2014 Kia Cadenza Limited Long-Term Road Test - Introduction

2014 Kia Cadenza Limited Long-Term Road Test


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2014 Kia Cadenza Limited Long-Term Road Test: Introduction

December 13, 2013

Kia's got a reputation with American shoppers, one that generally rings the "low price" and "great warranty" bells. That worked when the company was new to the scene, but now it wants to take a big step forward with cars that compete in higher price categories while still delivering huge value.

The all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza is a major step in that direction. It's a big four-door sedan packed with luxury touches and high-tech features. With a $36,000 base, it's easily the most expensive car the brand has ever sold in the U.S. But can it compete against long-entrenched luxury brands with well-known names and desirable reputations? We've got 12 months to find out just that.

What We Got
Kia has decided to avoid the traditional luxury play of oodles of options with the 2014 Cadenza. Instead, it's offering the car in two trims with minimal options. A Premium Cadenza starts at $35,900 and gets a 293-horsepower 3.3-liter V6, six-speed automatic transmission, voice-activated navigation with 8-inch display, back-up sensors, 19-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated leather 10-way power driver seat (four-way power passenger seat), stainless-steel illuminated door scuff plate, push-button start and more.

Kia loaned us a Limited model, which starts at $43,200. It adds chromed-out 19-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, blind spot monitor, panoramic sunroof, HID headlights, LED foglights, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning system, 7-inch TFT display in the dash, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, powered rear sunshade, Napa leather, extendable thigh support and cooled seats.

The only actual option our test car has is the $50 cargo net, which makes this a $43,250 Kia Cadenza.

Why We Got It
The full-size sedan segment is shrinking. Midsize sedans have gotten bigger and bigger, and buyers wanting that traditional "big car feel" have mostly moved to SUVs. It's a shame, too, because the current crop of full-sizers is better than it's ever been. The new Toyota Avalon is powerful, comfortable, good-looking and maybe the best-driving Toyota available. And then there's the all-new 2014 Chevy Impala, a car that sucker-punched the entire segment by transforming from a rental queen into something truly desirable. Of course, there's also the Hyundai Azera, which is closely related to our all-new Cadenza. They even have the same engine.

It's a competitive field, but Kia's hoping that it can build some separation from the group with standout styling, a deep feature set and a price that is competitive, not cheap. But jumping that $40,000 barrier in a Kia is still a risky move. In our Cadenza First Drive we said: "The 2014 Kia Cadenza surprised us with an elegant combination of driving dynamics, build quality and easy-to-use tech features. But it won't do that for anyone who can't see beyond the badge."

Now we've got 12 months and 20,000 miles to see beyond the badge and if this 2014 Kia Cadenza Limited really can live up to its promises and its price tag.

Best MPG: 23.6
Worst MPG: 23.6
Average MPG: 23.6

The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.


  • carzluvrz carzluvrz Posts:

    Sorry, just not feeling this Kia at all. It's sibling the Optima "look" nicer than this Cadenza.

  • zoomzoomn zoomzoomn Posts:

    Nice enough car, but why the heck is it named after a piece of furrniture? :/

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    An interesting choice for a long term test. I still would have thought that Edmunds would go with a more high-volume choice like the aforementioned new Impala, but it should be interesting to see what kind of value Kia brings to the table in this market segment. Maybe at some point you guys can do a little comparison and also compare to it's Hyundai sibling.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @zoomzoom Cadenza, or Credenza? Or Cressida?

  • I can't imagine trying to keep those wheels clean or all of that white leather.

  • jeffinoh jeffinoh Posts:

    The more I see this car, the more it appeals to me. The exterior proportions are just right. Its shape is strong yet clean. The details are fresh but not gaudy. Not sure the interior quality is a match though.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Your comment about seeing more than a badge is so true. When my dad was looking for a new car earlier this year, I suggested a Kia Optima. He was repulsed by the thought of owning a Kia. Instead he bought an Audi, and my wife and I went ahead and bought an Optima. The funny thing is that the Kia has almost all of the features of the Audi (and in the case of the cooled front seats, dual-pane sunroof, and a more powerful more efficient engine, more) yet costs about 33% less. A badge isn't worth that much to me.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Hmm...$36k and no HIDs? Seems like an oversight. Interested to follow this car through LT ownership, though.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    Interesting that Kia loaned it to you. Now we won't know how it would have fared when you unload the car at the end of a year. Will you be paying for maintenance?

  • drhorrible drhorrible Posts:

    Due to the dumb feature of posting a comment so that you can see what comments that were left.

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