2014 Kia Cadenza Limited Long-Term Road Test

2014 Kia Cadenza: About Adaptive Cruise Control

July 17, 2014

2014 Kia Cadenza

Adaptive cruise control is a technology that not too long ago was restricted to flagship-type vehicles like our Mercedes CL65, but now, is trickling down to cars like the Ford Fusion, Jeep Cherokee and our 2014 Kia Cadenza. The systems themselves differ between manufacturers and some are certainly better than others in regards to functionality and additional features. The Cadenza's is one of the better ones.

It will bring the car down to a complete stop if needed without input from the driver (others will at some point alert you to take over and brake), but doesn't go so far as to start back up again without the driver pressing Resume (Mercedes' Distronic Plus and others do this, including in stop-and-go traffic).

The Cadenza's system also does a good job of recognizing the speed of the car ahead and reacting accordingly. Here are two scenarios where this is important. First, a faster car passes you on the left and you quickly pull in behind it. A lesser ACC system will simply detect the car ahead initially, freak out and hit the brakes because it's deemed you to be too close. A better system like the Cadenza's will recognize that the car ahead is moving faster than you and although presently too close, won't be for long. Perhaps it backs off the gas a little, but certainly won't drop anchor.

The second scenario involves a slower car ahead. If the system detects a vehicle in the distance that is moving much slower than you are, it will start to gradually decelerate instead of waiting to suddenly drop anchor. This is better for smooth driving, although it can be annoying when on a multi-lane freeway, as the car begins to slow itself down long before you'd normally even think about changing lanes to pass. This requires extra thought on your part to anticipate when that car will be detected (something ACC is supposed to reduce) and extra gasoline usage when recouping the speed you've lost due to unnecessary slowing.  

Because of this and other reasons, I would not pay extra for adaptive cruise control, or at least would prefer if you could turn off its automated properties (as you can in Chrysler products, for example). Generally speaking, the annoyances outweigh the benefits.

2014 Kia Cadenza

There is one, definite exception though: the interminable slog between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where my fury towards other drivers knows no bounds. There are people driving too slow, there are people maniacally trying to set land speed records, tailgating is rampant and everyone drives in the left lane except for trucks, RVs and people who like driving the same speed (or slower) than trucks and RVs. Passing is usually done on the right and if you're a particularly significant jerk, accomplished by squeezing in at the last possible second before ramming into a semi and slowing down all the tailgating cars now behind you.

In short, traffic is constantly speeding up and constantly slowing down. It's infuriating and usually results in me reaching my destination tired and in a foul mood. With ACC, though, much of the mental and physical effort required to cope with this nonsense is transferred to the car itself. If I frequented Las Vegas, adaptive cruise control would therefore be worth its weight in gold. Or casino chips, I suppose.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,270 miles


  • kirkhilles1 kirkhilles1 Posts:

    That's ashame, I'm really looking forward to having these new automated technologies but it sounds like they are still in the early stages. We really need to get to a point where you can get on the highway, activate the system and go on a long trip in moderate traffic without concern.

  • sdegenn2 sdegenn2 Posts:

    I have a 2013 Taurus with ACC. The system works well, but does slow down on its own (when approaching other cars) kinda soon if you aren't paying attention. If you put slight pressure on the accelerator pedal, it disables ACC, which allows you to creep closer to the car in front of you than the system wants. My main gripe with the Ford system is that it won't bring the car to a full stop. It disengages below 25MPH, per design. But to me, it is SO much better to have ACC than a normal cruise control system. Hitting CANCEL/RESUME so frequently on a normal system gets old, fast. ACC is particularly nice when the highway is full of cars, and you can't just set a speed and forget it. Ford's ACC handles those speed fluctuations very well.

  • ebeaudoin ebeaudoin Posts:

    Off topic, but spinning 2,300 RPM @ 79 MPH is impressive in my opinion. As for ACC, I've never used it. I think it's cool technology but I'm not sure if I would be comfortable relying on it for my safety.

  • schen72 schen72 Posts:

    Does the Cadenza's ACC have a setting for how far away it will keep from the car ahead? My 2006 Acura RL can choose between three distance levels for the ACC.

  • joner800 joner800 Posts:

    i have a 2013 chrysler 300, my first car with ACC. i live in South Florida where bad driving (slowing in the left lane, aggressive/inconsiderate driving, lost tourists) is prevalent. at first, i hated ACC and didnt use it at all. i especially didnt like that it is undefeatable. but after some acclimating, it has proven useful for cruising with the wife or mom/mom-in-law, if youre like me and have to fight your aggressive driving tendencies and not give anyone in the car a heart attack on the way to dinner (or get yourself a ticket). the Chrysler system is fairly smooth in accelerating and has 1-3 car length adjustability. i find deceleration can be a little more abrupt if the car in front of you is slowing rapidly, but a tap of the gas stops the system instantly and temporarily and resumes once you let go. unfortunately, the system completely disengages as soon as the cars slows below 20mph, so the car will not come to a complete stop like the Kia. strangely for a car of its size, there is only one radar detector in front of the car and it is not centrally installed; instead it sits almost in front of the passenger seat below the front bumper, so the system displays different tendencies when switching lanes to the left as opposed the right - only a slight annoyance for the highly observant. it is worth noting that spring and summer here can bring heavy rains frequently and i have found ACC to be very useful for driving in inclement weather where i would normally tire of modulating the gas and brake to maintain a safe distance while keeping a moderate pace. i set the space to 3 lengths and use the steering wheel-mounted accelerate and decelerate buttons instead and it works extremely well even in extreme rain where you might assume the radar would be confused by the precipitation. sorry for the long post, but its an interesting topic to me!

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Undefeatable adaptive cruise is a deal breaker for me. Define "driving too slow", and do you even have a right to say that?. There is no alternate road from SoCal to Utah, so if the terrain is such that a vehicle struggles, it will be going slowly. Tough. The left lane habit on I-15 to Vegas is caused by car drivers not wishing to drive in the truck damaged right lane. There is no question that the ride is smoother on the left, but it is a poor excuse for left lane hogging. Mind you, even the shoulder of I-15 is a feather bed compared to the concrete jointed horror of I-10 East of Riverside (shudder).

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    > @agentorange said: > Define "driving too slow", Impeding the flow of traffic, defined in laymen's terms as: -Driving at an unreasonably slow speed, unless you cannot safely go faster, or on a grade. -Occupying the leftmost/passing lane with traffic behind you and space to get back into the right lane. -Spending unreasonable time passing another vehicle and blocking all lanes. i.e. running side by side. -When a jurisdiction has found that slow speeds can routinely cause accidents or traffic backups, and posts a minimum speed limit. i.e. Minimum posted speeds, usually ~45mph, on some highways. >and do you even have a right to say that? I completely agree with what you're saying here. If someone isn't breaking the law, at which point it is a police officer's job to decide if they're driving too slow, nobody has the right to declare others as too slow to be on the road. It is, after all, a **PUBLIC** road, and is as such filled with many different vehicles of many different capacities, driven by many different people of many different capabilities. I really wish we could see less of this "king of the road" complex. Just so we're clear, I'm not condoning and defending people breaking the above law, or poor driving habits regardless of wether they're legal or not, but standing up against "this is _my_ road" behavior. If someone's driving isn't conducive to your driving style or time frame, leave earlier, and think about modifying your driving behavior, not theirs.

  • pavanb pavanb Posts:

    how does the new sonata cruise compare?

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    @quadricycle. Thank you, and I have read or heard most of what you wrote before. I was after the Riswick definition.

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