8 Best & Worst Kia Cadenza Years (Stats & Examples)

Kia Motors started producing the Kia Cadenza in 2010. This car is popular for its unique style, smooth ride, and remarkable amenities.

However, not all the Cadenza model years offer equal reliability rates.

Join us as we explore the best and worst Kia Cadenza years in this post, including how dependable each model year is, according to experts and owners’ reports.

The Best and Worst Years for Kia Cadenza Are:

When opting for a used Kia Cadenza, the best years buyers can choose from include the model years, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. However, the worst years include the years 2014, 2015, and 2017.

These years have the most complaints from owners’ reports so far.

What Kia Cadenza Years Are the Most Reliable?

From reports, certain Kia Cadenza model years offer little to no problems. Buyers will enjoy their Cadenza if they opt for any of these years, which we listed below.

Before we dive in, would you like to know how long Kia Cadenzas last?

1. 2016 Kia Cadenza

The 2016 Cadenza is popular for its long list of

  • Standard features
  • Smooth and comfortable ride
  • Powerful V6 engine
  • Elegant and upscale designs, among others

Being the year with the least complaints from owners qualified the Cadenza for this list.

According to Car Complaints, the Cadenza has 6 complaints from owners, which are quite a few compared to some competitors and considering the year of make.

It, however, has one recall to fix a front shield that detaches from the vehicle. 

Reliability ratings for the 2016 Cadenza are also favorable by car critics. U.S. News ranked it second in the category of 2016 affordable large cars, with an overall score of 8.7 out of 10.

J.D. Power gave it a Reliability score of 4 out of 5 stars, which is above average.

Based on 18 reviews, Cars.com consumer reviews awarded the 2016 Cadenza a Reliability score of 4.8 out of 5 stars, while 94% of owners recommended it.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also awarded this model year’s top safety rating of 10 out 0f 10, which is the most attainable score of excellent.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) did not crash-test it.

2. 2017 Kia Cadenza

The 2017 Kia Cadenza is popular for its many features among owners.

These features include a quiet interior, an easy-to-use dashboard, a powerful and enjoyable driving experience, a long list of safety features, premium interior materials, a sleek aesthetic, and build quality, among others.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza has 21 complaints and 2 recalls according to Car Complaints.

This is the most complaints on this list, however, very low compared to some competitors’ reliable model years we’ve written on.

Recalls reasons, however, include engine compartment fire. Also, brake vacuum hose may kink, which increases the risk of injury and crash respectfully.

Most car critics awarded the 2017 Cadenza with high reliability ratings. J.D. Power gave it the highest score of 5 out of 5 stars for reliability.

This denotes the 2017 model year is highly reliable in every category. Cars.com Consumer Review also gave it a great reliability score of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Based on 105 reviews, 96% of drivers recommend the 2017 Kia Cadenza.

IIHS also gave it an overall highest safety score of 10 out of 10, while there is no rating from NHTSA.

3. 2018 Kia Cadenza

The 2018 Cadenza is popular for its many features. They include a

  • Generous warranty
  • A quiet interior
  • A roomy and comfortable cabin
  • A refined drivetrain
  • A generous level of features for the money, and
  • A powerful yet poised performance, among others

According to Car Complaints, this model year has only 3 complaints from owners, which are very few compared to some reliable model years.

It has only one recall and this recall addresses engine compartment fire, which can increase the risk of injury.

U.S. News awarded the 2018 Cadenza the third position in its ranking of Affordable Large Cars with a score of 8.6 out of 10.

According to J.D. Power, it has a reliability score of 4 out of 5 stars, which denotes above average. Cars.com recorded an overall reliability score of 5 out of 5 stars, based on 7 reviews, while 100% of the drivers recommended it.

Aside from these few reviews and ratings from car critics, most critics’ reviews also solidify that the Cadenza is a brilliant choice for buyers.

The safety ratings recorded a 10 out of 10 score from IIHS, which is the highest score of Good. However, the NHTSA has not rated the safety score of the 2018 Cadenza.

4. 2019 Kia Cadenza

Another Cadenza that offers a lot of features that contributed to its popularity is the 2019 model year.

Features include a spacious cabin, an opulent interior, enough modern technology, an extended warranty, dynamic performance, and excellent safety ratings.

Car Complaints recorded only 4 complaints for the Cadenza. However, these include minor issues regarding the steering, brake, and lights. There is also a recall of the engine compartment fire.

The 2019 Cadenza ranks first in the U.S. News 2019 Affordable Large Cars ratings, with a score of 8.6 out of 10. J.D. Power gave it a predicted reliability score of 4 out of 5 stars, which is good enough as it is well above average.

According to Cars.com Consumer Reviews, the 2019 model year has a reliability rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars and an overall rating of 4.7 stars. It has 85% of recommendations from drivers based on 7 reviews, which may be too low but moderate for a good rating.

It has a safety score of 9.9 out of 10 from IIHS, which denotes the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. The NHTSA, however, has not crash-tested the 2019 Cadenza.

5. 2020 Kia Cadenza

The 2020 Kia Cadenza is popular for its redesigned dashboard, a long list of driver-support functions as standard, a superior audio system, a spacious cabin, available wide-ranging modern safety features, a generous warranty, and a lot of power and quick acceleration.

According to Car Complaints, the 2020 Cadenza has had zero complaints from owners so far.

However, it has one recall concerning the rear power window, which operates unexpectedly and can increase the risk of injury.

It ranks first in the Cars.com 2020 Affordable Large Cars ranking with an 8.7 out of 10 score.

The 2020 Kia Cadenza is yet to receive a reliability rating from J.D. Power. However, just like the previous model years on this list, it should be a score above average.

Cars.com awarded it a score of 5 out of 5 stars, and an overall score of 5 stars.

The Cadenza has the highest safety score of 10 out of 10 from the IIHS safety rating, while NHTSA is yet to rate the car.

6. 2021 Kia Cadenza

The 2021 Kia Cadenza offers an outstanding ride of comfort, responsive handling, a spacious and quiet cabin, simple controls, long list of safety and convenience features as standard equipment, among others.

Writing of convenience features, check the article on cars with genuine leather seats for more details on the Cadenza seating materials.

Car Complaints recorded zero complaints from owners for the 2021 model year and zero recalls as well.

There are limited ratings from car critics for the 2021 Cadenza. However, these ratings gave the 2021 model year high scores for both reliability and safety.

According to RepairPal, it has a reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which is good. It also earned the highest safety top score of “Good” from IIHS, while NHTSA is yet to rate it.

What Kia Cadenza Years Should You Avoid?

The Kia Cadenza has received mostly positive reviews from owners. However, some model years have higher rates of complaints from owners than others. We listed them below.

1. 2014 Kia Cadenza

The 2014 Cadenza has the most complaints from owners according to Car Complaints.

Owners have reported an overall 118 complaints. Complaints include issues with the electrical system, such as faults with the

  • Music system
  • Navigation, and
  • Dashboard display

Transmission issues include jerky acceleration and hard shifting, while some owners complained about issues with the suspension, which cause noise and vibration, especially at high speeds.

There are also reports of steering issues, which include a clunking sound when turning or difficulty steering, while some owners mentioned engine issues that cause the engine to stall.

A few owners reported problems with the brakes, causing squeaking or grinding noises when applying the brakes, while many owners have noted paint issues that cause paint flaking or chipping.

Recalls, however, involve issues with the windshield and the wheel fracture, both of which can increase the risk of a crash.

However, the reliability rating for the 2014 Kia Cadenza is quite high and identical to the reliable years.

According to J.D. Power, this car has 4.5 out of 5 stars, while Cars.com Consumer Review awarded it a Reliability score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. 92% of drivers recommended it based on 77 reviews.

It also has the highest safety score of 10 out of 10, denoting good for all the IIHS crash tests.

Owing to these reviews, the 2014 Kia Cadenza may not be bad in its entirety.

However, this is the model year with the most complaints from owners so far. Owing to this, we recommend checking the list of the most reliable years above, to avoid issues when driving your Cadenza.

2. 2015 Kia Cadenza

According to Car Complaints, the 2015 Kia Cadenza has 37 complaints and 1 recall.

While some competitors reported more than these, the 2015 Kia Cadenza recorded more complaints than other model years, ranking second after the 2014 model year.

Issues include

  • Electrical issues
  • Gearbox troubles
  • Problems with the steering system
  • Noise, and vibration from the suspension system
  • Stalling or a rough idle with the engines
  • Problems with the brake
  • Issues with the fuel system
  • Issues with the air conditioning system, among others

Details are identical to the ones we mentioned above for each problem. The recall, however, includes issues with the front windshield, which can increase crash and injury risk.

The 2015 Cadenza also has good reliability ratings from car critics. J.D. Power awarded 4 out of 5 stars for reliability, while Cars.com gave it 4.3. IIHS also gave it a good safety score of 10 out of 10.

Owing to these ratings, the 2015 model year may not be too bad to opt for. However, where buyers are not too confident with this year, we recommend opting for one of the reliable years.

What Are Some Typical Problems With the Kia Cadenza Models?

Few owners have reported issues with the Kia Cadenza, however, some of these issues are common in some model years.

  • Electrical problems
  • Transmission issues
  • Steering issues
  • Suspension issues
  • Engine problems
  • Brake issues
  • Fuel system problems
  • AC issues

For more information, check our article on common problems with Kia Cadenza.


Go Back: Best & Worst Years For ALL Kia Models

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.