When Hyundai announced they were going to make a large, luxury, sedan I said publicly that this was a bad idea, they should stick to what they are good at, small great cars. When Kia announced they were going to do the same thing, I took it seriously, knowing Hyundai knows what they are doing building a luxury car. I am glad I waited to pass judgment, the Cadenza is a really nice car.
A couple of things that I want to mention early in this review are that this car gets a lot of notice. I can’t count how many people were shocked it was a Kia, and how many people have told me how pretty it is. Second, usually when I review a car, it has fewer than 1000 miles, often under 300 miles. My tester this week has 16,000 miles, and if you know anything about press fleet cars, that is like over 30,000 normal miles. The quality of the Cadenza is there in all areas. I am impressed with how things have held together, and the lack of signs of wear on the interior.
Speaking of interior, this one is terrific. Large, comfortable, heated and cooled white Nappa leather seats await you in the Cadenza. There is an amazing amount of legroom for front passengers, and a cavernous back seat that will seat three adults easily. Everything operates from a 7” color monitor that is vivid, especially when the rearview camera kicks on.
Under the hood, there is a 293-horse 3.3-liter V6 engine hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration and shifting are smooth, quiet, and determined, and honestly I thought it had a larger engine. There are paddle shifters on the steering wheel if you want to better control the shift bands.
The standard feature list reads like a Monroney sticker on a Lexus. You get dual-zone air conditioning, navigation system, and Bluetooth. It has leather, power, heated seats, push button start, LED front and rear lights, steering wheel controls, and a lot more.
There are two terrific and well-priced packages. The first is the Technology Package, which gives you adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, an electronic parking brake, and 19” alloy wheels. That will cost you $3000 retail. For another $3000, you can get the luxury package, with is a dual-pane power sunroof with a power shade, HID headlights, Nappa leather, power drivers seat extension for those with long legs, cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seat, power rear sunshade, and power tilt wheel. Both packages are priced great.
Kia Cadenza handles great, and the ride is impressive on rough roads or freeways. The interior quietness is noticeable. It has a huge trunk, and the layout of the dash is easy to read, operate, and has a learning curve of less than a minute. I find this car reminiscent of the Hyundai Azera, a car I really loved.
When Kia came to the United States 20 years ago, I could not have imagined a car like this coming out of Korea, but it is an all-new day, and this is a terrific car. If you have any bad memories of the Kia Amante-forget it. The only thing they have in common is the Kia badge, and the 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
What I liked most: The interior, the exterior looks, and the value.
What I would change: I got nothing.
MSRP: Base price $35,900, as equipped $41,900.
Fuel Economy: Stated at 19 in town/28 highway/22 combined. Actual mileage for me was 20 in town, 30 on the highway, both without really trying.
Weight: 3792 Pounds.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons
2014 Kia Cadenza in a few words: A true luxury car contender, and must-see.
Warranty: 5 year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
Dealers: We have great dealers for all Kia products in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Raleigh, Sacramento, and San Antonio.