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2019 Kia Cadenza Review

The 2019 Kia Cadenza earns a top position in our large car rankings thanks to its upscale interior, long list of features, good predicted reliability rating, and great safety score.

Pros & Cons

  • Plenty of standard features
  • Upscale cabin
  • Good safety scores
  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Slow touch-screen response times
  • Less trunk space than rivals
  • Some rivals have sharper handling

Rankings & Awards

The 2019 Kia Cadenza's #1 ranking is based on its score within the Large Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2019 Best Large Car for Families award. Currently the Kia Cadenza has a score of 8.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 27 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 8.0
Safety: 9.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Kia Cadenza a Good Car?

The 2019 Kia Cadenza is an excellent large car. Its cabin showcases elegant styling and sumptuous materials that are befitting of a luxury car, and it comes loaded with high-tech features. We named it a finalist for our 2019 Best Large Car for Families award because it has one of the best combinations of positive reviews from automotive journalists, safety and reliability ratings, cargo and passenger space, and availability of family-friendly features. No car is perfect, however. Trunk space is on the small side for the class, and the touch screen can be slow to respond to inputs. The Cadenza as decent performance, but some rivals feel more engaging.

Should I Buy the Kia Cadenza?

The Cadenza is a great car that has a decent price. It’s comfortable, and it will get the family around with ease. However, some competitors offer other benefits. For example, the Chrysler 300 is available with a brawny V8 engine, and the Nissan Maxima has slightly sharper driving dynamics.

Compare the Cadenza, 300, and Maxima »

Should I Buy a New or Used Kia Cadenza?

The 2019 Cadenza is part of a generation that launched for the 2017 model year. Kia has made no major updates since then. By purchasing a used 2017 or 2018 model, you could save some cash and potentially get a better-equipped vehicle for your money.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 Kia Cadenza. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Cadenza »

We Did the Research for You: 26 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about the Kia Cadenza in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 26 automotive sources. This Kia Cadenza review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which runs from the 2017 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Kia Cadenza Cost?

The base 2019 Kia Cadenza Premium has an MSRP of $33,100. That’s more expensive than most of its classmates. The top-level Cadenza Limited starts at $44,100, which is reasonable for a high-end large car.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

Kia Cadenza Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Kia Cadenza or Toyota Avalon?

The redesigned Toyota Avalon is a good large car. It has more standard driver assistance features than the Cadenza, including lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. The Avalon also has more rear-seat space than the Cadenza. The Toyota’s V6 engine makes a little more horsepower than the Kia's, and it returns better fuel economy estimates. Both cars have upscale interiors and above-average predicted reliability ratings. The base Cadenza would save you around $2,400 compared to the base Avalon. At the end of the day, both are excellent sedans, so choosing will come down to your personal taste. 

Which Is Better: Kia Cadenza or Kia Optima?

The Kia Optima is essentially the midsize version of the Cadenza. Both cars have high-end interiors, cushioned rides, and similar features lists. The Cadenza has a V6 engine and more passenger room, as well as a better predicted reliability rating, while the Optima is easier on your budget, saving you around $10,000 in its base form compared with the base Cadenza. Both are good cars, and choosing between them comes down to preference and budget.

Compare the Cadenza, Avalon, and Optima »

Cadenza Interior

How Many People Does the Cadenza Seat?

This Kia sedan seats five people. Genuine leather upholstery and power-adjustable, heated front seats come standard. Available features include upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a power-operated rear-window sunshade.

Most adults will be comfortable in the front seats. The rear seats have ample legroom, but the sloping roofline might limit headroom for taller passengers.

Cadenza and Car Seats

For installing child safety seats, this sedan has two complete sets of LATCH connectors on the rear outboard seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Cadenza's LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. 

Cadenza Interior Quality

This Kia has a nicer cabin than many large cars. It’s full of soft-touch materials, and the overall quality reaches near-luxury status.

Cadenza Cargo Space

The Cadenza has 16 cubic feet of trunk space. While that’s not bad, many full-size cars offer more room, including the Chevrolet Impala.

Cadenza Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Cadenza include the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, an eight-speaker sound system, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Upgrades include an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, wireless phone charging, a 12-speaker premium sound system, HD Radio, a head-up display, and a panoramic sunroof.   

While the UVO system is easy to use, the touch screen can be slow to respond to inputs. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a nice touch, allowing you to access some smartphone features and apps through the touch screen.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Cadenza Performance

Cadenza Engine: An Adequate V6

The only engine available in the Cadenza is a 3.3-liter V6 that puts out 290 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The engine delivers enough power for most daily driving scenarios, including highway trips. It’s fine overall, but some rivals provide more robust acceleration.

Cadenza Mileage: Typical

This vehicle gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are about average for the class.

Cadenza Ride and Handling: Comfortable Ride

Like many large cars, the Cadenza opts for comfort over agility. You can choose between three driving modes (Normal, Sport, and Eco) for tailored handling and ride comfort. This is a great cruising vehicle, but it shows its large size around turns, and some rivals have sharper handling. Front-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is not offered.

Read more about performance »

Cadenza Reliability

Is the Cadenza Reliable?

The 2019 Cadenza earns an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Cadenza Warranty

Kia covers the Cadenza with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Those are better terms than what most large cars offer.

Read more about reliability »

Cadenza Safety

Cadenza Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2019 Cadenza a Top Safety Pick, giving it the highest score of Good in six crash tests, the second-highest rating of Acceptable for headlight strength and outward visibility, and a Superior rating for front crash prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested this sedan as of this writing.

Cadenza Safety Features

The Cadenza comes standard with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist. Available safety features include a surround-view parking camera, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and a driver condition monitor.

Read more about safety »

Cadenza Dimensions and Weight

The Cadenza is 16.25 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,633 to 3,799 pounds. Its gross vehicle weight is between 4,718 and 4,784 pounds. 

Where is the 2019 Kia Cadenza Built?

Kia builds the Cadenza in South Korea.

Which Kia Cadenza Model Is Right for Me?

Kia offers this large sedan in three trim levels: Premium, Technology, and Limited. Each comes with a 3.3-liter V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The base trim has plenty of technology and a few driver assistance features, making it a solid choice. Shoppers looking for even more safety and convenience features need to step up to the midlevel Technology trim. Kia offers no major packages, so you’ll have to move up the lineup to gain more features.

Kia Cadenza Premium

The 2019 Kia Cadenza Premium has an MSRP of $33,100. It comes standard with the UVO infotainment system, a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, an eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a USB port, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, genuine leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and alloy wheels. Standard driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, lane change assist, and rear parking sensors.

Kia Cadenza Technology

With its retail price of $38,200, the Kia Cadenza Technology adds a panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, wireless device charging, HD Radio, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a driver attention monitor, fog lights, and larger alloy wheels.

Kia Cadenza Limited

The top-of-the-line Limited trim starts at $44,100 and adds a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, upgraded leather upholstery, rear-window sunshades, a surround-view parking camera, and a power trunk.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

See 2019 Kia Cadenza specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Kia Cadenza is a great large sedan. It offers an excellent combination of passenger space, standard features, and strong safety and predicted reliability ratings. Its upscale interior and comfortable ride also boost its overall appeal. Still, most rivals have stronger engine options and more trunk space.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "It may not set a new bar in its segment, but the 2019 Cadenza delivers just what a large, upscale people-hauler should: refinement, comfort and the latest in technology." -- Autotrader
  • "Ultimately, the well-rounded Cadenza competes well in the narrow market segment of 'big' cars such as the Buick LaCrosse, Impala, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, and Avalon. The Cadenza proves that Kia should no longer be considered as a second-tier value brand." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "Kia's redesign of the 2017 Cadenza significantly refines a car for buyers who want the stretch-out space and feature glut of a full-size luxury sedan at the price of an entry-level compact car from an established luxury brand." -- (2017)
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2019 Kia Cadenza

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