2020 Kia Cadenza

MSRP range: $37,850 - $43,550
Edmunds suggests you pay$35,644

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2020 Kia Cadenza Review

  • Well equipped for the price
  • Abundant legroom allows passengers to stretch out
  • Generous warranty coverage
  • Lots of available advanced safety features
  • Headroom, especially with a sunroof, is a bit tight for tall occupants
  • The ride isn't as composed as that of segment leaders
  • Smaller trunk than rivals and rear seats don't fold down
  • From acceleration to handling, the Cadenza isn't much fun to drive
  • Base-level Premium trim has been discontinued
  • Exterior and interior styling refresh
  • New or updated technology and safety features
  • Part of the second Cadenza generation introduced for 2017

You'd be forgiven if you forgot the Kia Cadenza — Kia's full-size sedan — exists. Among premium vehicles, sedans have been losing ground against SUVs and, let's face it, Kia isn't a name synonymous with luxury. The automaker's hoping the 2020 Kia Cadenza changes that perception with fresh styling and new features.

Along with a minor exterior face-lift, the 2020 Cadenza has an updated interior with a standard 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, a redesigned instrument panel, and more intuitive placement of audio and climate controls. Kia says it has also improved the adaptive cruise control system and added automatic emergency braking functionality to the rear cross-traffic alert system.

The Cadenza's stiffest competition comes from the Toyota Avalon. The big Toyota offers a smoother, more powerful V6 engine as well as more refined ride and handling over a variety of roads. But Kia counters with excellent warranty coverage and less controversial styling, both of which are attractive attributes to the traditional sedan buyer.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team
The Kia Cadenza provides near-luxury cabin materials, the latest technology features and an emphasis on passenger comfort. It's not terribly exciting, but the Cadenza's spacious interior and all-around competence make it easy to live with day to day. A long warranty gives extra peace of mind for long-term ownership.
Acceleration from a stop is pretty gradual. Passing maneuvers require a heavy foot since the transmission is reluctant to downshift and takes a moment even at full throttle. In Edmunds testing, we recorded a 0-60 mph sprint time of 6.8 seconds, which is a few ticks slower than average for the class.

The braking performance is a little better. Our Cadenza Limited test car came to a stop from 60 mph in 115 feet, shorter than average for a large sedan. Around turns, you'll feel a lot of body lean. There's very little sport in this car's DNA. Midcorner bumps, however, don't affect the Cadenza at all.
The Cadenza is a comfort-focused big sedan. But it has a less refined ride quality than some rivals, and the front seats aren't great for road trips since they lack adequate thigh support. The climate control system, though, is strong and has a variety of temperature control functions.

The cabin is quiet enough that you never need to raise your voice to talk. Wind and tire noise is noticeable but not overpowering, and you will hear the engine's unimpressive groan at low speeds. Vibration at idle is nonexistent to the point that you might think there's an engine stop-start system.
There's plenty of room for front and rear passengers. Wide doors, a tall door opening, narrow door sills and unobtrusive seat bolsters make it easy to get in and out of the front seats. A gently sloping roofline makes for similarly easy entry and exit for the back row.

The Cadenza's big windows promote excellent visibility to the front and sides. The thick rear roof pillars block your view out back somewhat, but the wide rear window compensates enough that it's pretty easy to see out of the back.
The Cadenza offers the latest tech features, including adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. We also like the optional 12-speaker Harman Kardon system. It sounds awesome, with a wide volume range and a surround-sound effect that makes instruments and voices sound closer to the listener.

The adaptive cruise control keeps your set speed well. Unfortunately, it's slow to reapply acceleration if the car in front of you has turned or changed lanes. Lane departure warning is too sensitive and triggers alarms with little provocation.
The cargo load floor is large and mostly flat. The cargo area measures 16 cubic feet, which is a little underwhelming for a big sedan. There is a pass-through, but the rear seats don't fold. Front-seat occupants get a cubby beneath the center stack and a bin under the armrest to store small items. There's not much in the rear aside from the seatback map pockets. There are four typical-size cupholders split between the front and rear, plus a small bottle holder in each door.
EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway) for the Cadenza. This is a couple mpg below what you'll get from a Toyota Avalon. We confirmed the EPA's estimates with our test Cadenza, which averaged 26.6 mpg on our 115-mile highway-heavy test route.
Kia boasts an exceptional warranty, and the Cadenza surpasses its all non-luxury rivals in interior materials. Quilted seat bolsters are an unexpected touch in this class, and thoughtful touches such as a padded driver's knee rest are appreciated. But we're not convinced that the Cadenza is well-rounded enough to justify its cost.
The Cadenza is a quietly competent large sedan that generates few complaints and inspires even less enthusiasm. It's fine in most regards, but that's about it. Joining the Witness Protection Program and need something to disappear in? The Cadenza is your car.

Which Cadenza does Edmunds recommend?

We'd put our money on the top-of-the-line Limited. We think the upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, ventilated seats and surround-view camera system add a hefty dose of luxury and are worth the extra money.

Kia Cadenza models

For 2020, the Kia Cadenza is offered in only two trim levels: Technology and Limited. Both are powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine (290 horsepower, 253 lb-ft) mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All Cadenzas are front-wheel-drive. Highlight features include:

Comes well equipped with:

  • 18-inch wheels
  • LED headlights
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Leather seating
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Heated front seats
  • 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Keyless entry with push-button start

The Cadenza also comes with these safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control (adjusts speed to maintain a constant distance between the vehicle and the car in front)
  • Rear automatic braking (brakes if sensors detect an imminent collision with an object behind the vehicle)
  • Automatic emergency braking (warns if a front impact is imminent and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't respond in time)
  • Blind-spot monitor (alerts you if a vehicle in the next lane over is in your blind spot)
  • Rear automatic braking (brakes if sensors detect an imminent collision with an object behind the vehicle)

Includes additional features, such as:

  • 19-inch wheels
  • Heated windshield wipers
  • Power-adjustable steering wheel
  • Upgraded leather seating surfaces
  • Driver-seat memory settings
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Heated outboard rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system
  • 360-degree camera system (gives you a top-down view of the Cadenza and its surroundings for tight parking situations)
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Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2020 Kia Cadenza.

Average user rating: 5.0 stars
2 total reviews
5 star reviews: 100%
4 star reviews: 0%
3 star reviews: 0%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 0%

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    Most helpful consumer reviews

    5/5 stars, My Second Cadenza
    Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A)
    I just leased a 2020 Kia Cadenza Limited at the end of a lease on a 2017 Cadenza Premium with the luxury option package that added the panoramic roof, Harman Kardon stereo, and other safety features. My experience was good enough to come back for more. Good features: The spacious cabin has lots of rear seat leg room. The ride is comfortable and fairly quiet. My gas mileage on the 2017 averaged almost 25 mpg in my combined highway/city driving. On longer road trips with open roads, it easily averaged up to 33-35 mpg. Perhaps not the greatest mileage, but for a car of this size I was very pleased. I really like the panoramic roof - in fact, the reason I looked at the Cadenza in 2017 was because the other car I considered didn't offer it that year. The interior quality is overall good - nice look and feel. In my years with the 2017, there was only one service issue, a sensor caused the check engine light to come on and was replaced, and there were a couple of recalls - overall a very reliable vehicle. I hope I have the same experience with the 2020. Not so good: Drivers seat in the 2017 could have used a bit more padding, but with the power adjustments, it wasn't unbearable. I believe the 2020 is more comfortable - especially since I opted for the more luxurious Limited model. It's not the most engaging vehicle to drive, but it will get there in relative comfort and safety. Selecting the sport mode adds a little more pizzazz to the drive, but also costs in terms of fuel economy. The rear seatbacks don't fold down, there is a passthrough in the center, but that may be a problem for some people. The trunk is pretty good size, but there are times I wished the seats folded. Overall, the Cadenza is an underrated near luxury vehicle. I have driven some higher end brands, and for my money, I like the Cadenza. I don't need the brand cachet of "certain" brands, and make no apologies for driving a Kia. I have had overall good sales/service/ownership experiences with Kia. The Technology model is well equipped and I think it's a good value - I couldn't get the color I wanted in the Technology, thus went for the Limited this time. If you're looking for a comfortable, safe larger near luxury vehicle, the Cadenza is perhaps worth a look. There are vehicles with more pizzazz but it delivers comfort, reliability and safety at a fair price. 6 Month UPDATE: I'm still happy with the Cadenza. The improvements of 2020 over my 2017 make the car even more of a pleasure to drive. I'm a little disappointed with performance, but it has plenty of power for most driving situations. The large sedan segment is not popular right now and the Cadenza has never gained much traction in the American market, thus won't be back in 2021.Yes, it could do what it does a bit better, but overall it's a solid choice for a vehicle of its size and features.
    5/5 stars, Amazing Car
    Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A)
    This is my 4th Hyundai/Kia product but my first ever new vehicle. Overall I am very impressed, material quality is excellent and very feature rich. If you are wanting a car that is comfortable AND SPORTY, this is NOT the car for you, look at a Stinger instead. This car was designed and built for comfort. There is considerable body roll and the suspension is plush. Not bad things at all but some may find it as a surprise. I do have a couple gripes, mainly features they took away and or left out from last years model and the Korean Spec K7 Premier as it’s called over there. On the SXL 2019 there were a few things that were standard that have been dropped from this model. 1. Auto dimming side mirrors 2. Power open/close trunk 3. LED Fog lamps The Korean spec has a lot nicer equipment as standard. I know why they do it, but come on! We like all those touches too even if its in a smaller package! Features left off of the US spec Cadenza: 1. LED front turn signals 2. Full digital instrument cluster 3. Quilted door panel inserts 4. Front parking sensors 5. Power rear window sunshade 6. Manual rear door window sunshades All aside, I would highly recommend this car. Unparalleled value and literally the worlds best warranty. Cannot wait to get my hands on the new Sorento!

    2020 Kia Cadenza video

    JOSH SADLIER: This is Josh Sadlier for Edmunds. And if you're looking for a premium full-size sedan, you've got to see what Kia has to offer. [MUSIC PLAYING] Here we are with the 2017 Kia Cadenza, which is a full size front wheel drive near luxury sedan. This is an all new generation, has a 3.3 liter V6, which will sound familiar because it's the same as the previous generation. Similar power too, around 290 horsepower. Kia reckons that the car itself is going to be significantly lighter, thanks to a new underlying platform using lightweight materials. So we expect better fuel economy and also better performance. And another aid there will be the eight speed automatic transmission replacing the six speed, giving you better fuel economy and performance in theory. [MUSIC PLAYING] One distinctive feature of this Cadenza on the outside is that grill. And if you're wondering, it doesn't come on every Cadenza, only the top models will get it. There will be a standard Kia grill on the lower models, but we do like the echoes of Maserati, or perhaps less politely, Lincoln. Let's take a look inside the 2017 Cadenza. You see some quilted leather upholstery that's reminiscent of the new Optima. And that is a question for people considering this car, whether it's worth paying more for the Cadenza versus the similarly-sized Optima. And frankly, it's a pretty big car now. You see some typical Kia gauges here, plenty of room in the middle for an LCD display of some sort, maybe TFT. And there is typical Kia infotainment in the middle as well. So nothing really groundbreaking here, but Kia does do a good job with the infotainment screens and typical connectivity options, USB port, AUX jack. There's your eight speed automatic transmission lever. And down in here, typical power point. There's that quilted leather upholstery again, so again, don't expect to see that on every Cadenza model. It'll be a top line option, no doubt. In the back of the 2017 Cadenza, it's hard to avoid comparisons again to the Optima, which is a pretty large car these days. And it's not clear to us at this point whether the Cadenza offers a whole lot of added value in terms of rear seat space. But either way, you can certainly expect adult size room in both outboard positions, and maybe even the middle. Looking around the interior, you can see that the Cadenza has a restrained sense of luxury. This is an aspirational car for Kia, hoping to get some sales away from luminaries like Acura and Lexus. And when you throw in rear seat heating vents and that diamond quilted upholstery, you think maybe they could just pull it off. Kia is hoping that the Acura TLX and the Lexus ES will feel the heat from this new Cadenza, but more realistically, we expect it to compete with the Toyota Avalon, the Buick Lacrosse, the Chevy Impala, and other full size front wheel drive sedans with luxury aspirations. For more on the Cadenza and its rivals, go to edmunds.com.

    2017 Kia Cadenza Review

    NOTE: This video is about the 2017 Kia Cadenza, but since the 2020 Kia Cadenza is part of the same generation, our earlier analysis still applies.

    Edmunds' Josh Sadlier takes you on a walk around Kia's latest full-size sedan, the 2017 Cadenza. He goes over specs, design, the interior and more.

    Features & Specs

    Base MSRP
    MPG & Fuel
    20 City / 28 Hwy / 23 Combined
    Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal. capacity
    5 seats
    Type: front wheel drive
    Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
    V6 cylinder
    Horsepower: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm
    Torque: 253 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
    Basic Warranty
    5 yr./ 60000 mi.
    Length: 195.7 in. / Height: 57.9 in. / Width: 73.6 in.
    Curb Weight: N/A
    Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 16.0 cu.ft.
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    Our experts’ favorite Cadenza safety features:

    Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
    Automatically applies the brakes if a front collision with a vehicle or a pedestrian is deemed imminent.
    Blind-Spot Collision Warning
    Detects whether a vehicle is in the left- or right-side blind spot and sounds an alert if the turn signal is engaged in that direction.
    Parking Distance Warning-Reverse
    Sounds an alert as the Cadenza approaches an object while reversing.

    Kia Cadenza vs. the competition

    2020 Kia Cadenza

    2020 Kia Cadenza

    2020 Toyota Avalon

    2020 Toyota Avalon

    Kia Cadenza vs. Toyota Avalon

    With a comfortable and quiet cabin and a wealth of standard safety features, the Avalon leads our large sedan rankings. The big Toyota's V6 engine is a marvel of smooth, powerful propulsion, and unlike the Cadenza, the Avalon does all right for itself down a twisty road. The Kia counters with a bigger infotainment screen and more standard features.

    Compare Kia Cadenza & Toyota Avalon features 

    Kia Cadenza vs. Nissan Maxima

    If you remember the Maxima as a four-door sports car, you should probably reacquaint yourself with Nissan's venerable sedan. Even though the Maxima still offers decent handling, it's now better at comfortable commuting than anything else. The less-than-spacious rear seat is a letdown in a car this size, as is the smaller-than-average trunk.

    Compare Kia Cadenza & Nissan Maxima features 

    Kia Cadenza vs. Volkswagen Arteon

    If you'd like a little more style than the Cadenza without sacrificing interior space or cargo capacity, Volkswagen's Arteon is definitely worth a look. With an impressive array of tech and luxury features, the Arteon has a fairly sophisticated interior. But its elevated road noise and use of some low-budget interior plastic spoil the near-luxury experience.

    Compare Kia Cadenza & Volkswagen Arteon features 


    Is the Kia Cadenza a good car?

    The Edmunds experts tested the 2020 Cadenza both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.5 out of 10. You probably care about Kia Cadenza fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Cadenza gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the Cadenza has 16.0 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Kia Cadenza. Learn more

    What's new in the 2020 Kia Cadenza?

    According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Kia Cadenza:

    • Base-level Premium trim has been discontinued
    • Exterior and interior styling refresh
    • New or updated technology and safety features
    • Part of the second Cadenza generation introduced for 2017
    Learn more

    Is the Kia Cadenza reliable?

    To determine whether the Kia Cadenza is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Cadenza. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Cadenza's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

    Is the 2020 Kia Cadenza a good car?

    There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2020 Kia Cadenza is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2020 Cadenza and gave it a 7.5 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2020 Cadenza is a good car for you. Learn more

    How much should I pay for a 2020 Kia Cadenza?

    The least-expensive 2020 Kia Cadenza is the 2020 Kia Cadenza Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $37,850.

    Other versions include:

    • Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) which starts at $37,850
    • Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) which starts at $43,550
    Learn more

    What are the different models of Kia Cadenza?

    If you're interested in the Kia Cadenza, the next question is, which Cadenza model is right for you? Cadenza variants include Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A), and Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A). For a full list of Cadenza models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 2020 Kia Cadenza

    2020 Kia Cadenza Overview

    The 2020 Kia Cadenza is offered in the following submodels: Cadenza Sedan. Available styles include Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A), and Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A).

    What do people think of the 2020 Kia Cadenza?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2020 Kia Cadenza and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2020 Cadenza 5.0 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2020 Cadenza.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2020 Kia Cadenza and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2020 Cadenza featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

    Our Review Process

    This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

    We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

    What's a good price for a New 2020 Kia Cadenza?

    2020 Kia Cadenza Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A)

    The 2020 Kia Cadenza Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $38,885. The average price paid for a new 2020 Kia Cadenza Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) is trending $3,241 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $3,241 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $35,644.

    The average savings for the 2020 Kia Cadenza Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) is 8.3% below the MSRP.

    2020 Kia Cadenza Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A)

    The 2020 Kia Cadenza Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $44,955. The average price paid for a new 2020 Kia Cadenza Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) is trending $3,760 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $3,760 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $41,195.

    The average savings for the 2020 Kia Cadenza Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A) is 8.4% below the MSRP.

    Which 2020 Kia Cadenzas are available in my area?

    Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2020 Kia Cadenza for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2020 Kia Cadenza.

    Can't find a new 2020 Kia Cadenzas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Kia for sale - 6 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $24,364.

    Why trust Edmunds?

    Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

    Should I lease or buy a 2020 Kia Cadenza?

    Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

    Check out Kia lease specials