With great proportions, an athletic stance, and clean, uninterrupted sheetmetal, the 2014 Kia Cadenza looks like a sport sedan even though it isn't. As with all the latest Kia products designed under the direction of Peter Schreyer, the Cadenza hints throughout that it's European-influenced, but whether you take the design a piece as a time or as a whole, it's definitely not derivative.
The Cadenza is closely related to the Hyundai Azera, but you'll never know it from the outside—or from the inside. To the point, they're completely different designs, and the Azera's smooth, flowing design and deeply sculpted sheetmetal stand in contrast to the Cadenza's taut, more athletic look.
From the side profile, the Cadenza is simply more interesting to look at than many other large sedans; the proportions are borrowed from sport sedans, not from the school of front-wheel drive, comfort-oriented models, and it all adds up to an athletic yet elegant stance. The rather blunt nose, combined with available HID headlamps and LED running lamps, and the quite long, nicely contoured hood, give it an overt look in front, while alongside, one neat and subtle crease wraps back to the taillights. A smoothly arched roofline, and a somewhat raised decklid all add up to a model that—like the current Kia Optima—gets everything right in terms of profile and silhouette;
Inside, the look is rich and finely detailed, with soft-touch and nicely grained materials for the upper dash, plus woodgrains for the steering wheel and dash and door trim. Controls and displays are laid out in a cockpit style, with plenty of supplementary steering-wheel controls. Front and center on the dash, there's a mix of the traditional and the leading edge. An analog clock lets us know that this model is reaching up to the premium and luxury crowd, while Kia's latest eight-inch high-resolution touch-screen system sits just above it. Two rows of buttons are laid out below the screen—the upper one for climate, the lower for audio and navigation.
Above, in some models, is a twin-panel panoramic roof setup; with its blacked-out panels, it helps punctuate the look from the outside, and it brings a lot more light into the cabin.