2014 Kia Cadenza: Is $43,200 Too Expensive?
July 21, 2014
Our 2014 Kia Cadenza is a spacious sedan that's perfectly nice to drive and crammed full of equipment. I'm sorry, though, there's just no way I'd pay $43,200 on a Kia Cadenza. Just reading that out loud sounds ridiculous, yet to be fair, I also wouldn't spend that much on a Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera or Toyota Avalon, if you could actually get them to cost that much.
Herein lies the problem, I believe, with the full-size sedan category. They aren't that much more spacious than midsize sedans like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord or new 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Increasingly, they aren't that better equipped. Really, the only significant thing extra you're paying for is perhaps better styling, a nicer interior and grander presence.
In the case of some of the cars listed above, that argument could be made. The Impala and Avalon are clearly superior cars to the Malibu and Camry, respectively. Could they ever possibly be worth $43,200? Or rather, could you ever possibly feel OK spending that much, even if the included equipment reasonably added up to that amount? I certainly couldn't. The same would apply to a more reasonable ballpark of $38,000 or thereabouts. Either way, that's luxury territory, and without a luxury badge, that's going to be a tough sell.
Furthermore, the Cadenza's Plain Jane Kia badge and the brand attached to it aren't helping things. I'm not even talking about the now-long-ago-history of quality issues or the lingering bad reputation as a result. Kia today largely markets itself as a youthful, hip brand with rapping hamsters driving Kia Souls, L.A. Clipper Blake Griffin and Adrianna Lima gallivanting about Kia Optimas and an extensive tie-in with DC Comics. That simply doesn't jive with a full-size sedan or would-be luxury car like the Cadenza (not to mention the full-blown luxury K900).
Indeed, when I met up with friends in Las Vegas recently, the question was inevitably asked: "So, what did you drive up?"
"A $43,200 Kia Cadenza."
Befuddled expressions stared back at me. Perhaps the car warrants that price, but it still sounds absolutely ridiculous.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,270 miles