2017 Kia Cadenza

2017 Kia Cadenza

Episode 3614
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.