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2014 Kia Cadenza Premium Review & Test Drive

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The new 2014 Kia Cadenza is another mark in the growing recognition of Kia’s prominence in the automotive market, slightly merging into mainstream full-sized luxury sedans. The new Kia Cadenza, a completely new model for 2014 in the Kia lineup, ties together the brand’s reach into entry-level luxury with a well-designed and appointed front-wheel-drive full-sized sedan.


Having spent a week with the all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza, it really brings home the perception many have shared with Kia coming a long way in America from its introduction in the late 90s. The new Cadenza grabs hold of any lingering negative connotations with the brand and sets them afire, in a good way. Casting out negative thoughts altogether, the Kia Cadenza can run with the linking’s of the bread-and-butter midsized and full-sized sedans we find common placed throughout the streets of suburban America. The only negative takeaway is the Kia badge for those who are still not willing to recognize the brand for its current solid standing in the entry-level luxury dominion.

The new Cadenza is offered in two trim levels, my test vehicle’s Premium trim, and Limited model. The Limited offers up several additional standard features over the Premium trim, such as standard LED fog lights, 19-inch wheels and Nappa leather seat trim. Mind you, some of these Limited trim features are offered as options within a limited amount of packages.


Starting with a decently-long wheelbase and front-wheel-drive setup matched to its 3.3-liter V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, the new Kia Cadenza keeps things on a level playing field. There really isn’t much to jump out ahead of its competition other than the idea that the Cadenza is the first offering from Kia in the form of a plush full-sized vehicle, possibly pivoting the brand into another mainstream limelight aside from what the midsized Kia Optima has already done. The Cadenza takes much of that makeup from the Optima and incorporates a bit of additional luxury and grown-up looks, all without diminishing the forward momentum already set within the 4-door offerings Kia has had much success with in the past few years. The Cadenza, as the step before the all-new K-900 full-sized luxury sedan, paves a definable path to make a clear luxury statement while sporting the Kia badge.


The new 2014 Kia Cadenza gets 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque from its standard 3.3-liter V6 engine, which is the only powertrain available. Mated to its smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic almost reminds you of vehicles like the Toyota Avalon, unassuming yet substantial in its power delivery, smoothness and confidence-inspiring stability on the road. Altogether, this formulation yields a surprising 0-60 mph time of just 6.3 seconds. Efficiency of the V6-powered full-sized Cadenza comes in at an EPA estimated 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. During my week with the Cadenza I saw a steady 21.6 mpg around town and just over 27 mpg on the highway.

Behind the wheel of the new 2014 Kia Cadenza you get a nice reassurance of its firmly panted chassis but without sacrificing any of its excellent ride qualities. Basically, the new 2014 Kia Cadenza rides outstanding with a nice balance of sport and comfort, potentially surpassing the ride quality of many direct competitors exhibiting conventional suspension setups (sans adaptive dampers).


Sharing its platform with the Hyundai Azera, the new Cadenza borrows the good traits that the Korean brands have used throughout many of its vehicles, including some of its cross-over-utility vehicle offerings. The formulation of these bin parts, which you can easily pinpoint throughout the Cadenza’s cabin, if you are at all familiar with Hyundai and Kia vehicles, mesh well together. This careful unification of parts makes a delightful cabin that is highly functional, easy to use and exudes decent quality perception. The limited uses of plastics are composed of soft-touch surfaces with a nicely padded dashboard and door trim. The dark wood panel trim also adds some luxury appeal to the cabin while much of the controls and integrated LCD touch-screen for the infotainment system prove to be easily accessed without any confusion. The use of a large instrument panel LCD screen in the center of the gauge cluster, part of the optional Luxury package on my test vehicle, provides a large brightly-lit speedometer and a simplistic menu set for other vehicle information – adding another luxurious characteristic to the over-all formula.


The easy drivability of the new Kia Cadenza is one of its winning traits that could attract some enthusiasts, those who look for a full-sized vehicle that does not compromise on amenities for the benefit of its price remaining on target for full-sized luxury vehicles in the same segment. Putting the Cadenza through its paces on the road prove to be an enjoyable experience where it is much more planted than some of its direct competition. Much of this is tribute to its well-tuned suspension providing a good balance between sport and comfort. Additionally, the power delivery, mostly substantial at the upper-midrange RPM, is ample for this size of a vehicle. The front end tends to break loose under moderate to hard acceleration, and understeer comes in abundant amounts if pushed to the limit where stability control heavily steps in. The initial feedback to the driver is an excellent part of the new Kia Cadenza’s driving nature that could retain a small enthusiast audience.




My test vehicle, starting at its base MSRP of $35,100, was loaded up with the optional Technology Package ($3,000 – incl. advanced smart cruise control, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, 19-inch alloy wheels and hydrophobic front windows), Luxury Package ($3,000 – panoramic roof w/ power sunshade, HID headlights with adaptive lighting, Nappa leather seat and interior trim, power driver’s seat, ventilated drivers seat, heated outboard rear seats, heated steering wheel, supervision 7-inch LCD cluster screen, power tilt & telescoping steering wheel, driver’s memory seat and a power rear window sunshade) and the no-cost White Interior Package including white Nappa leather seat trim and a premium Alcantara-like headliner trim. Together, the package options bring the as-tested price to $41,900 including an $800 freight and handling charge. Base price for the all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza comes in at $35,900.

Copyright: 2014


  • Price: Base Cadenza Premium $35,900.00 / As-Tested Cadenza Premium $41,900.00
  • 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
  • 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 19mpg/city, 28mpg/highway

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