2017 Kia Cadenza boasts lighter body, first FWD 8-speed transmission

At the New York Auto Show 2016, Kia is unveiling the second generation Cadenza. Like its predecessor, it boasts of a spacious cabin and a strong aggressive exterior. Naturally, Kia isn't content with just keeping the status quo. The 2017 Cadenza builds on the success of its forebear, bringing a new, distinctive design, a new lighter yet stronger construction, and a lot more brains to the table. In addition, the new Cadenza showcases Kia's first FWD eight-speed automatic transmission, promising improved power and efficiency in Kia's latest large car model.

The 2017 Cadenza adheres to the "simplicity of the straight line" design philosophy formulated by Kia design chief Peter Schreyer. Here, that is given form by the single gestural contour that spans the profile of the car, connecting the Z-shaped lighting in the headlights to the LED tail lights. On the front, the second generation Cadenza still bears Kia's signature "tiger nose" grille, but this time framed in a hexagonal shape. Inside, the straight line can be seen on the wraparound dashboard that flows into the door panels, which also has the effect of making the Cadenza look wider inside.

Though looking exquisite on the outside and spacious on the inside, the 2017 Cadenza is anything but frail. With a skeleten that uses Advanced High Strength Steel for more than half of its body, this new Cadenza is stronger than ever before. It is, however, also lighter, with a chassis that uses aluminum instead of steel in certain areas, like the front steering knuckles.

The Cadenza's structure is a perfect complement to its internal power. Sporting a revised 3.3-liter V6 engine, the car is geared for maximum fuel economy while still keeping power at an acceptable 290 hp. It also boasts of Kia's first FWD eight-speed automatic transmission, which, in turn, boasts of a lighter build than the previous Cadenza, despite having two extra cogs.

These days, it's no longer enough for cars to be beautiful or powerful. They also have to be smart as well, The 2017 Cadenza is the first Kia model to be sold under the DRIVE WISE sub-brand, which means it is loaded with modern driver assistance features, including Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning. New to the Cadenza is Smart Blind Detection System, which can automatically brake the opposite side front wheel should it detect unintentional drifting towards an adjacent vehicle.

The driver cockpit inside is just as advanced, featuring a new Heads Up Display that keeps critical information, like speed and even turn-by-turn navigation, on the windshield, right in the driver's line of sight. Kia's latest UVO system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Surround View Monitor has also been upgraded, both in software and hardware, to give drivers a better view of the car's surroundings. The Smart Trunk feature automatically opens the trunk lid if the key fob is detected for more than three seconds.

The new Cadenza will of course feature various options and trims. Lower trim models will come with a "Diamond Butterfly" front grille while higher trims will sport an "Intaglio" grille. Optional premium features include a 12-speaker Harman-Kardon system. Designed at the car maker's California studio, birthplace of the Track'ster and GT4 Stinger concepts, the 2017 Kia Cadenza will go on sale in late 2016. Pricing details will be revealed by then.