2014 Kia Cadenza Premium Sedan (3.3L V6 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 7/23/2013
With a starting price of more than $35,000, the 2014 Kia Cadenza breaks the Kia mold of offering inexpensive alternatives. Its advanced UVO infotainment system and quiet cabin give an upscale ambiance in the luxury sedan segment. Seat comfort and ride quality leave something to be desired, however.
PerformanceThe Cadenza is easy to drive every day as expected from a luxury sedan. Acceleration is appropriate for a vehicle of this size, though braking is a tick behind the norm. Steering and handling is on par for a sedan of this caliber.
The 3.3-liter, 293 horsepower V6 never felt underpowered. Its six-speed automatic transmission was smooth, even shifting manually via steering wheel mounted paddles. Acceleration from 0-to-60 mph took 6.5 seconds, above average for this segment.
The brakes are well up to the task of bringing the 3,700-pound Cadenza to a stop. Brake engagement is a bit jumpy, but predictably so. Still, it required 128 feet to reach a stop from 60 mph, which is rather long for this type of car.
The electric power steering feels well-weighted and natural, but there is a slight delay between input and reaction. Sensitive drivers will notice.
There is a fair amount of body roll from the soft suspension and a lot of understeer, even for a car like this. The Cadenza isn't a sports car and doesn't handle like one.
The Cadenza is easy to drive with light and easy steering. The brakes are a bit touchy initially but progressive through the rest of the stroke. The engine and transmission pair nicely together. No surging or gear hunting.
ComfortNoise isolation is an area where the Cadenza does it right. Some will find seat comfort issues after long periods in the saddle. The suspension transmits more vibration from road imperfections than we expect from a luxury-minded sedan.
The driver seat bottom is supportive for short drives, but after time we found ourselves shifting regularly to remain comfortable. Needs more bolstering and adjustability. Lumbar support is merely adequate.
Bumps and dips are effectively absorbed by the suspension. Sharp impacts are less isolated. Some stretches of freeway expansion joints emphasized this flaw to nearly unacceptable levels. Some folks may expect more from the ride quality.
This Kia has a very quiet idle, but at full throttle the engine noise becomes intrusive. Fortunately the V6 is strong enough that this is a rarity. Wind and tire noise remain outside the car where they belong. This is a quiet place to be.
InteriorErgonomic considerations are a highlight of the Cadenza. It could use help in the storage department. The lack of a folding rear seatback is a flaw, despite its spacious trunk. The shape of its roofline may be problematic for taller riders.
A tilt and telescoping steering wheel helps driver comfort. Redundant audio controls combine hard buttons, knobs and touchscreen buttons. The UVO infotainment system is above average in usability and customization.
The doors open widely and are light enough that they're easily managed. Most will find entry into and out of the front seats to be easy. Taller passengers get a roof to the temple if they don't take care climbing into the back seats.
Six-footers will have headroom issues in all seating positions. And if the driver seat is too far back, the door armrest is too far forward for elbow resting. Rear-seat leg and knee room is excellent, even for adults.
A high trunklid limits rearward visibility. This is negated somewhat by a standard rearview camera. Forward visibility is good, obscured only slightly by thick a-pillar beams. Windows offer plenty of access to the outside world.
The Cadenza has 15.9 cu-ft of trunk space with a wide opening. Rear seatbacks do not fold, which is unfortunate. There is a 7-inch-square pass-through. Interior storage nooks are average, including bins beneath the center stack and center armrest.
ValueKia broke from its low-pricing strategy with the Cadenza thanks to a base price of $35,000. Add the luxury and technology packages and the price can top $41,000. The quality isn't bad, maybe not quite up to the price. The warranty terms remain superb.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Some of the switchgear feels down-market for a luxury vehicle. Interior materials are otherwise of a higher quality and give the cabin an upscale touch. No panel gaps or fit and finish issues of note.
Navigation, UVO eServices and Bluetooth are standard, as are dual-zone climate control, leather trimmed seats and paddle shifters. Options raise the price quickly. Our well-appointend test car was $41,900.
The $3,000 Technology package added electronic safety features such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection. The $3,000 Luxury package increased interior comfort with the likes of Nappa leather and a larger display screen.
The EPA prepared us for 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway). Our Edmunds-observed fuel economy was 21.5 mpg after 800 miles of driving.
The Cadenza's 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty tie Hyundai for industry bests. The Chrysler 300 comes close with its 5-year/100,000-mile drivetrain coverage.
Roadside assistance is covered for 5 years/60,000 miles, though the Chrysler 300 is covered for 100k. The Cadenza comes with free maintenance for 3 years/37,500 miles, topping the Toyota Avalon and Volkswagen Passat.
Fun To DriveThe Cadenza isn't the most luxurious or serene cabin on the road. It offers a good enough combination of both to bring something to the table, but fun isn't on the menu.
With ample sound damping and a ride that can get floaty, the driving experience is one of isolation.
The degree of comfort offered by the Cadenza gives it some character. No raw power. No excitement. More of a low-effort cruiser than anything else.