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We drive the Kia Cadenza

by Ali Arsham
Saturday, May 31, 2014

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Kia Cadenza
Kia has been on a roll lately introducing terrific cars in the entry-level and mid-level markets.  When you’re successful in entry-level markets there’s only one place to go and that would be up which is why Kia has come up with the new Kia Cadenza.  The Cadenza is a midsize car geared towards the luxury car buyer.  The Cadenza is Kia’s flagship sedan (until the K900 which just arrived)  which represents the most powerful and technologically advanced Kia ever offered in the US. 

We really wanted to check out the first-class appointments, advanced technology, and the beautiful design of the Cadenza for ourselves and managed to get our hand on a top-of-the-line Cadenza with the luxury and technology package.

The Cadenza is shooting for premium feel and features.  The long list of amenities and features that it offers is amazing when compared to other cars that cost a lot more.  When you compare, you will see that you are getting quite a bargain with the Cadenza.  Offered in only one 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 eServices displayed on a high-resolution 8-inch touch screen. 

The Kia Cadenza has a nicely appointed interior
Other features include a standard rear view camera and a premium 550 watt Infinity 12-speaker audio system including rear surround speakers and subwoofer.  It needs to be pointed out that the 550 watt system sounds amazing even at speed.  Of course it helps that the Cadenza is luxury car quiet at speed.  Other Cadenza standard features include soft leather seat trim with heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear seat ventilation, Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and more. 

Order the Luxury package and you also get a full-length panoramic sunroof with power retractable sunshade, HID headlights with adaptive front lighting system, 7-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, premium Nappa leather seats that feel so soft, a memory-enabled 12-way ventilated driver’s seat with seat cushion extension for unsurpassed comfort and support, heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescoping steering column and more. The rear passenger experience is further enhanced with rear outboard heated seats, as well as a power rear sunshade.

If you desire more, the Technology Package builds upon the Luxury Package with 19-inch alloy wheels, electric parking brake with auto hold and Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), which maintains a set distance to the vehicle ahead and helps bring the car to a full stop if necessary.  This package also includes water-repellant hydrophobic front side windows, radar-based Blind Spot Detection system (BSD) with Lane Change Assist, and Kia’s first-ever Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which provides audible and visual alerts to the driver should they unintentionally drift into another lane.

The Kia Cadenza has a very European look
On the outside, the Cadenza has a very conservative and European look.  It has a very Audi look to it without the Audi price tag.  Penned under the watchful eye of Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ President and Chief Design Officer, the Cadenza’s broad shoulders, contoured hood, large wheels and wide stance give it a strong, grounded appearance.

Every Cadenza is equipped with Kia’s smooth-revving 3.3-liter V6 which utilizes gasoline direct injection technology that improves performance while producing fewer emissions.  Power is transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that includes paddle shifters flanking the leather and wood-wrapped steering wheel.  The V6 powerplant produces 293 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 255 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm.  The transmission clicks off smooth shifts that are perfect for a luxury car and the gear ratios work well with the V6.  Most luxury sedans are rear wheel drive so having a front wheel drive sedan would be a negative to some buyers.  That would be a shame because most drivers would never know the difference since the Cadenza drives so well.

To maximize driver engagement and performance, the Cadenza features a sport-tuned fully independent suspension with a MacPherson strut setup in front and a multi-link rear design with dual flow shocks to enhance ride and performance.  Our Technology Package Cadenza came with 245/40R-19 tires which were quiet and provided decent grip even when driven pretty hard.

The Cadenza is not a sports sedan and it does not pretend to be one.  Having said that, it actually surprised us when pushed on some twisty roads with good balance and feel.  It will push at the limit and it does feel a little soft but at brisk speeds, it feels just fine and the tradeoff is the great ride and quietness that you earn as a bonus. 

Kia prices have always been a pleasant surprise and the Cadenza does not disappoint.  The base Cadenza prices start out at just $35,100.  Add the Luxury Package and add $3000 to that.  The Technology Package will cost you another $3000 but most of the good items are included in the Luxury Package.  Either way, when you consider that a comparable German sedan will cost you $20,000 more, this is a great deal and we applaud Kia for what they have done.

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