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The Kia Cadenza originally rolled off the production line for the 2010 season. This was Kia’s offering to the full-size sedan market, and they hoped it would be a top competitor. 

The 2020 Cadenza is only in its second generation and with a few design tweaks over the years, it’s nearly risen to the top, but it still falls short of being the best in that category. Consumer Reports shows you what makes it a good car and why it hasn’t overtaken the number one spot for full-size sedans.

Consumer Reports thoughts on the 2020 Kia Cadenza

A Kia Cadenza seen from the front at an auto show
A white Kia Cadenza on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Cadenza a score of 85 out of 100, which makes it the second-best large sedan on their list. They liked the smoothness in the shifting of the transmission, the interior cabin structure, and it’s inexpensive price tag

The seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room for both the front seat passengers and the rear seat ones. The cargo area is large enough for your storage needs and there are plenty of little spaces in the cabin to store your small, personal items as well. 

The 3.3-liter V6 engine provides plenty of horsepower to move this car down the highway with ease. The Cadenza gets 24 mpg overall when it comes to fuel economy. Highway mileage alone is at 36 mpg, which is pretty good for a large sedan like this one. 

Braking is exceptional, providing short stopping distances during both wet and dry conditions. Controls in the Cadenza were extremely easy to use and were within reaching distance of the driver. 

But, despite all the positives they reported on the Kia Cadenza, it wasn’t enough to put it on top in the full-size sedan category. It still falls a bit behind its biggest rival, the Toyota Avalon.

Why does it fall short?

Consumer Reports felt the ride on the Cadenza was just average and the handling wasn’t much better. The interior looks a bit luxurious, but it isn’t as opulent as other sedans in the same class. 

Visibility is good for looking out the windshield, but the side windows hinder the vision somewhat. Engine noise in the cabin isn’t too bad, but the wind and road sounds are noisier than they should be. 

The headlights are a disappointment. The light beams more in the center of the road instead of in a wide path like other rivals provide. Another disappointing factor is that the Cadenza didn’t come with an AWD option, which could’ve set it apart in the large sedan market. 

How does it compare to its competitors?


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The Kia Cadenza comes in behind the number one rated Toyota Avalon. It offered better fuel economy, handling, and superb agility, all of which Kia lacked with their large sedan. 

Predicted reliability on the Avalon received a rating of 5 out of 5, which is one point better than the Cadenza. The Toyota also scored better on owner satisfaction than Kia, bagging a rating of 4 out 5, where the Cadenza landed in the 2 out of 5 range. It seems owners like their Avalon more than those who drove the Cadenza.

The way the Avalon handled the road impressed editors at Consumer Reports much more than what they felt the Kia brought to the table. As far as the interior goes, the Avalon offers more luxury for the money. The Cadenza only went about halfway with their cabin materials.

Despite its shortcomings, though, the Kia Cadenza still brought it’s A-game to the production line. Being second best to the Avalon isn’t half bad, it will just make Kia work harder with the next redesign year to outshine its rivals in the large sedan market.