Click on any image to see a larger slideshow and captions. Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.
The Cadenza is a handsome and expensive-looking sedan. Aspects of the front end resemble BMWs. It measures about 5 inches longer, a half-inch wider and almost an inch taller than the midsize Kia Optima.
The translucent white stripe over the headlight cluster is an element I didn't like on BMWs (see the 5 Series) because it looks like protective film that should have been removed after shipping. When the car's on, though, these strips glow and serve as daytime running lights.
The six-speed automatic transmission delivers dependable acceleration and average mileage, though it occasionally hesitates when you jab the accelerator. You can shift manually using the stick, but there's no automatic Sport mode.
The roomy Cadenza has 107 cubic feet of interior volume versus 102 cubic feet in the Optima midsize sedan. Front occupants, particularly, enjoy ample legroom. The white upgraded leather and cushion extension adjustment on the seat shown are options.
Interior quality is difficult to summarize because different people value different characteristics. Most of our editors found the materials to be appropriately rich, but one thought some surfaces seemed cheap.
The Cadenza's backseat legroom specification, 36.8 inches, doesn't accurately reflect reality. It feels very roomy and open. The center floor hump is very low — about ankle high — which makes the floor space more usable.
Thoughtfully selected buttons provide direct control over the ventilation system. A band of buttons below — flanked by two real rotary knobs — lets you access audio sources, music tracks, a Bluetooth-paired phone and the standard navigation system. The 8-inch touch-screen is also well-executed.
Comfort features in the optional Luxury Package include (clockwise from lower left) a ventilated driver's seat, a heated steering wheel and a powered rear-window shade. Heated front seats are standard. The electronic parking switch (center) comes in the Technology Package.
The Cadenza's trunk is a respectable 15.9 cubic feet. Less respectable is the lack of a folding backseat; there's merely a small pass-through door. Many full-size luxury cars also exclude the feature, but the Chrysler 300, Buick LaCrosse and most affordable full-size sedans have it.
The Cadenza nabs the operability trifecta: It relies on a touch-screen rather than a needlessly complex knob controller, the screen is a generous 8 inches, and the menus and ergonomics are very good. Bravo.
Included in the Luxury Package is the Supervision Meter Cluster with a 7-inch display. It shows an analog-style speedometer gauge with information screens in the center. It's also used to configure features like auto door locking.
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