Competes with: Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon
Looks like: Most changes are under the new Cadenza’s skin
Drivetrain: Estimated 290-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: Late 2016
Kia is updating its full-size Cadenza sedan for the 2017 model year with a host of changes to the body and chassis, as well as a refreshed interior. It is being unveiled at the 2016 New York International Auto Show.
Kia says it expects the changes will make the Cadenza more rewarding to drive and quieter than the model it replaces.
The changes are subtle at best, with the most noticeable being that the signature grille has been simplified.
There are new 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels for 2017, and Kia’s restyled the floorpan undercover and added front-wheel air curtains to reduce drag. The automaker says this has improved the coefficient of drag from 0.29 to 0.28. We’ll have to get our hands on it to see if we notice that .01 difference, though.
The 2017 Cadenza will feature a head-up display for the first time, and Kia says the interior provides an “ergonomically intelligent design.” Additional sound-deadening laminate has been added to the front windows and windshield to cut down on wind noise.
Under the Hood
This is where the bulk of the changes take place. The new Cadenza gets a chassis that’s more than 35 percent stiffer than the one it replaces, thanks to different materials and manufacturing processes. The new car also is lighter than the one it replaces, Kia says.
All Cadenza models will be powered by a revised 3.3-liter V-6 that’s expected to produce around 290 horsepower, but that number is not final. What is known is that the Cadenza will feature Kia’s first use of an eight-speed automatic transmission in a front-wheel-drive car.
Kia says it’s updated the Surround View Monitor software and improved the resolution to provide a clearer bird’s-eye view around the vehicle, and new Reverse guidelines on the camera view will better assist drivers.