Offering bolder style, greater substance and enhanced safety while promising a far more dynamic driving experience, the 2017 Kia Cadenza made its debut in New York. Penned at Kia’s California design studio, this all-new version of the automaker’s full-size luxury sedan steps up its game on every level. “The new Cadenza adds an extra dose of excitement to the large-car segment with its striking, aggressively handsome looks and premium refinements,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, Kia Motors America.  “Everything you see and touch in the Cadenza’s cabin has been improved, but it’s underneath where the Cadenza truly shines.”

Sharper styling

The new Cadenza has a more expressive, elegant exterior. While the length is unchanged, this new iteration is lower and wider with a slightly longer wheelbase and an extended roofline, changes that improve both the proportions and the packaging. A new underbody fairing and front air curtains also have been added which help lower the Cadenza’s coefficient of drag from 0.29 to 0.28. The recast front end on this flagship 4-door, while maintaining Kia’s signature “tiger nose” grille, reflects a new, more concave surface and for the first time will feature two different insert elements. The base Cadenza will carry on with the “Diamond Butterfly” mesh found on several other current Kia models while the Premium and Limited trims feature a new “Intaglio” vertical bar motif. The new LED-infused lighting units feature “Z-link” accent elements that will give the car more road presence which is set off by 18-inch or 19-inch alloy wheels and the tasteful use of brightwork accents.

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The upgrades extend into the core of the 2017 Cadenza, which is has a structure over 35 percent stiffer yet lighter thanks to more high-strength steel and aluminum. Even the side body panels feature tougher steel to make them more dent-resistant. The Cadenza’s chassis benefits from a similar stronger/lighter/better rethink which dovetails with the retuned suspension that features new Amplitude Selective Damping shocks and hydraulic rebound stoppers that smooth initial response and impact jolts. The Cadenza also has a new, more precise electrically assisted power steering setup with better on-center feel. The brakes have been upgraded to help trim stopping distances.

Greater refinement

Inside, the 2017 Cadenza adds more upscale character to the already quite engaging, leather-lined cabin. A wraparound dash opens up the visual space while new soft touch surfaces add more tactile appeal. The driver’s seat has been redesigned and repositioned for added comfort and support and the warming elements have been modified to distribute heat more uniformly and now have smart controllers that automatically decrease intensity after a given period of time. Greater attention to noise attenuation includes use of acoustic windshield and side-window glass plus more sound-absorption material around the cabin and under the floor. The 2017 models also will offer a new dark brown color as well an upgraded version of the existing White Package.

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The 2017 Cadenza gets a boost on the technology front as well, offering more comfort/convenience features that include a Head-Up display, updated Surround View Monitor, Smart Trunk hands-free opener, wireless smartphone charging and the latest generation of Kia’s UVO telematics which supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Infinity audio system can be upgraded with a new Harman/Kardon package with Clari-Fi music restoration technology.

Enhanced safety

Kia also notes the 2017 Cadenza will be the first vehicle sold in the U.S. under its new Drive Wise sub-brand. It will offer Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning. Kia’s Smart Blind Spot Detection System automatically senses if the car is drifting toward another vehicle and apply the brakes on the opposite side to help the car stay in lane.

While the 2017 Cadenza will again be fitted with Kia’s 3.3-liter direct-injected V6 that’s expected to send about 290 horsepower to the front wheels, the engine has been retuned to deliver improved economy. The existing 6-speed automatic is supplanted by a more efficient 8-speed transmission that’s smaller, lighter and more responsive. The 2017 Kia Cadenza arrives late this year, while EPA stats and pricing will be released closer to its on-sale date.

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