2020 Kia Cadenza 5

2020 Kia Cadenza: An Overlooked & Slightly Unconventional Crown Jewel

  • The 2020 Kia Cadenza receives a number of interior design updates.
  • Technology and safety features are numerous, although not overdone.
  • Buyers may find the Cadenza a nice change of pace versus other sedans.

The Kia Cadenza is sleek but not over the top; it’s stylish but not obnoxious; and has more going for it than some might realize. Car buyers looking for something beyond the “typical luxury sedan” may be pleasantly surprised by the Cadenza, especially for 2020. The refreshed 2020 Kia Cadenza landed at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this week with a number of solid updates.

What Is The Kia Cadenza?

The Cadenza is Kia’s large sedan and a step up in terms of size from the Optima. It competes with other bigger cars like the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, and Chevy Impala. Kia also markets the Cadenza to a demographic who want something nice and a little bigger, but don’t necessarily need an SUV or crossover.

“The Cadenza continues to introduce new and luxury-minded customers to the Kia brand,” explained Michael Cole, Kia Motors America President. “We recognize there are many customers who don’t want or need an SUV, but still desire a vehicle with plentiful interior room and a large trunk.”

2020 Kia Cadenza: What’s New?

Kia spent a lot of time on the interior, improving the cabin’s overall layout and ergonomics. The dash and instrument cluster are entirely new, and the audio controls are now positioned above the climate switchgear. Two new Nappa leather seat colors are available: Saddle Brown and Gray. Limited models offer quilted bolsters for extra comfort.

On the outside, the 2020 Kia Cadenza sports a new hood and grille, with a fascia design the automaker calls a “vertical waterfall.” Standard now are LED headlights, LED daytime running lamps, and LED rear taillights. 18-inch wheels are standard although 19-inch ones are available.

The 2020 Kia Cadenza is standard with a remote start.
The 2020 Kia Cadenza is standard with a remote start. Photo: Kia Motors America.

2020 Kia Cadenza: Under The Hood

The 3.3-liter V6 returns from last year and delivers a healthy 290 horsepower and 253 lb-ft. of torque. Kia makes use of aluminum for the block and heads to help reduce weight and increase efficiency. EPA fuel economy ratings for the new Cadenza are 20/28 city/highway and 23 combined. Unleaded fuel is fine for the 18.5 gallon tank.

Power is sent to the front-wheels via an eight-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is not available for the 2020 Kia Cadenza.

Essential Foundations

The Cadenza’s architecture is a steel unibody, a construction type with numerous benefits, from safety to fuel economy. NVH reductions (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) come by way of reinforced rear sub-frame cross members. Kia says the redesigned shock valves also help reduce vibration, with the larger rear dampers improving rebound over rougher surfaces. In short, the 2020 Kia Cadenza should feel smoother than a comparable 2019 model.

2020 Kia Cadenza on the open road.
2020 Kia Cadenza on the open road. Photo: Kia Motors America.

Technology & Safety

The 2020 Kia Cadenza has plenty to go around, starting with the new 12.3-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity. Three USB charging ports, one for the front passenger and two in the backseat, compliment the 10-watt wireless phone charger. Limited models have the option for multi-color LED ambient lighting. Perfect for date night. I would drive the Cadenza on a date.

And her family will approve because there are a ton of safety features! The 2020 Cadenza comes with Kia’s Drive Wise package, which includes Forward Collision Warning; Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (with pedestrian and cyclist detection); Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go; and High Beam Assist. The Safe Exit Assist feature alerts occupants if they are unknowingly opening the door into oncoming traffic.

2020 Kia Cadenza interior layout.
2020 Kia Cadenza interior layout. Photo: Kia Motors America.

Pricing & Availability

When it goes on sale later this year, the 2020 Cadenza will be available in two trims: Technology and Limited. The Premium trim is no longer available. Kia says pricing will be announced in the near future, closer to the on-sale date. The 2019 Cadenza starts at $33,100, and a slight bump up is likely for 2020.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

2020 Kia Cadenza Gallery

Photos & Source: Kia Motors America.