2019 Kia Cadenza Review

Pros & Cons

  • Well-equipped for the price, especially in the base Premium trim
  • Vast amount of legroom allows all 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
  • Trunk is smaller than rivals, and rear seats don't fold down
  • From acceleration to handling, the Cadenza isn't much fun to drive
Other years
List Price
$28,991

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Which Cadenza does Edmunds recommend?

The Cadenza comes loaded with great features right out of the gate, but we think it's worth paying extra for the Technology trim. It's the midgrade trim and it adds several desirable upgrades, including a premium audio system and a host of driver aids. Tall drivers might want to stick with the base Premium, however, because it doesn't have the headroom-reducing panoramic sunroof.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.5 / 10

It's no secret that car shoppers aren't buying large sedans like they used to. Recognizing the downward trend, automakers are ending production of their models or keeping them on life support. There are, however, a few standouts that make a good case for buying a spacious four-door. The 2019 Kia Cadenza might not be the most recognizable name in the class, but it is easily one of the best.

Sedans in this category prioritize passenger comfort above all else, and in this respect, the Cadenza shines. The interior is trimmed with high-quality materials, including seats with partially quilted leather. The overall design is modern and high-tech, and the button placement and user interface remain intuitive for first-timers. You also get plenty of features for the money, with a number of safety systems and creature comforts standard on the base model.

There are a few downsides. The Cadenza comes up a little short on headroom for this class of car, and its lackluster V6 engine and handling abilities mute any sense of driver excitement. But considering its other positive qualities, and the dearth of competition, the 2019 Kia Cadenza is a must-consider if you're in the market for a large sedan.

2019 Kia Cadenza models

The 2019 Kia Cadenza is a large sedan that offers plenty of room for all its occupants. Even in its base Premium form, the Cadenza is well-equipped for what we think is a very reasonable price. The Technology model adds even more luxury features, while the top-trim Limited just might fool your passengers into thinking they're riding in a Lexus. There's one powertrain available: a 3.3-liter V6 (290 horsepower, 253 pound-feet of torque) that's matched to an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive.

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The base Premium trim is loaded with features, including 18-inch wheels, foglights, heated and power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps, hands-free trunk opening, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable and heated front seats (with driver two-way lumbar adjustment), a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and an eight-speaker audio system with satellite radio, two USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Standard safety features include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.

The Technology model further adds 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and foglights, automatic high-beam control, a different grille, a panoramic sunroof, LED cabin lighting, a heated steering wheel, a wireless charging pad, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, and an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation and HD radio. Also included are adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping assist system, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

At the top of the range is the Limited trim, which has all of the above, plus unique wheels, automatic wipers with a de-icing function, a power-operated trunklid, a power-adjustable steering wheel with paddle shifters, a head-up display, an upgraded driver information screen, upgraded cabin trim, upgraded leather upholstery, a 10-way driver seat (with four-way lumbar adjustment), two-way lumbar adjustment for the front passenger, driver-seat memory functions, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, side rear sunshades, a power rear sunshade, a 360-degree parking camera, and lane departure warning.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Kia Cadenza Limited (3.3-liter V6 | 8-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2017, the current Cadenza has received some revisions, including slight shuffling to its trim feature content. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Cadenza, however.

Driving

7.5
Under the Cadenza's hood is a familiar 3.3-liter V6 engine, carried over from the previous generation but slightly less powerful. The new eight-speed transmission is fuel economy-focused and isn't as refined as some rivals. Like most in the segment, the Cadenza is not particularly fun to drive.

Acceleration

6.0
Acceleration from a stop is gradual in every driver mode but Sport. Passing maneuvers require a heavy foot because the transmission is reluctant to downshift and takes a moment even at full throttle. We recorded a 0-60 mph sprint time of 6.8 seconds, a few ticks slower than average for the class.

Braking

9.0
The brake pedal is easy to engage, with very mild braking pressure occurring as soon as you put your foot down. It's also easy to modulate, with predictable increasing effort. In Edmunds testing, a Cadenza Limited came to a stop from 60 mph in 115 feet, shorter than average for a large sedan.

Steering

7.0
The steering effort is light in the normal Comfort driving mode, firming up slightly with Sport selected. The steering wheel requires a fair amount of rotation to navigate in turns, and back-to-back transitions get tiring quickly. Steering feel is mostly numb.

Handling

6.5
Large sedans optimize comfort over athletic ability, and the Cadenza is no exception. A healthy amount of body lean will have you resting on the seat's leg and side bolsters anytime you drive through a corner with some enthusiasm. Midcorner bumps don't affect the Cadenza at all.

Drivability

7.5
The transmission is smart enough to hold a low gear up steep grades, even in the gas-friendly Eco mode. In the normal Comfort setting, the Cadenza gets into high gears quickly. There's a noticeable lag when leaving from a stop; the engine gets louder, but you don't move until a moment later.

Comfort

8.0
The Cadenza is a comfort-focused sedan, and it performs its primary function well. We like the hushed cabin at high speeds and the car's effective climate controls. But the ride is less refined than in some rivals, and the front seats aren't great for road trips.

Seat comfort

7.5
The seats are initially comfortable, with plenty of cushion and soft leather. Even without the ventilation function, the seats feel breathable. They are best suited for short trips because thigh support isn't great; long-distance driving required multiple adjustments to alleviate driver fatigue.

Ride comfort

7.0
The comfort-tuned suspension glides over most rough road surfaces, but dips in the asphalt cause the body to lean and rock to the side more than in other large sedans. Impacts are better controlled and much less noticeable than in the previous Cadenza.

Noise & vibration

8.0
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 groan at low speeds. Vibration at idle is nonexistent to the point that you might think there's an engine stop-start system.

Climate control

9.0
Heated front seats are standard on all Cadenzas, with the midtier Technology trim adding a heated steering wheel. Ventilated front seats and heated rears come only on the Limited. All seats get nice and hot, and the cooling effect is greater than in many rivals. Rear air vents keep passengers happy.

Interior

8.0
The cabin of the Cadenza can only be described as expansive. There's plenty of room for front and rear passengers. Even when the Easy Entry feature scoots the seat back, the driver won't hit the knees of the occupant behind. The quality of materials is particularly impressive.

Ease of use

8.0
All buttons and knobs on the center stack are within arm's reach of the driver and the front passenger. But the touchscreen is a little far away. Either front occupant will have to lean forward slightly to press the virtual buttons accurately.

Getting in/getting out

9.0
The wide doors, tall door openings, narrow side sills and unobtrusive seat bolsters make it easy to get into and out of the front seats. A gently sloping roofline facilitates access in and out of the back row.

Driving position

8.0
The driver's seat offers a number of adjustments, including four-way lumbar and an extendable thigh bolster. The power steering wheel telescopes out pretty far, making it easy for tall drivers to find a comfortable position. It's also easy to see over the low hood.

Roominess

7.0
The Cadenza's large interior provides ample room all around for most occupants. Legroom is generous, allowing 6-foot adults to sit behind each other without knees hitting the seatback. Only very tall passengers in a sunroof-equipped Cadenza will brush up against the headliner.

Visibility

9.0
The tall, wide front windows promote excellent forward and side visibility. The rear roof pillars are thick, but the associated small windows help reduce the blind spots. The rear window is generously sized, so it's easy to see out the back.

Quality

8.5
The Cadenza Limited's materials quality seems appropriate given its price tag. Quilted seat bolsters are an unexpected touch in this class, and thoughtful details such as a padded driver knee rest are appreciated. The glossy piano black and wood trim do not reflect glaring sunlight.

Utility

7.5
You'll find many places to store small items, including a deep glove compartment and a pocket in each door. The trunk is large overall compared to those of most sedans, though it is slightly smaller than some in its class. The rear seat doesn't fold to expand the cargo area.

Small-item storage

8.0
Front-seat occupants get a cubby beneath the center stack and a bin under the armrest to store small items. There's not much storage in the rear, aside from the seatback map pockets. All doors have a cutout with room for a small water bottle. Four normally sized cupholders are split between front and rear.

Cargo space

6.0
The cargo load floor is large and mostly flat, aside from a slight hump in the middle to provide room for the spare tire jack underneath. The cargo area measures 16 cubic feet, average for the segment but less than in the Impala and the Taurus. There is a ski pass-through, but the rear seats don't fold.

Child safety seat accommodation

8.5
Four lower LATCH anchors are hidden beneath plastic covers on the outboard seats that fold down under pressure but cannot be removed. Three upper anchors are located on the rear shelf and are also concealed under covers. All are easy to access.

Technology

7.5
The Cadenza offers the latest tech features, including adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera and Apple CarPlay. Execution is lacking, mostly due to the infotainment system's menu structure and the wonky logic of driver aids. Navigation doesn't use predictive city and street names.

Audio & navigation

8.5
The 12-speaker Harman Kardon system sounds awesome, with a wide volume range and a surround-sound effect that makes instruments and voices sound closer to the listener. We wish more than just treble, bass and mid were adjustable. Slow responses make the nav system a bit difficult to operate.

Smartphone integration

7.5
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come on every Cadenza, while the Technology and Limited trims add a wireless phone charging pad under the center stack. Apple CarPlay is unusually difficult to find in the touchscreen menus. There's one USB port in front and another behind the center console.

Driver aids

7.0
The adaptive cruise control accurately maintains the correct speed, even on downhill grades. 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, triggering an alarm with little provocation.

Voice control

7.0
Kia's voice recognition software could use some work because the navigation system is easily confused by numbered streets (e.g., "5th Street") and north-south-east-west descriptors. The phone book recognition is better. Siri Eyes Free is available if an iPhone is connected.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.5 / 10
Driving7.5
Comfort8.0
Interior8.0
Utility7.5
Technology7.5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2019 Kia Cadenza.

Most helpful consumer reviews

I thought this was my last car!
Tamie,08/01/2020
Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A)
I bought my cadenza, loving it. But my phone never worked, we tried so many things from the day I bought it , they told me finally it was my phone, it was in the shop so many times my job is me on my phone all day in my car so hands free was very important to me in any vehicle drive. That is and was a requirement to me. I work in the Healthcare field. Finally, the manager told me it was the car, that several cadenza had issues in the hands-free they are and were aware of the problem but kia was not willing to fix the problem. Not till someone gets hurt, and they are forced to fix it. At the time we had 2 vehicles from kia. We returned one, I've sold the other. I would NEVER buy a vehicle from someone who does NOT stand behind their product.

Safety

Our experts like the Cadenza models:

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.
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2019 Kia Cadenza

Used 2019 Kia Cadenza Overview

The Used 2019 Kia Cadenza is offered in the following submodels: Cadenza Sedan. Available styles include Technology 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A), Premium 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A), and Limited 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 8A).

What's a good price on a Used 2019 Kia Cadenza?

Price comparisons for Used 2019 Kia Cadenza trim styles:

  • The Used 2019 Kia Cadenza Technology is priced between $28,991 and$28,991 with odometer readings between 16844 and16844 miles.

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Which used 2019 Kia Cadenzas are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2019 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.

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