2014 Kia Cadenza Photo
/ 10
On Performance
On Performance
The 2014 Kia Cadenza accelerates strongly and brakes confidently, but its steering and handling don't do anything to transcend the idea that this is a big sedan and that comfort comes first.
8.0 out of 10
Shopping for a new Kia Cadenza?


PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

The 3.3-liter V6 engine's power isn't great off the line, but our guess is that most shoppers in this segment won't mind.

the Cadenza's transmission doesn't rev-match on downshifts, so you can expect a little head toss particularly when using the paddle shifters
Motor Trend

Steering feel isn't anything special, but the electrically-assisted system is light and accurate.
Automobile Magazine

The driver finds himself or herself making small adjustments to a chosen corner line because the steering conveys no tactile information.
Popular Mechanics

Driving this full-size sedan conjures words like “low key” and “straightforward.”
New York Times

Kia makes no grand claims for the Cadenza's performance; and for those wanting a big sedan that appeals mostly on value, comfort, and style, it's not going to disappoint.

The 2014 Kia Cadenza is relatively quick and responsive for a car its size. That said, those who want something verging on a sport sedan are going to find that the Cadenza is missing some of the fine aesthetic nuance that can make a large, front-wheel-drive sedan rewarding to drive, and much of that is a matter of steering and handling.

Power is provided by a 3.3-liter V-6, making 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet. This new-generation, all-aluminum engine is direct-injected, with dual continuous variable valve timing, a timing chain, and three-stage variable induction.

The Cadenza's V-6 doesn't make all that much torque at the low end of the rev band (Toyota's V-6 in the Avalon feels perkier that way), which means that stepping away from a standing start, or up a steep hill, feel a bit more sluggish than you'd guess from its power output—until the revs build, and then you rocket ahead. Meanwhile fifth and sixth gear are quite tall, so the transmission downshifts frequently on long highway grades, or when simply resuming the cruise control from small drops in speed.

There's no sport mode for the powertrain or the stability control. There are however steering-wheel paddle-shifters, plus a manual gate, that let you manually command the gears.

Push the Cadenza (about 3,800 pounds as we tested it) hard into a corner, and you'll realize quickly that this is no sport sedan; the body control is better than some other large sedans, but it has neither the steering feel nor the transition chops to satisfy enthusiasts. Whether in steering feel, body control, or general responsiveness, this is a car that feels athletic enough on the twisty sections, provided you're not truly expecting to extract the most out of curvy canyon roads or hustling on country back roads. Brakes feel surprisingly strong and confident, however.

Steering feel is on the light side, and while it loads up enough off center to be helpful, there's very little, if any, feel of the road. It also requires more attention and small adjustments than it should at highway cruising speeds; although it adds up to great maneuverability at parking speeds.


The 2014 Kia Cadenza accelerates strongly and brakes confidently, but its steering and handling don't do anything to transcend the idea that this is a big sedan and that comfort comes first.

« Prev: Interior / Exterior Next: Comfort and Quality »

Would You Prefer a Free Dealer Price Quote?

With competitive price quotes from multiple dealers, you will be prepared when you meet your local car dealer. Please tell us how to contact you so that dealers can compete for your business!
There are no dealers in our network that are located near the ZIP code. Please change your ZIP code or see cars for sale near you.
Update ZIP Code
2. Tell us a little bit about yourself
We are committed to your privacy. By submitting this form you agree the phone number you provided may be used to contact you (including autodialed or pre-recorded calls). Consent is not a condition of purchase.
Other Choices Read More
/ 10
TCC Rating
/ 10
TCC Rating
/ 10
TCC Rating
/ 10
TCC Rating
/ 10
TCC Rating
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area

How does the
TCC Rating work?
The TCC Rating is a clear numeric rating value based on a 10-point scale that reflects the overall opinion of our automotive experts on any vehicle and rolls up ratings we give each vehicle across sub-categories you care about like performance, safety, styling and more.

Our rating also has simple color-coded “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange),
or “Go” (green) messages along with the numerical score so you can easily understand where we stand at a glance.

Our automotive experts then also collect and show you what other websites say about these different aspects of any vehicle. We do this leg work for you to simplify your research process.

Learn more about how we rate and review cars here.

© 2015 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.