The 2017 Kia Cadenza was unveiled at the tail end of last year, but until now only a handful of details and a small collection of images – mostly low-resolution – have been released. That ends today, as Kia has released a smattering of high-res photos and full details on the new full-size sedan.

Designed in California, the second-generation model boasts a very sharp suit indeed, with details such as the Z-shaped LED daytime running lights and tail light graphics (the latter with “piano key” LEDs sitting above), concave hexagonal tiger nose grille, subtle chrome detailing on the side mirrors and window frames and a chrome garnish that links the tail lights.

Inside, you’ll find a wraparound dashboard that flows into the doors and features real stitching. The driver’s seat is now mounted lower, while the seat cushion has been extended; a cushion extension mechanism that slides and rotates has also been added. Also improved is the heating mechanism that now evenly distributes warmth, and incorporates a smart control system to reduce the heat after a certain amount of time.

New options include a brown interior colour scheme, an upgraded White Package with a black pearlescent wood grain trim, a head-up display, a surround-view monitor with improved software and resolution and new reverse guidelines, as well as a Smart Trunk feature that opens the bootlid if the key fob is detected for more than three seconds – no more kicking under the rear bumper involved.


Also available are a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with ClariFi music restoration technology and a wireless smartphone charger. Kia’s latest-generation UVO infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality is fitted as standard.

Powering the new Cadenza is a revised version of the current car’s 3.3 litre direct-injected GDi V6, producing an estimated 290 PS. Certain markets also get a 190 PS 2.4 litre GDI four-pot, as well as a 2.2 litre e-VGT turbodiesel with 202 PS and 441 Nm. The eight-speed automatic transmission is the Kia’s first front-wheel drive-based unit, and is lighter than the previous six-speed gearbox.

Under the skin, the Cadenza’s body is made out of over 50% Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) – almost double the amount on the old car. The side body panels are also stronger and made out of increased tensile steel for improved dent resistance. Together with the increased use of structural adhesive and hot-stamped components, this all means that overall structural rigidity is now up by over 35%, improving driving dynamics.


The chassis is also lighter, thanks to the use of aluminium in areas like the front steering knuckles, while the subframes have been reengineered with larger bushings for increased lateral stiffness and reduced NVH. Meanwhile, Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) maximises ride comfort without sacrificing stability, thanks to an extra damper valve to provide appropriate damping force according to road surface.

Additionally, the dampers also gain a Hydraulic Rebound Stopper (HRS) for a smother ride over harsh or broken roads. Elsewhere the suspension has been retuned for better high-speed stability and handling, and a new 32-bit Electronic Control Unit (ECU) improves steering response and on-centre feel. A range of 18- and 19-inch wheels are available, matched to bigger brakes for reduced stopping distances.

Refinement has also been given a once over, with the new Cadenza gaining acoustic windscreen and front windows for reduced wind noise, increased insulation around the A-pillars and a full floorpan undercover to cut road noise. The latter also improves aerodynamic performance together with front wheel air curtains; overall, the drag coefficient has been dropped from 0.29 Cd to 0.28 Cd.