A premium Kia? The new full-size Cadenza is worth checking out -- for real

2014 Kia Cadenza Review

By Marie-Laurence Paquin
2014 Kia Cadenza Review

Summary Rating: 85%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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Those who think Kia doesn't make quality cars need a serious reality check. The all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza impressed me with its luxury, comfort, and wide array of amenities. What's more, people came to me with envious stares, thumbs up, and many nice things to say about it throughout my test week.

What is the Kia Cadenza?
Simply put, the 2014 Kia Cadenza is a brand new and luxurious full-size sedan from Korea. Slotted above the popular Optima, it will inevitably help Kia attract a new generation of buyers.

While it may not have sporty aspirations, the 2014 Kia Cadenza offers tremendous value, especially the base model which starts under $40K.


2014 Kia Cadenza Price and Specs
A 3.3L V6 engine rated at 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque propels the 2014 Kia Cadenza with enthusiasm. Featuring direct injection, this mill pairs up with a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and, on my watch, burned a combined 11.2L/100km (30% city, 70% highway).

Two trim levels are available: The one priced at $37,795 is very well equipped, while the Cadenza Premium at $44,995 adds keyless entry, heated rear seats, many extra safety features, and a panoramic sunroof -- basically everything consumers look for in this price range.

2014 Kia Cadenza Premium engine
A 3.3L V6 engine rated at 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque propels the 2014 Kia Cadenza with enthusiasm. (Photo: Kia)

Driving the 2014 Kia Cadenza
Comfortable, yet not too relaxed, the 2014 Kia Cadenza is quite pleasant to drive. With nearly 300 horses under the hood, acceleration is convincing, and handling manages to surprise.

Engineers integrated a remarkable number of modern technologies. In addition to safety systems like Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, and Smart Cruise Control, you'll find in the Cadenza Premium goodies such as a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, adaptive HID headlights, and a driver's seat with memory.

The wide A-pillars and large side mirrors of the 2014 Kia Cadenza reduce forward visibility. As for the rear, the backup camera and parking sensors are quite useful. Elsewhere, the 8-way power adjustable seat helps in finding a proper driving position, although the seat may not drop low enough for taller drivers.

On a more negative note, Kia's navigation system is pretty frustrating. You can't zoom easily or enter an intersection as a destination. Fortunately, the rest of the Cadenza is so good that you will quickly forget about it.

2014 Kia Cadenza Premium rear 3/4 view
Comfortable, yet not too relaxed, the 2014 Kia Cadenza is quite pleasant to drive. (Photo: Marie-Laurence Paquin)

Inside and Out of the 2014 Kia Cadenza
From the outside, the new 2014 Kia Cadenza looks just as stylish as most competitors. Larger than the Optima, it sports fluid lines and a sharp-looking set of headlights. The unmistakable grille nicely fits into the whole picture -- kudos to Peter Schreyer, the former Audi designer who now oversees design operations at both Kia and Hyundai. On the other hand, the two-tone alloy wheels look somewhat cheap despite being 19” in size.

The big, panoramic sunroof certainly boosts the appeal of the 2014 Kia Cadenza. Fit and finish, both inside and out, deserve praise.

From a practical standpoint, I soon realized that the rear seatbacks do not fold down. Instead, there's a centre pass-through for long objects, such as skis -- too bad. Other than that, the rear seats prove roomy and comfortable.

Up front, the 2014 Kia Cadenza's dashboard is clean and modern, in large part thanks to the digital speedometer and tachometer. The various wood trim pieces will likely turn off some younger buyers; however, everything else has been well thought out. The analogue clock adds a touch of prestige that evokes renowned luxury brands.

2014 Kia Cadenza Premium grille
The unmistakable grille nicely fits into the whole picture. (Photo: Marie-Laurence Paquin)

Comparing the 2014 Kia Cadenza
This Korean import offers plenty of bang for your buck, and could give more expensive German sedans a run for their money. Of course, the ride and handling don't quite match those of Audi or BMW, but if you're looking for a classy and contemporary full-size car, you should totally check it out.

The front-wheel-drive 2014 Kia Cadenza appears a bit more refined than most American rivals including the new Chevrolet Impala, Buick Lacrosse, and Dodge Charger. As for Japan, expect the Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima to form a nice opposition.

In the end, the Cadenza stands out with its modern approach, sophisticated looks, plethora of technologies, and Kia's excellent warranty.







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