2020 Kia Cadenza

Release Date
Q3 2020
Price Range
Starting around $40,000

What to expect

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

Kia Cadenza years
Kia Cadenza for Sale

2020 Kia Cadenza review
The Struggle for Relevance
What is it?

You'd be forgiven if you forgot the Kia Cadenza — Kia's full-size sedan — still 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.

First off, the 2020 Cadenza lineup is pared down to the Technology and Limited trims. The previous Premium base model has been discontinued. The big sedan also receives a slight exterior update with revised front and rear fascias that incorporate LED lighting. 

More significant changes were saved for the interior, with a redesigned dash that is more horizontally oriented. The dash's width is further accentuated with a new 12.3-inch touchscreen and relocated air vents and climate controls. The new infotainment system will support multiple Bluetooth connections, three additional USB ports and a 10-watt wireless charging pad.

Also new for 2020 is a more complete suite of standard advanced safety features that includes frontal collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic vehicle speed adjustment for curves and posted limits, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, passenger exit warnings and automatic high beams.

The same 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission return for 2020. New subframes and 19-inch resonator wheels aim to reduce interior noise, while retuned dampers should improve the ride quality.

2020 Kia Cadenza - Front Interior
2020 Kia Cadenza
Why does it matter?

We're actually not convinced the Cadenza does matter. Large sedans, especially those with premium aspirations, are waning in popularity, and Kia is better known for affordability than refinement. That perception is changing, especially with last year's introduction of the similarly priced Telluride midsize SUV. In its top trim, the Telluride may rival the Cadenza's cabin and provides a lot more space. There's less incentive than ever for someone who wants a larger vehicle to shell out $40,000 for a sedan.

What does it compete with?

The closest rival to the 2020 Kia Cadenza is the Toyota Avalon, especially when it comes to price. Recently redesigned, the current Avalon is a strong contender in terms of dynamics, efficiency and space. The only other mainstream large sedan that's showing any life is the Dodge Charger — a car with an image, attitude and engine lineup that couldn't make it more different from the tame Cadenza. Otherwise, if you want a premium large sedan, you'll have to opt for a much more expensive luxury car. These include Kia's own K900, the Cadillac CT6, the Lexus LS 500 and the Volvo S90.

Edmunds says

If you're committed to an affordable luxury sedan, the 2020 Kia Cadenza is a fine choice. We like it for its passenger space, long warranty, and long list of standard features. On the downside, the sunroof can cut into headroom, cargo space is limited (plus the rear seats don't fold), and the Cadenza isn't particularly fun to drive. This refresh will improve the Cadenza's value proposition, but it doesn't look like it will solve any of the current car's problems.