trunk has 16.0 cubic feet of capacity, with a rear-seat center pass through to allow long items to fit inside. In the Cadenza's front row, headroom measures 38.5 inches, compared to 37.4 inches in sunroof-equipped 2020 Toyota Avalon models. In the second row, the Cadenza has 37.6 inches of headroom, while the Avalon has 37.5. Front-row legroom is 45.5 inches in the Cadenza; 42.1 inches in the Avalon. The Cadenza's second-row legroom of 37.2 inches is less than the Avalon's 40.3.

Technology

For 2020, the Cadenza receives a larger infotainment touchscreen measuring 12.3 inches. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, and built-in navigation are included. There's also a 4.2-inch information display in the gauge cluster. Three additional USB ports are added for 2020; there are now two in each row. A wireless device charging pad is included. An eight-speaker audio system is standard, while a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium setup is fitted on the Limited trim. The Limited trim features Kia's Blind-Spot View Monitor, which displays a view of the vehicle's blind spots on the gauge cluster screen when either turn signal is activated.

Trim Levels

2020 Kia Cadenza Technology

Exterior: 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated power-folding side mirrors, chrome door handles and exhaust tips, panoramic sunroof, sound-insulating windshield and front door glass

Interior: Leather seating upholstery, 10-way driver's and eight-way front passenger's power adjustable seats, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, eight-speaker audio system

Convenience: Dual zone automatic climate control, four USB ports, keyless entry with remote and push-button start, proximity trunk opening, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, rear parking sensors

2020 Kia Cadenza Limited

Exterior: 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome side mirror accents

Interior: Quilted leather seat upholstery, 14-way driver's and 10-way front passenger's seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable steering column, 12-speaker audio system

Convenience: Front and rear one-touch up/down side windows, driver's seat memory settings, windshield wiper de-icer, rear collision auto-braking, 360-degree view parking camera, blind-spot view monitor

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2020 KIA CADENZA SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
Engine Name
Transmission Name
Trim
Base Sedan
Class
Horsepower
Standard MPG
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Sedan
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Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
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Full Warranty Miles
Powertrain Warranty Months
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
IIHS Front Small Overlap
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IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
IIHS Rear Crash
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Rollover