Competes with: Chrysler 300, Lexus ES, any other non-luxury full-size sedans that are still alive
Looks like: The 2019 Kia Cadenza with a slightly more aggressive face (Be honest: Without that picture above, you would have no idea what a Cadenza looked like, would you?)
Powertrain: 290-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6; eight-speed automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: Later in 2020, according to Kia
Kia’s bringing a refreshed 2020 Cadenza to the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, our first chance to see the car stateside since its 2019 Seoul Motor Show debut as the Korean-market K7 Premier. The Cadenza gets subtle updates and upgrades for 2020 as Kia shows a commitment to the full-size sedan market even as other automakers abandon it in favor of more and more SUVs.
Related: More Chicago Auto Show Coverage
Kia has eliminated the Premium trim for the 2020 model year, leaving buyers to choose between either the Technology or Limited versions. The powertrain carries over from the previous model year, and Kia’s collection of safety equipment, called Drive Wise, includes new standard features. Kia also made updates to the body structure and suspension to create a quieter, more cushioned ride.
The exterior updates are fairly subtle. The Cadenza’s grille is larger, deeper and a bit more aggressive-looking, using what Kia calls a “vertical waterfall.” Standard LED headlights get a new look, as do the daytime running lights. The lower portion of the Cadenza’s face is also new and includes the turn signals. In back, the trunk lid and rear bumper are updated, as are the LED taillights connected by a horizontal lighting element. The standard 18-inch and optional 19-inch wheels get fresh designs for 2020, too.
More significant changes happen inside, including a new horizontal 12.3-inch touchscreen and a redone center stack that puts the audio controls above the climate controls. Three more USB ports (one in front and two in the backseat) have been added, as has high-speed wireless phone charging. Nappa leather seating is available in two new colors (Saddle Brown and Gray), and Limited models get both LED ambient lighting and quilted seat bolsters.
Under the Hood
No changes happen directly under the hood, with the same 3.3-liter V-6 from the 2019 model powering the front wheels and paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Structural changes aim to improve ride quality and reduce road noise, as do new shock valves and rear dampers. The optional 19-inch wheels are “resonator” wheels, and also work to reduce noise.
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Kia calls its collection of safety features Drive Wise, and for the 2020 Kia Cadenza, newly standard features include forward collision warning and avoidance with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with intelligent speed-limit recognition and the ability to slow down before a curve, high-beam assist, lane keep assist with lane-centering steering, blind spot collision avoidance and a safe-exit alert that warns the driver and passengers of oncoming traffic when opening a door.
Kia says pricing will be available closer to the 2020 Cadenza’s on-sale date later in 2020, and we’ll get our first look at it in person today, live from the Chicago Auto Show floor, so stay check back in with us often for coverage.
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