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 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined