2017 Kia Cadenza Limited vs Mercedes-Benz e550

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Can Best in Initial Quality Kia compete with the heavy-hitter Mercedes-Benz in the race to offer the best sedan for the money? Though this may seem like an underdog against a champion, the truth is that many top-of-the-line non-luxury trims can go toe-to-toe with luxury brands without breaking a metaphorical sweat. Which one will come out on top here?

2017 Kia Cadenza Limited vs Mercedes-Benz e550

Exterior Styling

If the Kia Cadenza Limited didn’t have a badge on the front, it might easily be mistaken for something from the very finest domestic or European manufacturers. The top level Limited trim has a unique grille and bigger alloy wheels than entry models, which lends an upscale look to this handsome, stylish, and slightly sporty looking full-size sedan.

For some tastes, the latest E-Class isn’t as attractive as the slightly more angular and daring model that preceded it. It’s still a very attractive car with clean sheet metal and imposing lines, but it’s a little more anonymous than it was.

Interior Comfort and Quality

Is it even fair to compare the Cadenza Limited to the Mercedes-Benz E Class? When a vehicle has an opulent interior with the finest Nappa leather and upscale features such as a leather heated steering wheel, the answer is yes. But if you then consider how much room there is inside the Kia, it definitely becomes a match for true luxury models.

When it comes to the interior of the E550, well, it’s a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The quality of the materials and the fit are beyond reproach, but the space isn’t as generous as it is in the Cadenza. Surprisingly, the extra front and rear leg room in the Kia gives it a more limousine-like feel than the Mercedes, so this is perhaps a shock win for the Cadenza.


All 2017 Kia Cadenza models share the same 3.3-liter V-6 engine that sends 290 horsepower to the front wheels through an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. The whole feel of the Cadenza Limited is weighted more towards refinement and comfort than performance and driving thrills, which is probably about right in a car of this stature.

The Mercedes-Benz E550 is a large sports coupe, so it packs quite an appropriate punch with a 4.7-liter bi-turbo V-8 putting out 402 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. The power goes to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission, so this is very much a sportier model than the Kia. In terms of outright performance, this is an easy win for the Mercedes.

Fuel Economy

With the Kia sticking with a V-6 instead of a V-8 and shunning any attempt at being a performance car, you could expect reasonable fuel economy, especially with that new transmission. You’d be right as the Kia is rated at 20 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.

The Mercedes is impressive in this direction for something as powerful as it undoubtedly is, with EPA ratings at 18 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined. If you do a lot of driving though, you’ll notice that difference, so the Kia is victorious in this segment.

Learn More about the Kia Cadenza

This comparison clearly shows that the quality of the Kia Cadenza Limited is very close to the considerably more expensive Mercedes-Benz. Though the Kia is a sedan and the Mercedes e550 is a coupe, the reality is that top tier trims like the Cadenza Limited gives the established luxury models a very real run for their money. If you’re looking for luxury trims and appeal without the shocking price tag, the 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited should be at the top of your sedan list.