New & Used Kia Cadenza: In Depth
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The Cadenza is the biggest sedan within the Kia lineup and it sits above the mid-sized Optima. Based only on the Cadenza’s available features, it qualifies as a luxury sedan, which has moved the brand up-market from its conventional consumer car heritage. It competes with the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Hyundai Azera, Acura TL, and the Nissan Maxima.
After a few years without an entry in this class (and in the top spot of the lineup formerly occupied by the Amanti), the Cadenza has been introduced for the 2014 model year. With prices ranging up to about $42k, it's the most expensive vehicle in Kia's current lineup.
Although the Cadenza is closely related to the Hyundai Azera, it has entirely different sheetmetal and interior appointments. By design, the Cadenza is one of the best-looking Kia models yet, with the proportions of a sport sedan and a design that makes the most of the trim, taut, and clean sheetmetal of all the newest Kia products designed under Peter Schreyer. The Cadenza looks European-influenced, but not derivative in any way up close.
Power for the Cadenza is provided by a 293-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6, hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission and driving the front wheels. With 255 pound-feet of torque made at higher revs, it's not quite as strong at the low revs as some other V-6 engines, but the automatic transmission is a good companion. There's also a manual gate and steering-wheel paddle shifters in all models. The Cadenza isn't tuned like the sport sedan that it could be mistaken for, but it's sporty and responsive for a comfort-oriented car. And if you're comparing the Cadenza to some models in this class, its 19 mpg city, 28 highway ratings are fair to somewhat disappointing.
Comfort is indeed the focus for the 2014 Cadenza; it has plenty of legroom all around, and with the Luxury Package the front seats have extendable thigh supports and ventilation for the driver's seat. Other options inside include a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, as well as plush Nappa leather. Overall, materials, upholstery, and switchgear are very impressive throughout the cabin. Ride quality is on the firm side for a luxury car, but the Cadenza is tight and refined, with enough noise insulation to filter out most road and wind noise. The only disappointment is that the available panoramic sunroof ends up severely limiting rear headroom.
Standard equipment in the Cadenza includes LED taillamps and running lamps, smart-key entry, cruise control, a rear camera system, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and a 550-watt Infinity sound system. Also standard is a new infotainment system with eight-inch touch screen and navigation with satellite-radio-based traffic information. At the top of the range, the Technology Package adds smart cruise control, blind spot detection, and a lane-departure warning system, among other things--all typically found on more expensive luxury cars.