2019 Kia Cadenza


#1 out of 6 in Large Cars

U.S. News Best Price Program

2019 Kia Cadenza Performance Review


Performance: 7.5

The 2019 Kia Cadenza is a decent daily driver. It delivers sufficient acceleration, and while its ride is a little firmer than those of some other large cars, the Cadenza is still a comfortable highway cruiser.

  • If you're looking for a big sedan that's eager to cleave the corners, you might want to look elsewhere. Although the 2019 Cadenza is lighter and more aggressive looking than the previous generation, it's still primarily a boulevard-cruiser, whisking its occupants along in comfy quiet." -- Autotrader
  • "Kia doesn't bill the Cadenza as a sport sedan, despite shift paddles on the steering wheel and selectable driving mode function that includes 'Sport.' Yet keeping that in mind, the big Cadenza felt at home on the two-lane highways we encountered, although it is clearly more in its element when cruising long stretches of open road." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Rather than spirited driving, a car like this is about sitting back and enjoying the ride. The new Cadenza provides that without being sloppy." -- Cars.com (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The sole engine in this Kia is a 3.3-liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This setup produces ample power for most driving situations, though many rivals accelerate more briskly. The transmission makes timely shifts.

The Cadenza returns 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those fuel estimates are about average for the class.

  • Three driving-mode settings provide some control over how aggressively the transmission shifts. We kept ours in Sport mode for most of our time behind the wheel and had no issue zipping around slower traffic when we needed to." -- Autotrader
  • "The Cadenza downshifts predictably as you press your foot farther and farther into the pedal stroke, avoiding the sudden triple or even quadruple downshifts that plague some modern nine-speed transmissions. The combo feels well-matched to the chassis, offering plenty of torque and easily rushing the Cadenza to triple-digit speeds when you call for it, and you're almost never left wishing for a lower gear." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • Acceleration from the Cadenza's 3.3L V6 is good, but falls below the punch you'll find in rivals like the aforementioned Buick or the Nissan Maxima. At just under 3,800 pounds, the Cadenza at least doesn't have a lot of mass to carry around." -- Left Lane News (2017)

Handling and Braking

This Kia provides a comfortable ride, and its suspension soaks up most road flaws, though it can feel a little firm at times. This car tackles turns with composure rather than agility, which is typical for a vehicle this size. Front-wheel drive is standard.

  • While the Cadenza corners soundly, with no drama, its handling is rather mundane. Body lean is fairly well contained. The steering is responsive enough initially, but more challenging corners require a fair amount of additional input and the car begins to show its reluctance to turn. The Cadenza is a large front-wheel-drive car and it feels it." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "The steering is actually better than fine, offering good effort in corners, and very good straight-line stability." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • Steering in the Cadenza isn't heavy, but it required more effort than we expected. Likewise, the Cadenza doesn't crash over road imperfections, but its suspension is on the firmer side for a vehicle in this category." -- Left Lane News (2017)
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2019 Kia Cadenza

MSRP: $33,100 - $44,100

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