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The Kia Cadenza Offers Luxury Amenities at an Affordable Price

The full-size Cadenza is Kia’s forgotten sedan, with most Americans not even knowing the premium vehicle exists. With low sales in the U.S., Kia redesigned the Cadenza in hopes of proving it is the master of producing luxury-like vehicles at non-luxury-like prices. The recently-debuted and redesigned 2020 Kia Cadenza might just find its way into the heart of Americans after all.

The 2020 Kia Cadenza and a much-needed redesign

2017 Kia Cadenza is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place
The Kia Cadenza | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The Kia Cadenza has never sold as well in the U.S. as it has elsewhere in the world. According to Kelley Blue Book, Kia sold less than 2,000 Cadenza models in 2019, prompting a necessary response from the brand. When most brands would simply ax the low-hanging fruit, Kia responded to the American’s lack of willingness to buy the premium midsize sedan with a complete redesign for the 2020 model year.

Available for purchase by the end of 2020, the new Cadenza is receiving “updated styling and a revised interior” as well as updates to its mechanical design and offered amenities.

What you get with the 2020 Kia Cadenza

With an estimated starting price of around $34,000, the 2020 Kia Cadenza offers premium features without the premium price tag. Its updated exterior – with standard multi-lens LED headlights, new hood and grille, and redesigned bumpers – provides a more premium look than ever before. But the Cadenza’s interior is where the luxurious redesign is really happening.

The 2020 Kia Cadenza gets a completely redesigned interior, adding easier-to-use controls and more sophisticated instrument clusters. A new, enormous 12.3-inch touchscreen display now sits in the spacious cabin alongside three USB charging ports, and a wireless smartphone charger.

The Cadenza also comes with an onboard telematics system that can not only help diagnose mechanical problems but also alert the driver and call for help if necessary as well. New owners will also get a new, standard smart key with remote engine start and optional ambient lighting.

Kia keeps the luxury going in the safety department, offering its Drive Wise safety suite standard on all 2020 Cadenza models. This safety suite includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot collision avoidance, highway driving assist, high-beam assist, safe exit assist, and adaptive cruise control. The adaptive cruise control in the Cadenza is navigation-based, meaning it knows where and when to slow down or speed up.

The 2020 Cadenza comes with a refined V6 engine that makes 290 hp and is paired with a Smart driving mode, which continuously takes advantage of the powertrain’s capabilities when it’s needed. Kia got rid of the previous Premium trim level, leaving just two variants of the Cadenza for the 2020 year: Technology and Limited.

How the Cadenza stacks up against the competition

Car and Driver experts claim that the 2020 Kia Cadenza “offers luxury-car comfort and features at a steep discount versus premium-badged rivals.” Though the premium sedan segment seems to be shrinking, Kia keeps maintaining a “successful march toward luxury-oriented products.” 

The 2020 Cadenza’s well-built cabin provides all the same luxuries you’d expect from its biggest luxury rivals with some more added in. Even the new Cadenza’s highest trim level, which will cost an estimated $45,000, “push it very close to true luxury sedan rivals in terms of equipment, but for thousands less.” Easy to drive with a super-smooth engine, the Kia Cadenza is competent and civilized on the road.

Consumer Reports ranks the 2020 Cadenza as No. 2 among new large sedans, with an impressive overall score of 85 (out of 100). Performing well on the road test, the “competitively-priced large sedan does plenty of things right.”