2017 Kia Cadenza
The Kia cadenza is a car that always seems to get lost in the shuffle of Kia sedans. It just sits waiting to be dealt to more buyers. Now, those willing to take a gamble on a less familiar name have been coming out winners by paying a little and getting a lot. Well now, Kia is hoping an all-new Cadenza will tilt the odds even more towards a winning streak.
The full-size Kia Cadenza sedan arrived at mid-cycle when it debuted here for 2014. So this 2017 Cadenza is all-new after just 3-years on the market.
When it originally went on sale here, it was Kia’s flagship, and we felt it was worthy of the title. But, being a flagship, limited sales were to be expected. Well, now that the K900 is Kia’s top car, it’s time for the Cadenza to boost sales and be a viable member of their 4-door portfolio.
There are three Cadenza models; Premium, Technology, and SX Limited; all getting distinctive exterior touches, and all looking more luxurious than before.
Apparently this road test was brought to you by the letter Z, as you’ll see hints of the letter throughout the car; particularly in head and tail lighting.
New safety features include automatic braking, which we found to be one of the best systems yet, with quick stops every time; and next-level Blind Spot Monitoring that applies the brakes to keep you from merging into someone.
The Cadenza is still front-wheel-drive only, so essentially it’s a bigger Optima. But it’s standard 3.3-liter V6 is a worthy step up, though we still consider it right about adequate. And, power numbers are actually down slightly from last year to 290-horsepower and 253 lb-ft. of torque.
But, there’s a new 8-speed automatic transmission that makes up for it. We found it silky smooth, but with a definite priority on luxury feel over performance. Gears are selected with a traditional console-mounted shifter.
Ride quality is compliant, more mid-size sedan than full-size luxury; comfortable and quiet with just enough tightness for a hint of a sporty edge. Similar in feel to the new Buick LaCrosse, and every bit as quiet inside as well.
At our test track, after spinning up the tires at launch; it took us 3-tenths longer to get to 60 miles-per-hour than back in ’14, at 7.3-seconds.
The new 8-speed does indeed make up the difference down the track however, as we finished the ¼-mile in the exact same 15.5-seconds at 94 miles-per-hour.
Power delivery is also smooth, and all is very quiet inside even at wide open throttle. In total, it’s a rather posh experience.
And despite a short 118-foot average stopping distance from 60, it remained very calm feeling in panic braking situations as well; with firm and smooth pedal travel, to go with the consistent fade free stops.
And it continued to impress us on our cone course; with nice, flat handling and much more grip through here than expected. It doesn’t pretend to be a sports car, it just has very good balance and manageable amounts of understeer.
Steering was very quick, with good weight and even plenty of feedback.
As you might guess, things are quite luxurious inside, looking fully on par with Lexus and the like. We like the dash layout with clear gauges, and two neatly stacked pods of climate and audio controls. There are also interior features you might not expect like extending seat cushions and self-regulating seat heaters.
There’s a little more legroom in the fixed rear seat than previous gen, thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase; but the sloping roofline causes some headroom tightness for taller passengers.
The trunk too is a little tight for its class at 16 cubic feet. But, there is still an armrest pass through for long items.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-City, 28-Highway, and 23-Combined on Regular grade. For an average Energy Impact Score; with 14.3-barrels of yearly oil use, along with 6.3-tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing for the Cadenza starts at $32,890, with top Limited trim coming in at $45,290.
So, with the 2017 Kia Cadenza no longer being a brand showcase, it must establish itself as a true alternative to other full-sizers like the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus; as well as play the premium role against the Buick LaCrosse and Toyota Avalon. That’s a tall order, especially as more and more large sedan buyers are jumping into crossovers. Still, the Cadenza represents an excellent step up from the mid-size Optima. It’s one, big, well executed four-door that should be another Kia winning hand.
- Engine: 3.3 liter
- Horsepower: 290
- Torque: 253 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.3 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.5 seconds @ 94 mph
- EPA: 20 mpg city / 28 mpg highway,
- Energy Impact: 14.3 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.3 tons/yr
2023 GMC Canyon
Canyon Goes Bigger
Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!
Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.
Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.
The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.
At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.
And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.
But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.
Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.
The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.
Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.
So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!
- Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 310
- 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed auto
- Torque: 430 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
- EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined