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2014 Kia Cadenza

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2014 Kia Cadenza Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.0

Mixing a segment-straddling starting price of just over $35,000 with premium-level amenities including an available Nappa leather upgrade, the 2014 Kia Cadenza large sedan is a new expression of the automaker’s feature-driven value offering. Kia’s largest and priciest offering to date, the Cadenza conveys a sportier image than either its Hyundai Azera corporate cousin or the benchmark Toyota Avalon, even if it isn’t as fun to drive as the smaller Nissan Maxima or (barely) pricier Acura TL. The Cadenza isn’t as to-the-bone refined as some of its more seasoned competitors, but the resulting ride and handling shortcomings are subtle at worst. The 2014 Cadenza is the latest surprise from Kia, but not to those familiar with the automaker’s most recent offerings.

You'll Like This Car If...

Sportier than Toyota Avalon and Chevy Impala, roomier than Nissan Maxima and an arguable alternative to premium-badged sedans like the Lexus ES 350 and Acura TL, the 2014 Kia Cadenza is hard not to like.

You May Not Like This Car If...

We like the Cadenza’s ride/handling mix, but the segment offers both sportier and softer alternatives for those looking for a more focused option.

What's New for 2014

A new nameplate in a new category for Kia, the Cadenza is about as new as it gets.

Driving the Cadenza
Driving Impressions

The 2014 Kia Cadenza isn’t as sporty as it looks, but that’s probably a good thing. In the front-wheel-drive large sedan segment, comfort is a higher priority than performance, and...

... the firmer ride that typically accompanies more athletic handling isn’t worth the compromise for most buyers. That’s not to say the Cadenza is a softy – it’s shown us a good time on some good roads – only that it plays in the same comfortable ballpark as its competitors.

Built on the same platform and driven by the same V6 powertrain as the Hyundai Azera, we were surprised by the Cadenza’s superior steering and suspension feel. Other highlights include a seamless powertrain that leaves the line smoothly, and a cabin that remains notably quiet on the highway. Rough pavement can belie the sense of sophistication the rest of the car works hard to convey, but overall, the Cadenza drives about the same as any of today’s good large sedans.

ADVANCED SMART CRUISE CONTROL
The 2014 Kia Cadenza offers an adaptive cruise control system that will bring the vehicle to a full stop in sync with the car ahead, and automatically start forward again if the stop was two seconds or less.

WHITE INTERIOR PACKAGE
If you spend the extra $6,000 to add the Luxury and Technology packages, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a ritzy white Nappa leather interior – free of charge.

2014 Kia Cadenza Details
2014 Kia Cadenza photo Interior

The Cadenza’s stylishly straightforward all-black dash is a big part of the car’s sporty persona. Working backward, the front seats are good but not best-in-class, the rear seat is as roomy as you expect from a large sedan and the trunk is big enough to swallow an entire foursome’s golf bags. The highlight, though, may be the overall sense of quality and refinement.

Exterior
2014 Kia Cadenza photo

The 2014 Kia Cadenza is one of those un-radical designs that looks good at first, and then looks better and better as its reserved but powerful lines and subconsciously satisfying proportions work their way into your soul.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

At its starting sticker price of $35,900 with destination, the 2014 Kia Cadenza includes keyless entry and pushbutton start, leather seating, an 8-inch central display, navigation, a 550-watt/12-speaker Infinity audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/Satellite radio, plus USB, Bluetooth and auxiliary audio connectivity. UVO eServices is also standard. In addition to a bunch of other cool infotainment capabilities – many of them voice-activated – Kia's next-gen UVO system leverages your smartphone to automatically call 911 in the event of an airbag deployment, and lets you send a navigation destination from your computer to the car.

Optional Equipment

A fully loaded 2014 Kia Cadenza is priced at $41,900 and includes premium-grade highlights such as smooth Nappa leather, an LCD gauge cluster, a ventilated driver’s seat with extendable thigh support, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, a panoramic moonroof, and a bunch of other features you’ll want to show your friends.

Under the Hood

The Cadenza’s sole powertrain comprises a 3.3-liter V6 engine matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. The setup is similar to what you’ll find elsewhere in the segment, and the Kia’s is as good as any of them. Similarly, fuel economy is about average for the category.

3.3-liter V6
293 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg

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