2014 Kia Cadenza hits a home run
There's now one more reason to admire the folks at Kia: the 2014 Cadenza.
It's been mentioned here a few times in the past that Kia has become a "player" among its automobile manufacturing competitors. The jokes regarding cheap vehicles that were a questionable buy for many years are long gone.
Kia and Hyundai, who share a symbiotic relationship, are both big-time players these days.
And what is the relationship between these two South Korean automakers? Although the brands share factories, engineering and meet at least yearly to discuss final product decisions, Kia and Hyundai operate independently when it comes to marketing, distribution and styling.
Kia can now add the Cadenza to its stable of vehicles that warrant mass appeal. The Cadenza is a large, attractive sedan that comes with an array of standard features and receives high marks for comfort, performance and handling.
The Cadenza is a big improvement over Kia's last entry into the large sedan category - the Amanti. Around for seven years, Kia grounded the Amanti in 2009 following tepid sales.
Don't expect the Cadenza to suffer the same fate. It's already being lauded by auto experts as a sedan that will "stand apart from the crowd."
The Cadenza is being compared to similar vehicles like the Buick LaCrosse, Toyota Avalon, Chrysler 300 and the Volkswagen Passat.
Car shoppers take note: for better or worse, shopping for a Cadenza is easy because there are few choices to make. There is only one Cadenza trim model, so take it or leave it, although one can add from an impressive list of extra upgrades.
The base model driven here for a week costs roughly $35,100, but the extras pushed the asking price to just over $41,000.
Personally, I'm not sure one needs to add much to the basic Cadenza, thanks to a very impressive standard features list that includes rain-sensing wipers; power-folding sideview mirrors; dual-zone automatic climate control; leather upholstery; 10-way power driver seat, four-way power passenger; heated front seats; rearview camera; park assist; navigation system; and a 12-speaker Infinity sound system with satellite radio.
The lone powertrain is a highly efficient 3.3-liter, V6 that produces 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The front-wheel drive Cadenza goes 0-60 mph at 7.0 seconds. And frankly, it felt faster than that on the Colorado/Wyoming trip I took that featured plenty of freeway and mountainous driving.
However, there are a few negatives. No powertrain options won't please everyone. And another negative is the fuel efficiency, which at 19-28 mpg is nothing substantial these days.
Although the Cadenza is listed as a large sedan, it doesn't look or even feel like one, which is a good thing from this viewpoint. It features a firm suspension that provides a smooth, quiet, sporty ride.
I'm also a fan of the Cadenza interior. The cabin is upscale, but not to the degree of having too many hard-to-master controls. Everything is reachable and fairly intuitive. The cabin is roomy for both front and backseat occupants, and the trunk offers plenty of room.
For a first-year vehicle, the Cadenza comes out of the chute with very few issues. There's a lot to really like about the Cadenza, and the enviable Kia powertrain warranty - 10 years/100,000 miles - is one more thing to admire.
2014 Kia Cadenza
- Performance: 3.3-liter V6 generating 293 horsepower
- Mileage estimate range: 19-28 mpg
- Price: $35,100
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/unlimited