What’s Hot:  The second-generation Kia Cadenza is a breakout when compared to the generic mainstream version it’s replacing. The 2017 Kia Cadenza offers a more stylish Lexus-like exterior design along with a more premium interior, depending upon the trim. While the vehicle is the same length as its predecessor, it’s more prominent look is due to its being wider and lower.

As opposed to a base, premium and limited trim, the Cadenza package team has made content adjustments to offer a premium, technology and limited trim. Like most vehicles today, Kia’s new full size luxury vehicle offers the latest pre-autonomous features once consumers upgrade to the technology and limited trims. Some of those features include a rear-traffic cross alert system, a lane changing assist system, a radar-activated cruise control system, a forward collision warning system, an autonomous emergency braking system and a blind spot detection system.

We had an opportunity to check out the picturesque views in the foothills of Northern Virginia, while spending some time behind the wheel of the Cadenza Limited, which was outfitted with 19-inch wheels. Our supportive front seats were covered with the finest grade of Nappa leather, which gave the vehicle a more premium look and feel.

While taking the vehicle through tight curves and corners, we found the all-new 8-speed automatic transmission, which was matted to the slightly retuned 6-cylinder engine, to shift effortlessly and to be quite adequate for this large sedan. The vehicle also has a new suspension and steering system. Both of these components aid the vehicle in offering an improved driving experience. Also the layout of the user-friendly instrument panel resembles that of the all-new Genesis G80, which was formerly known as the Hyundai Genesis sedan.

The company that has captured the heart and soul of consumers with its quirky, but well-built Soul is hoping to boost its cache with the all-new 2017 Cadenza. Although the car’s side profile can be slightly mistaken for a Lexus, which I know the folks at Kia don’t mind, the optional bright mesh grille looks like it could be a part of the Maserati family. This once generic vehicle now has a design that finally makes the vehicle stand out.

What’s Not: Kia realizes they are playing in a tough segment, where sales are only up only for the recently aggressively styled Nissan Maxima and the dated, but still stylish, Chrysler 300. The Korean automaker is counting on aggressive pricing and the vehicle being packaged with more content to capture newcomers to the Kia family.

The Buick Lacrosse and the Cadenza are the newest entries in the large car segment and both are hoping to capture both near luxury and luxury buyers. Kia knows they’re in a battle, especially seeing that the overall U. S. automaker has shifted from cars to crossovers due to an extended session of low gas prices. A few of the competitors offer either a 4-cylinder or hybrid to expand the mpg. We hear Kia could be on tap to offer a start-stop brake idling system in the near future, helping to improve the mpg.

Drive Or Drive By: For consumers in the market for a sleek-looking car that could be classified as a luxury vehicle, the all-new Cadenza is a worthy contender to consider. According to Ray Ng, the young lead designer, “My goal was to make a car that my dad feels good in, but one I would not mind driving.”

Estimated Pricing: Not available yet. According to Kia’s U.S. executive team, the new more luxurious full size vehicle should be priced $1,000 lower than the outgoing model. Pricing for the base 2016 Cadenza starts out the gate at $33,840. Pricing is expected to be more in line with the larger and more luxurious looking 2017 Buick Lacrosse, which starts at $32,990.

Competition: Buick LaCrosse; Chevy Impala; Chrysler 300; Dodge Charger; Ford Taurus; Hyundai Azera; Nissan Maxima; and Toyota Avalon

 Cadenza Trims:

Premium

Technology

Limited

Suspension System (Front/Rear): Independent MacPherson struts/Multi Link

Cadenza Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; fog lights; heated outside mirrors with LED turn signals; an auto dimming rearview mirror; an electronic stability control system; a traction control system; a hill start assist system; a rearview camera and a tire pressure monitoring system

Cadenza Standard Features: 18-inch wheels; 8-speed automatic transmission; leather seats; power heated front seats; keyless remote entry; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; an illuminated glove box; a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system; Android/Apple smartphone integration; a push button ignition system; a keyless remote rear truck; and three steering driving modes: normal, economy and sport.

Optional Features: 19-inch wheels; a blind spot detection system; a rear traffic cross alert system; a lane change assist system; a rear parking assist system; a high beam assist system; automatic emergency braking; a lane departure warning system; a forward collision braking system; a surround view monitor system; an electronic parking brake with a hold feature; a power trunk closer; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a smartphone wireless charging system; a heated steering wheel; automatic rain sensing wipers; a radar activated cruise control system; a navigation system; side window sunshades; panoramic sunroof; power folding sideview mirror; power rear sunshade; steering wheel paddle shifters; dual zone automatic ventilation system; navigation with 8-inch touchscreen screen; a 630-watt Harmon Kardon 12-speaker system; and a heads up display system

 Audio System: an 8-speaker AM/FM/HD/Satellite

 Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

 USB Charging Port: Yes

 USB Connectivity: Yes

 Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

 Engine/Horsepower: 3.3-liter, 6-cylinder/ 290-horsepower

 Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Recommended Fuel: Regular

 Standard Fuel Mileage: Still waiting for EPA evaluation

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.

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