Facelifted 2020 Kia Cadenza Looks More Upscale, Drops Base Trim

  • Kia’s near-luxury Cadenza receives a facelift for 2020 that includes styling and equipment updates.
  • A new grille, hood, bumpers, and dashboard design give the full-size sedan a fresh appearance inside and out.
  • A large 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system is now standard, as is a suite of driver-assistance features.

While full-size near-luxury sedans like the Cadenza are something of a dying breed, but that hasn’t stopped Kia. The Cadenza receives a light styling refresh for 2020 and along with it gains a few new features and narrows its focus on the more expensive two of its previous three trim levels.

Sold in other parts of the globe as the K7 sedan, Kia showed the face-lifted model last June but wouldn’t say if the same updates would translate to the K7’s American counterpart. We now know our suspicions were correct as the Cadenza’s new styling mirrors that of the K7, with a redesigned grille and hood, tweaked front and rear bumpers, updated exterior lighting elements, and new wheel designs.

The makeover is more extensive inside, where a larger 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen pops from its position in the center of a redesigned dashboard, which is itself adorned with a large piece of wood trim. The gauge cluster has been revised and now includes a 4.2-inch color display between the two main gauge pods as standard equipment; secondary controls for the audio and climate systems have been rearranged in a more ergonomic manner.


Three additional USB ports have been added, as has a wireless smartphone charging pad, remote start, and the ability to pair more than one device at a time to the Cadenza’s Bluetooth connectivity system. Limited models receive a new multi-color ambient interior lighting setup as well as nappa leather upholstery in either saddle brow or gray.

On the driver-assistance front, the Cadenza now comes standard with a suite of features Kia calls Drive Wise. The bundle includes automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring among other features. The adaptive cruise control uses information garnered from the car’s standard navigation system to prepare for upcoming curves in the road by slowing the vehicle’s speed.

Mechanically, the Cadenza carries on mostly unchanged, powered by the same 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 and shifting gears through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive continues to be the car’s sole drivetrain. Kia says the rear sub-frame cross members have been reinforced to give the Cadenza a more rigid structure and the shock valves have been redesigned to be less susceptible to vibration and even out the ride.

Last year’s lineup consisted of three distinct trims–Premium, Technology, and Limited–but the base Premium trim has been dropped for 2020, leaving the other two better equipped examples to soldier on. Kia hasn’t released pricing for the 2020 Cadenza, although we expect it to adhere closely to last year’s pricing for the two remaining trims, meaning a starting price of around $40,000. The company is also mum on when the 2020 model will roll into dealers, but since we’re already one month into 2020, we’d expect to see that happen shortly.

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