Behaving Like an Old, Large American Luxury Sedan
We Like: Its limo-large rear seat and upscale cockpit.
We Don’t Like: The geriatric ploughman dynamics exacerbated by stability nannies.
We drove this car back to back with its direct competitor, the Buick LaCrosse, and most of us preferred the Kia. Ed Loh found the diamond-quilted leather interior “much more premium than the LaCrosse’s.” Kim Reynolds gushed, “It’s solid and refined, well-engineered. It really puts the Buick on a transporter back to Michigan (or wherever).” Angus MacKenzie found it “smoother and more refined,” adding that its “engine is more responsive and its transmission shifts quicker than the snoozy Buick’s. When better Buicks are built, Kia will build them.” If that was its intended function, Kia nailed it.
But is Buick the best target? Loh said that Kia should have tried to “out-Avalon Toyota.” It fails in that mission, lacking the (2013 COTY finalist) Avalon’s crisp driving dynamics. Instead, the Kia behaves more “like an old, large American luxury sedan, not like a quiet, smooth, yet surprisingly quick modern Avalon.”
The purpose of the Smart driving mode baffled us. It didn’t cinch up its suspenders when attacking our winding track, (prompting Mark Rechtin to quip, “Dynamically, this thing plows like an F-350 with a snow blade”), nor did it add plushness when traversing the special surfaces bumps, disappointing Scott Evans when it failed to deliver “the magic carpet ride I had predicted.”
In other criteria, design guru Tom Gale found some of the bodylines to be working against each other, alternately slimming and adding visual bulk to the form. And despite upgrading from six gear ratios to eight, fuel efficiency still trails in its segment.
Hence, no calipers.
2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contenders
- Buick LaCrosse
- Chevrolet Cruze
- Chevrolet Volt
- Fiat 124 Spider
- Ford Focus RS
- Honda Accord
- Hyundai Elantra
- Jaguar XF
- Kia Forte
- Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe 4Matic
- Mercedes-Benz E300
- Mini Clubman
- Toyota Prius Two Eco
|2017 Kia Cadenza SXL|
|BASE PRICE||$45,000 (est)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$45,000 (est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.3L/290-hp/253-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,794 lb (59/41%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||195.7 x 73.6 x 57.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.5 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.8 sec @ 95.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||120 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.79 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.6 sec @ 0.63 g (avg)|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||19.3/27.9/22.4 mpg|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||20/28/23 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||169/120 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.85 lb/mile|