Never Gonna Give You Up: 2020 Kia Cadenza Gains Refresh, Continued Life

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
never gonna give you up 2020 kia cadenza gains refresh continued life

Is there another automotive brand that offers as much mainstream passenger car choice as Kia Motors? Nothing springs to mind. The Korean automaker continues to temp American car buyers with a full range of cars, from subcompact and compact up through full-size. In the middle, there’s a choice of THREE midsize(ish) four-doors.

In 2020.

One of those models just appeared at the Chicago Auto Show wearing slightly new clothes. It’s the Cadenza, known in some auto journo circles as the Korean Buick — a soon-to-be-outdated moniker, as the Buick lineup loses its last car this year.

For 2020, the upper-midsize Cadenza dons a deeper, more pronounced waterfall grille, rejigged LED headlamps (standard on all trims), and slightly refashioned LED running lights. You’ll notice the illuminated mark of Zorro beneath those multi-lens peepers.

The hood and trunk lid are also new, with LED taillamps alerting following drivers to the fact that yes, that is indeed a Cadenza up ahead. Redesigned 18- and 19-inch wheels round out the exterior alterations.

Inside, all Cadenza buyers will be greeted by a sizeable 12.3-inch touchscreen set into the dash, not placed atop it, as well as a 4.2-inch color info display in the gauge cluster. The top-flight Limited trim (base Technology is the only other guise for 2020) adds multi-color ambient mood lighting, and two additional choices of Nappa leather-trimmed seat color join the upholstery roster. Elsewhere, you’ll find three extra USB ports, plus standard Smart Key for all.

Standard safety features include forward collision warning, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian/cyclist detection, smart cruise (with stop & go), and high beam assist. An expanded available suite of driver-assist aids uses highway and navigation data to maintain posted speed limits (highway driving assist) and reduce speed before entering curves (smart cruise control-curve).

Nothing changes powertrain-wise; there’s still a 3.3-liter V6 up front channeling power to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic, though road manners get a boost from redesigned shock valves up front and larger rear dampers. Kia has reinforced the rear subframe cross members to further lower NVH.

Clearly a better car than before, but is it one people will want to buy? Time will tell, but the Cadenza’s recent history shows it continues to be overlooked in favor of….well, who knows? While pricing has yet to be revealed, the Cadenza has always represented a relative bargain for those in the market for a semi-premium large-ish sedan — assuming they know it exists.

Appearing for the 2013 model year, the Cadenza’s sales dropped precipitously in 2019. The 63.8-percent drop saw volume fall to the lowest in the model’s short history, with just 1,630 examples leaving dealer lots. While the appearance of a second-gen Cadenza lifted sales for 2017, we’ll have to wait and see whether a refresh and content boost deliver another miracle.

The 2020 Cadenza goes on sale later this year.

[Images: Kia Motors]

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  • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Feb 08, 2020

    '...continues to TEMPT American car buyers...'

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Feb 11, 2020

    I haven't seen a new one of these at our two Kia dealers since Summer. They are super scarce in Upstate, NY area. The Kia site is still listing 2019 models on the build your own portion.

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.