Will looks from Maserati help customers buy this car?
Making a drop in the New York Auto Show bucket is the all-new 2017 Kia Cadenza. Its okay if you forgot this car existed because it competes in the less exciting full-size sedan class alongside the Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala. Still, this is an important car for the Korean automaker that is trying hard to shed its cheap car image. To aid in this pursuit, Kia has ditched the refresh route and released an all-new car despite the Cadenza joining Kia's lineup only three years ago.
Gone is the diamond-shaped grille and in its place the Cadenza receives a concave grille reminiscent of a Maserati's grin. The rest of the car appears hunched and lower than the last model to make it appear glossier and less cumbersome. Taking the place of the six-speed transmission seen on the original is a new eight-speed transmission, which will yield better fuel economy even with the same 3.3-liter V6 doing the grunt work. Despite going on a fuel diet, the engine should still crank out figures in the 290 hp ballpark like the current version. The bulk of the refinements are under the skin, where the new Cadenza gets twice the amount of Advanced High Strength Steel as the current version.
Inside, passengers are treated to more soft-touch materials, added sound deadening, and an extra inch of legroom. Aiding the driver is an army of tech goodies like lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and an active blind-spot detection system that has control over the brakes to stop the Cadenza from plowing into cars in adjacent lanes. All of these changes amount to a car that may give the Toyota Avalon and the Nissan Maxima a serious run for their money if the styling succeeds in getting people to forget that it's a Kia. The price certainly isn't Kia-like. Expect this Cadenza to start around $35k when it comes out in the later half of 2016.