2020 Mercedes E-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Kia Cadenza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes E-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Cadenza doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The E-Class Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cadenza doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The rear seatbelts optional on the E-Class Sedan inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Cadenza doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The E-Class Sedan’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The E-Class Sedan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cadenza doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the E-Class Sedan and the Cadenza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, collision warning systems, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the E-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 87 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cadenza has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The E-Class Sedan’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Cadenza runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the E-Class Sedan has a standard 850-amp battery. The Cadenza’s 800-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The E 350 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6. The E 450 4MATIC Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 72 more horsepower (362 vs. 290) and 116 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the E 350 Sedan RWD gets better fuel mileage than the Cadenza (23 city/32 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the E-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Cadenza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The E-Class Sedan 450/AMG 53’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cadenza (21.1 vs. 18.5 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes E-Class Sedan higher (5 out of 10) than the Kia Cadenza (3). This means the E-Class Sedan produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cadenza every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes E-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Cadenza.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the E-Class Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Cadenza:

E-Class Sedan

E 450 4MATIC Sedan

Cadenza

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

14.2 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

14.2 inches

11.8 inches

The E-Class Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Cadenza are solid, not vented.

The E-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the Cadenza:

E-Class Sedan

Cadenza

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The E-Class Sedan’s optional 275/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cadenza Limited’s 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the E-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Cadenza doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The E-Class Sedan offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Cadenza’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The E-Class Sedan has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Sedan’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Cadenza doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 3.3 inches longer than on the Cadenza (115.7 inches vs. 112.4 inches).

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC handles at .93 G’s, while the Cadenza Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the Cadenza Limited (25.1 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The E-Class Sedan has .6 inches more rear headroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cadenza.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the E-Class Sedan easier. The E-Class Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 27.7 inches, while the Cadenza’s liftover is 29.6 inches.

The E-Class Sedan’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Cadenza doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the E-Class offers cargo security. The Cadenza’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the E-Class Sedan has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the E-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Cadenza. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Cadenza Limited, the E-Class Sedan has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The E-Class Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Cadenza’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the E-Class Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Cadenza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Sedan to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Cadenza doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the E-Class Sedan has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Cadenza doesn’t offer cornering lights. The E-Class Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the E-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The E-Class Sedan’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cadenza has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The E-Class Sedan offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Cadenza.

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The E-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Cadenza doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Kia Cadenza isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or station wagon.

Economic Advantages

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The E-Class Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the E-Class Sedan will retain 35.76% to 35.92% of its original price after five years, while the Cadenza only retains 30.95% to 34.32%.

Recommendations

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Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes E-Class Sedan and the Kia Cadenza, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The E 450/E 53 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The Cadenza has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mercedes E-Class/CLS outsold the Kia Cadenza by almost 25 to one during 2019.

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