It’s no secret that crossover SUVs are gaining popularity at the expense of traditional 4-door sedans, but if the 2017 Kia Cadenza that was recently added to the Kelley Blue Book long-term fleet is any indication, there’s still plenty of life left in the concept of a family-sized sedan. Our Snow White Pearl Cadenza already has proved itself to be good looking, easy to drive and quite accommodating to as many as five.

This front-drive sedan has been completely revamped for 2017 with sharply defined character lines, a classy concave take on Kia’s “tiger nose” grille treatment and a sleek profile that fits neatly between a traditional 3-box sedan and the current fad of so called 4-door coupes. The 2017 Kia Cadenza comes equipped with a 290-horsepower/3.3-liter V6 engine mated to a conventional 8-speed automatic transmission. With its upscale appearance, the Cadenza’s appeal goes beyond your typical family sedans like the Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon to rival slightly more upscale Buick LaCrosse and Acura RLX.

Generous dimensions

Riding on a 112.4-inch wheelbase, the Cadenza measures 195.7 inches overall. The generous wheelbase results in a spacious cabin, particularly in the rear, where passengers will be hard pressed to find their knees anywhere near the backs of the front buckets. Coming in at 73.6 inches wide, both front and rear passengers have plenty of elbow room. The front-drive layout is also responsible for the Cadenza’s open and airy cabin. Up front, the dash is positioned far enough forward to deliver the back seat’s sense of space, a feel further reinforced by the Limited’s standard panoramic sunroof. The dash and controls are state of the art, with a center touchscreen augmented by easy-to-use redundant switches and knobs on the center console and steering wheel. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

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While the Cadenza has plenty of room, it drives more like the midsize Optima than a full-size sedan. The engine has plenty of power and the 8-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth and positive gear changes. The Cadenza is equipped with multiple drive modes including Economy, Sport, Comfort and Smart. While the first three are self-explanatory, the last mode senses vehicle speed and other parameters to deliver the right blend of comfort or sportiness to match the driver’s steering and throttle inputs. The Cadenza isn’t an ultimate driving machine, but it is well-mannered and delivers a comfortable ride that is nicely matched to its mechanicals.

Fully loaded

We know its trim level is called Limited, but when it comes to standard features, the Cadenza is anything but. For $44,390 (plus $900 destination), our test car comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation with an 8-inch screen and Kia’s easy to use UVO connectivity, Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility, quilted Nappa leather seat trim, heated/cooled seating, heated steering wheel, power tilt/telescope steering column and a suite of driver assists including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

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With a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, the 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited has all the bases covered. Already it has been pressed into duty carrying around 5 adults, which it did so with nary a complaint from the rear seat, demonstrating that it can function equally as well as some 2-row crossover SUVs. And it does so in a smart looking package while delivering nearly 23 mpg on average. So far, the Cadenza has demonstrated the kind of capability that will certainly make it a popular member of the KBB long-term fleet.

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