2011 Kia Cadenza | road test

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 by
The 2011 Kia Cadenza

The 2011



  • Lots of car for the money
  • Handsome looks
  • Plenty of interior space


  • Horrible feel to steering
  • Handling disappoints
  • Wind noise is annoying at speed


The Cadenza continues ’s rapid ascendancy from a budget brand to a marque worth paying attention too. Replacing the Opirus, it’s a large sedan that looks good, is comfortable and feels well made, with a strong engine and gearbox combination and plenty of interior space. Only some artificial, overly light steering lets it down slightly, while handling is not up the standard seen on more established rivals. But if you’re not someone that drives for pleasure, you may well find that the Cadenza represents excellent value for money.


The Cadenza's design comes from Peter Schreyer, who also designed Audi's TT.

The Cadenza's design comes from Peter Schreyer, who also designed Audi's TT.

Power in the Cadenza comes from a 3.5-litre V6 engine that develops 286bhp and is attached to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The motor is a strong one and gives the Cadenza plenty of punch at all speeds. The gearbox is also decent, anticipating gear changes well and shifting quickly and smoothly. The only niggle is with the gearbox in manual mode – it’ll still change automatically if it thinks you’ve forgotten to shift, which could annoy some drivers.

The ride comfort in the Cadenza is excellent. Rough road surfaces are soaked up well by the chassis, although the driver is still aware of what’s underneath the car. The handling is fine for around town and on the motorway, but anyone hoping to tackle roads that encourage spirited driving will feel disappointed. Despite Kia’s aims, this is not a driver’s car and a horribly artificial and overly light steering feel serves to underline this.





The interior is well built and nicely designed

The interior is well built and nicely designed

The Cadenza is very comfortable, with plenty of style and space inside. The driving position is a good one thanks to multi-way adjustable power seats and steering column, although we’d prefer the seat to go a fraction lower for taller drivers. Rear seat passengers get plenty of leg and head room. Some attractive and unique interior lighting gives the cabin a touch of class.

The quality of the interior is good – not as good as Lexus (Kia is targeting the ES350 with this car), but another step forward for the Korean manufacturer. The design is modern and distinctive, the materials used feel solid and everything is put together well.

We were slightly distracted by wind noise from the driver’s door while on the motorway, but for the most point the Cadenza experience is quiet and refined.

As well as a good amount of space for the passengers, the Cadenza possesses a large boot with a capacity of 451 litres. There are two cupholders for front seat occupants and more for rear passengers when the centre armrest is folded down.


The Cadenza has a distinctive and stylish look

The Cadenza has a distinctive and stylish look

Considering the price (from 86,000AED), the Cadenza is very well kitted out. The entry-level LX model comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps, as well as full power options and dual zone climate control air conditioning. The seats are cloth covered but there’s leather around the steering wheel and gear knob, while faux leather adorns the armrests. The stereo system includes a CD player and sockets for iPod, USB stick or any other auxiliary source.

The EX model comes as standard with 17-inch wheels, cruise control and wood-effect touches in the cabin. In the UAE, two versions of the EX are available, and the full option model features a panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers and an excellent satellite navigation system that features data on speed limits. This alerts you if you’re driving too fast for the road, which is very useful except when you find that the data is inaccurate, as we did a couple of times during our test drive. The insistent beeping proved grating in those instances. Bluetooth phone connectivity and a rear view camera are also included.


The rather stylish interior lighting is one of the Cadenza's nice touches

The rather stylish interior lighting is one of the Cadenza's nice touches

The Cadenza scored five star marks all round in the American NCAP crash test programme. All models come as standard with dual front airbags. ABS is also included, with electronic brakeforce distribution. Active front head restraints come as standard on the EX model.
Optional safety equipment includes electronic stability control, traction control and emergency brake assist, as well as curtain and side airbags in both the front and the back. The full complement of eight airbags is standard on the EX full option.


With prices starting at just 86,000AED, the Cadenza represents a lot of car for the money. It delivers a combined fuel economy of 9.36 litres per 100km, which means its 70-litre fuel tank should give a range of around 750km. No information on service costs was available at the time of writing.

The Cadenza is covered by an excellent five-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

2011 Kia Cadenza

Trim levels available*: LX, EX, EX Full Option
Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Max power (bhp/rpm): 283/6,000
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 338/5,000
Driven wheels: Front wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1,575kg
Price (AED): 86,000 – 109,000
*Italic = model tested

2 Responses to 2011 Kia Cadenza | road test

  1. Shabaz Reply

    May 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Hi there, I wanted to send you guys this video, CHECK OUT HOW WE TEST DRIVE THE HELL OUT OF THE KIA CADENZA,  in the video link to YouTube 😀 


    Also I would Like to say that the CAR IS GREAT it is a really strong controllable perfect accelerating car, amazing over it has 😀 I would like to thank the guys in KIA for making this BOSS car 😀 

  2. Michael Durotola Reply

    June 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Great deal from kia. Now CEOs of  SMEs (small and medium scale enterprise ) can now enjoy some executive gliding and comfort at a reasonable bargain.

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