Kia has introduced the California-designed 2017 Cadenza at the New York International Auto Show, confirming enthusiastic speculation it would look almost identical to the conservative-but-attractive Korean domestic-market K7.
The K7 has striking new features externally and the new Cadenza is no different. Upon first look, some may be confused by the Maserati-like dished grille, new to the Kia line, but distinctive Z-shaped headlight and taillight features, Kia’s “tiger nose” grille shape and multi-lens LED fog lights leave you with no doubts that this car is an all-new Kia product.
The inside revamp lobs a shot across the bow of other large, affordable import sedans when it comes to simple elegance and refinement. Gone are the angles of the old dash, replaced with a striking new dash that wraps around to the doors, leather all around and more refined soft touch materials. Virtually unheard of these days, the Cadenza even has four different options for interior colors, with the addition of a dark brown leather package. The chart of available tech like HUD, Smart Trunk – which opens the trunk when the fob is close by for more than three seconds – wireless smartphone charging and Advanced Smart Cruise Control reads like a high-end touring machine’s punch list.
All this stuff inside doesn’t mean a thing if the car won’t go. Kia stepped up their game, giving the Cadenza the company’s first eight-speed automatic transmission, bolted to the company’s 3.3-liter engine and driving the front wheels. Although it’s still the same lump, the engine has been retuned to provide better fuel economy and approximately 290 hp.
Until we spend some time behind the wheel it remains to be seen if the stiffer chassis, new sound deadening and updated suspension make a significant difference, but if what’s on paper proves to be everything it looks to be then we’re pretty sure we’ll be impressed. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.