$16,032 - $19,460

2016 Kia Cadenza Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Kia Cadenza was new.


Performance: 8.1

The 2016 Kia Cadenza has a smooth ride and poised handling, automotive journalists find. Most agree that it feels slow from a stop but otherwise delivers ample power and has little trouble with passing maneuvers at speed. They think the transmission shifts smoothly.

  • The ride quality is pleasant overall, but some sharp impacts occasionally make their way into the cabin. Overall, however, the big 2016 Kia Cadenza meets our expectations for satisfying dynamics and luxury." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, the Cadenza is dynamically neck and neck with established players such as the Avalon and the Chrysler 300. The Cadenza's sophisticated suspension lends it remarkable poise for a large car, and it smooths out rough pavement with minimal road noise as a premium sedan should." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • Rough pavement can belie the sense of sophistication the rest of the car works hard to convey, but overall, the Cadenza drives about the same as any of today's good large sedans." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Like its Hyundai cousin, the Cadenza is competent, quiet, and composed in ordinary operation, yet surprisingly willing to tackle hard cornering and quick transitions." -- Popular Mechanics (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Cadenza features a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 293 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Cadenza gets comparable fuel economy to other V6-powered affordable large cars, earning an EPA-estimated 19/28 mpg city/highway.

The engine delivers sufficient power, according to test drivers. Some comment that the Cadenza is a little slow off the line, but they say the Cadenza performs better at speed and handles highway passing with ease. Reviewers praise the transmission for its smooth shifts.

  • "We were also impressed by the seamless powertrain and cabin that remained notably quiet on the highway.” -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "We wouldn't mind more punch off the line from the V6 -- the Avalon reigns supreme in this category -- but otherwise, the Cadenza's driving demeanor is hard to fault." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Performance is similarly unstressed, as the Cadenza swiftly powers up on-ramps and passes other, slower cars with ease. Power delivery is very smooth and the transmission provides timely downshifts, though upshifts are noticeably lazy, even under full throttle." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "The 3.3-liter V6 engine's power isn't great off the line, but our guess is that most shoppers in this segment won't mind. Power is there when you need it, and the Cadenza gets up to speed with smooth shifts from the six-speed automatic." -- AutoWeek (2014)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard on the Cadenza. Some test drivers note that the Cadenza's driving dynamics aren't as sharp as some rivals', but most agree that the Cadenza still offers composed handling for a large sedan. They add that the ride is comfortable and the steering provides good feedback, though some say it's a bit light.

  • The brakes can be a bit abrupt initially, but they become predictable in a short time. Steering effort is appropriately light, though some drivers have reported a slight delay between quick inputs and the car's reaction." -- Edmunds
  • "The Cadenza is related to its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Azera, and shares that car's engine and basic underpinnings, which made us all the more surprised by its better driving characteristics, including steering feel." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • The suspension … provides a cushy ride and secure - but not highly engaging - handling." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "Its ride is just a little firm, which foreshadows its competency in handling a corner. It's no sports car and it doesn't pretend to be, but it corners surprisingly flat and confidently, enough to encourage you to drive briskly on a good road rather than dart along the straights and creep through corners as too many drivers are prone to do. Meanwhile, you ride along in comfort, mostly unaware of the road's imperfections until they become severe." -- Motor Trend (2014)

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