2017 Kia Cadenza Sedan Bows in New York

Second generation of Kia’s large front-drive sedan.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza is larger and has more features than the first generation of the large sedan, yet it has also gone on a significant diet. Though exact numbers are not yet available, Kia says that by using more aluminum and advanced high-strength steel (50 percent of the car is made from the latter material), the new Cadenza is lighter while also being stiffer and safer.

In fact, Kia engineers are targeting top marks from both NHTSA and IIHS crash-tests, aided in part by a new driver's knee airbag, for a a total of nine airbags in the car. The 2017 Kia Cadenza also will be available with active-safety features including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, and a Smart Blind Sport Detection feature that automatically steers the car back into its lane if a collision with a vehicle in the Cadenza's blind spot is likely.

Underhood, Kia's 3.3-liter V-6 has been retuned for "about" 290 hp and should be more fuel efficient. It now routes power through an eight-speed automatic transmission, an in-house design that Kia says is actually lighter than the old six-speed automatic. Special shock absorbers with Amplitude Selective Damping and what Kia calls a Hydraulic Rebound Stopper are said to improve the ride quality over broken pavement, and the car's brake discs are larger for better stopping power and feel. Increased sound deadening, including an acoustic windshield and a new underbody shield, are said to make the Cadenza "library quiet."

Visually, the U.S.-spec 2017 Kia Cadenza looks pretty much identical to the version revealed for its domestic market. Sharp, taut lines define the bodywork, with Kia's large grille bookended by angular, swept-back headlights. The concave grille comes in "Diamond Butterfly" design on standard models and the "Intaglio" design, with vertical blades, for high-trim versions. LED taillights adorn the car's rump. The Cadenza's wheelbase grows to improve truck space and boost back-seat legroom by half an inch, yet the sedan is wider and slightly lower than before.

Available features include a head-up display, Nappa leather, 18- or 19-inch wheels, an upgraded 360-degree camera system, an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a 12-speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system.

We had mostly positive impressions after a year with our Four Seasons 2014 Kia Cadenza, so we're eager to see how the new one improves on its predecessor. "Creamy, quiet, and cosseting might not be the enthusiast's favorite combination of virtues, but it's not hard to see their appeal in a sedan like this," we wrote of our 2014 Cadenza. "Based on our experience here, we'd say that even-tempered sophistication and a Kia badge are more compatible than you would have thought a year ago."

The 2017 Kia Cadenza goes on sale toward the end of the year, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.

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