The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

Three years after the most powerful and technologically advanced Kia made its debut, the Korean carmaker has totally redesigned the flagship sedan. Though it shrinks in width and height, the wheelbase and length in the Cadenza are slightly up. There is extensive use of not just high-strength steel but also aluminum in the chassis to result in a lighter vehicle. A substantial change under the hood is the gas-saving 8-speed automatic gearbox to replace the previous 6-speed. Extra sound-damping materials hold wind and road noise to a minimum.
Sharing its platform with the Hyundai Azera, the front-wheel-drive Cadenza continues with the 3.3-liter V-6 GDI engine pumping out 290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm and 253 pounds-feet of torque @ 5200 rpm. A retuned independent MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension handle the rough surfaces with little sacrifice to the backside. And then there is the Motor-Driven Power Steering to provide a quick and precise feedback to the driver. Drive modes are comfort, eco, sport and smart.
Up front, the familiar “Tiger nose” concave grille now boasts a hexagonal shape while flanked by Z-shaped signatures in LED headlights and fog lamps. Chrome is noticeably visible on the trunk lid, side molding and mirrors. The cabin is posh as is expected of a luxury ride with Nappa leather seats, dual-zone auto a/c, 14-way power heated/cooled driver and 10-way front-passenger seats, woodgrain-style trim, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel with  paddle shifters, analog clock, 8-inch touchscreen, Harman Kardon premium audio, and power rear sunshade and manual side sunshades.
Safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag (a first), four-wheel antilock brakes, stability, hill start assist and traction controls, blind spot/rear detection traffic alert, lane departure and forward collision warning, rear parking assist and autonomous emergency brakes.
Since its introduction in 2013, the Cadenza has proved to be a tough contender to proven premium sedans from Audi, BMW, Lexus and Acura. Though not necessarily agile, this Kia is a fine mix of luxury and performance.

Tires: 245/40R19
Wheelbase: 112.4 inches
Length: 195.7 inches
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons
Weight: 4,784 pounds
City: 20 mpg               
Highway: 28
Price as tested: $45,290
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