2014 Kia Cadenza Premium Track Test on Edmunds.com

2014 Kia Cadenza Premium: Track Test

Can 293 Horsepower and Front-Wheel Drive Coexist?


Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Back in March of this year, we got our hands on the new full-size sedan from Kia, the 2014 Kia Cadenza. We drove it. We liked it. But that car was a preproduction car and we couldn't test it.

Now we have.

During our first drive, we found the 3.3-liter, 293-horsepower V6 to be well suited to the car and guessed that it would perform very similar to the 2013 Hyundai Azera, with which it shares a platform and engine. The Azera posted a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds and ran through the quarter-mile in 15.0 seconds at 94.8 mph. On the handling front, the Azera held the road at 0.80g around our skid pad and snaked through the slalom at 63.2 mph.

Does the Kia keep up with its Hyundai cousin? We took it to the track to find out.

Vehicle: 2014 Kia Cadenza Premium
Odometer: 2,272
Date: 7/23/2013
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $35,100 (base)

Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,342/204
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 293 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 255 @ 5,200
Brake Type (front): Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): Solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone, independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P245/40R19 (94V) M+S
Tire Size (rear): P245/40R19 (94V) M+S
Tire Brand: Hankook
Tire Model: Optima H426
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,781

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.7 (3.0 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.6 (4.9 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.8 (7.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.5 (6.8 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.0 (10.4 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.0 @ 94.2 (15.3 @ 94.2 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 128

Slalom (mph): 63.4
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.76 (0.76 w/ ESC on)

Db @ Idle: 37.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 74.3
Db @ 70-mph cruise: 59.8
RPM @ 70: 2,100


Acceleration: The car responds well to both wheelspin and being held against the brakes before launch. Because the car auto-upshifts even in manual-shift mode, I wasn't able to try manual shifting for acceleration. Engine pulls forcefully all the way to 500-rpm shy of redline when it upshifts. Shifts are smooth and quick. The driveline is perhaps the most sophisticated part of this package. Also, the Cadenza is remarkably quiet at 70 mph.

Braking: A noticeable lack of initial bite after hitting the pedal, yet pedal remained firm throughout the test. Thereafter, the ABS cycles slowly with individual grab and release events. Distances remained well grouped: however, rather long for a car under 4,000 pounds.


Slalom: The 2014 Kia Cadenza feels like an Audi A8L should, but doesn't, meaning long and apt to pendulum. The ESC is set to conservative limits; however, it's effective and only slightly off-putting. It uses quick brake dabs and goes away before the next cone in line. Steering is direct with good precision, properly weighted and feels natural, but the dampers add some delay in actual direction changes.

Skid pad: As the limits of the front tires approach, the ESC bleeds throttle to avoid using brakes to keep the car on a smooth arc. Steering also feels natural here, with proper weight and feedback.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.



  • wlm26 wlm26 Posts:

    Maybe the Cadenza looks better in person, but from all of the pics I've seen, this is about the most bland vehicle I've ever seen. Right there with the last generation of the Optima. Just absolutely blah.

  • I always thought that the Kia logo would look best if it were located dead center of the grill on all Kia models. I think that this is a very nice effort for a full size near luxury sedan (as long as the price can be held below $40K and generously optioned). Good steering and handling for a large, front wheel drive sedan.

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    The Maxima is already able to achieve better numbers then these and is riding on an 2009 platform. I'll give Kia credit that they have improved drastically in the last several years; however, the Cadenza is still not as good as the Avalon or Maxima.

  • I just saw this on the lot of a local Ford/KIA dealer and, not that I ever thought it looked all that good in photos, in person, it looked cheap(ish) and just plain boring. The competition has changed since this oddball was introduced as a concept and now, I can't see why anyone would want to drive around in this even comparing to it's own Optima.

  • greg128 greg128 Posts:

    My wife's Saturn Aura is faster.....

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    It took time to place where I've seen this car before, and it looks like a Malibu to me. The Azera is more pleasing. Funny thing is I like the Optima over the Sonata, but stretching it out in this form...no. @lions has got the right idea.

  • aajones85 aajones85 Posts:

    that's just about the same track specs as the 2014 Chevy 1500. not very impressive for nearly 300 horsepower.

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