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2014 Kia Cadenza Review & Test Drive

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2014 Kia Cadenza Beauty Right Up Done Small

Kia vehicles have been hot sellers for several years now and it was about time that Kia introduced an entry-level luxury sport sedan to add to the brand and go after its competitors in this growing segment.  Introducing the all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza, an entry-level luxury sport sedan that I recently tested.  My Cadenza came equipped with the luxury and technology packages that brought the all-new Cadenza on par with other competing vehicles in the segment.

The all-new Cadenza combines what the segment’s consumers want-unique luxury styling, good power, and engaging and comfortable ride, a comfortable interior with plenty of luxury and convenience features and the latest safety systems to keep me and my passengers safe.  The all-new Kia Cadenza does all that plus more and at a very competitive price, starting at just $35,100.00 with my fully-loaded test model priced at $41,100.00.

2014 Kia Cadenza Beauty Side Done Small

The Cadenza starts with an upscale European-influenced design aesthetic and plenty of muscle under the skin with Kia’s most powerful V6 engine.  The exterior design is the vision of Peter Schreyer, Kia Motor’s president and chief design officer.  You’ll notice broad shoulders, a contoured hood, large wheels and a wide stance that gives the car a strong, grounded appearance.   The beautiful design has a distinctive sport-sedan form, as if the car would be equally comfortable on Germany’s Autobahn or carving through the Swiss Alps.  The signature grille and front fascia make the Cadenza instantly recognizable as a Kia.  Flanking the grille are adaptive HID headlamps that nestle deeply behind the crystalline lenses.  The lower fascia is wide, lending to the Cadenza’s imposing stance, and chrome trim accents around the foglamps and grille add to the vehicle’s premium look.  LED positioning lights give the Cadenza an additional European sophistication.  The car is stunning in profile with the Cadenza’s silhouette at once strong and elegant.  The vertical nose is imposing, the long hood sensuously sculpted to meet the steeply raked windshield A-pillars.  The greenhouse curves gracefully to the C-pillar and is surrounded by a tasteful chrome bezel that flares upward at the rear door, effectively creating a beautiful glass droplet.  Beginning just aft of the front-door cutline is a chiseled indentation that sweeps upward, seamlessly transitioning into the tail lights. Classic chrome accents adorn the lower portions of the doors and the treatment continues into the rear fascia.  The 19 inch alloy wheels resemble a jet turbine and add to the Cadenza’s athletic stature.  Moving to the rear, the standard LED taillights sit high on the deck and are designed to cut across a large portion of the vehicle, lending to the Cadenza’s broad stance.  The twin oval tail pipes accentuate the Cadenza’s sporty and elegant design for drivers behind the car and the lip spoiler up top of the trunk lid enhances downforce.

2014 Kia Cadenza Engine Done Small

The all-new Cadenza is equipped with Kia’s most powerful V6 engine.  It is a smooth-revving 3.3 liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) using GDI technology that improves performance while producing fewer emissions.  Power is seamlessly transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that includes Sportmatic manual shift mode and paddle shifters to keep the gear selected up to redline for spirited driving times.  They flank the leather and wood-wrapped, power tilt-telescopic steering wheel that feels perfect in my hands.  This GDI powerplant produces 293hp at 6,400rpm and 255lb.ft. of torque at 5,200rpm.  The advanced all-aluminum engine features dual continuously variable valve timing for improved fuel economy and performance, a maintenance-free timing chain, a three-step variable induction system for enhanced torque and is designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline.

To further maximize me enjoyment and excitement behind the wheel is the sport-tuned fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front including coil springs and an anti-roll bar.  The rear multi-link setup features coil springs, dual flow gas-charged shocks and an anti-roll bar.  I guided the Cadenza through its paces with the motor-driven power-assisted rack & pinion steering system.  It gave me a great feel for the road with excellent on-center feel and fast reaction to my inputs.  The steering system features a 14.3:1steering ratio and just 2.9 lock-to-lock for excellent sporty driving.

2014 Kia Cadenza Beauty Rear Done Small

Furthering my engaging driving experience and safety is the reduction in NVH, 60% of the body structure is strengthened with high-tensile steel (HTS), which is lighter and stronger than traditional steel and results in reduced overall weight and improved torsional rigidity.  HTS is produced through a 1,650 degree hot-stamping process, designed to toughen steel.  Cadenza also features an extensive list of noise-reducing technologies including a hydraulic transmission mount, optimally tuned damper on the rear cross member, triple door seals, and specially designed wheels with multiple fins to help reduce wind noise at highway speeds.

Quickly and safely slowing the all-new Cadenza down from speed are large, four-wheel disc brakes.  Up front are 12.6 vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.2 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS, Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) all work together to keep me on track during spirited driving and when attacking steeply curving roads.

The base Cadenza rides on 18X8 inch wheels and tires but the Technology Package that I tested came with 19X8.5 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 245/40R19 inch low-profile, high-performance all-season radial tires for a smooth, quiet ride with excellent grip.

2014 Kia Cadenza Dashboard Done Small

The interior of the Cadenza shows Kia’s attention to detail and envelops all in a premium environment complete with soft leather seats and tasteful accents of wood and chrome.  The dashboard is made of premium soft-to-the touch materials and even the door pulls inserts are lined with the same wood trim.  Ambient lighting and horizontally positioned switch gear communicate an uncluttered and sophisticated aesthetic.  An elegant analog clock is positioned between the automatic climate controls lends a classic feel.  The center console is canted toward me for optimized control, and an optional 7 inch high-resolution TFT LCD screen in the gauge cluster showcases a wide range of vehicle information including turn-by-turn navigation and infotainment.  Elegant chrome bezels surround the HVAC and audio controls, air vents and the standard push-button start/stop.  Standard Bluetooth, one-touch automatic up/down power front windows and power-folding heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators all enhance the Cadenza’s premium image.  The leather-wrapped/wood trimmed/power tilt/telescopic steering wheel feels great in my hands and gives me the perfect reach and angle.  Offered in one opulently equipped trim level, Premium, the Cadenza takes in-car technology and infotainment to an entirely new level.  Standard features include an advanced navigation system with SiriusXM Traffic and UVO eServies, displayed on a high-resolution 8 inch touch screen.

2014 Kia Cadenza Front Seats Done Small

Further enhancing driver assurance is a standard Rear-Camera Display and Back Up Warning system, and a premium 550-watt Infinity 12-speaker audio system including rear surround speakers and subwoofer that provides an entertainment feast for the ears.  Cadenza’s standard equipment level exceeds many premium brands, as all vehicles come equipped with leather seat trim with heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration and rear seat ventilation, Smart Key keyless entry, and 10-way adjustable driver’s seat and Bluetooth wireless technology.  As I mentioned above, my test Cadenza came with the Luxury Package that features a full-length panoramic sunroof with power retractable sunshade, HID headlights with adaptive front lighting system, 7-inch TFT LCD Supervision instrument cluster, premium Nappa leather seats, a memory-enabled 12-ventillated driver’s seat with seat cushion extension for unsurpassed comfort and support for long trips, a heated steering wheel and the above mentioned power tilt/telescopic steering column.

2014 Kia Cadenza Back Seats Done Small

The rear passenger experience is further enhanced with rear outboard heated seats, as well as a power sunshade, premium headliner trim, and pull-down dual cupholders.  More standard equipment also includes grab handles above each door, front console with dual cupholders, storage bin and armrest, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, dual lighted vanity mirrors, dual map lights, map pockets behind the front seats, variable speed wipers/washers and thick-cut pile carpeting.  The Technology Package includes advanced smart cruise control, blind spot detection system, lane departure warning system electronic parking brake, floor/trunk mats, hydrophobic front door windows and 19X8.5 inch alloy wheels/tires.

Standard safety equipment includes dual front airbags, dual front and rear seat-mounted airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

Kia has finally thrown its hat into the premium sedan segment and after my seven-day test drive I would think that the competition has another vehicle to contend with as the all-new Cadenza offers more premium amenities, comfort, convenience and infotainment features that come standard, as well as a powerful engine, an engaging and sporty ride with the latest in safety systems.  Kia can do luxury.



  • Price: $35,100.00/$$41,100.00 as tested loaded
  • Engine: 3.3 liter direct-injection DOHC V6 293 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm / 255 lb.ft. of torque @ 5,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 112 inches
  • Total length: 195.5 inches
  • Total width: 72.8 inches
  • Total height: 58.1 inches
  • Track: f/r-63 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.4 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38 inches with panoramic sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-45.5/36.8 inches
  • EPA interior volume: 122.7 cu.ft.
  • EPA cargo volume: 15.9 cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: 36.5 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,792 pounds
  • EPA mileage: 19mpg/city, 28mpg/highway



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