2014 Kia Cadenza: Las Vegas Road Trip
November 25, 2014
Sometimes you get an itch to get the hell out of town and unwind for a couple of days. The mood struck me hard in early November, and I knew a trip to Las Vegas would do the trick. I got a few friends on board, requested our 2014 Toyota Highlander, and counted down the days. If only things were that easy...
You see, I had six people all ready to go, and the Highlander has six seats. A few days before we were scheduled to leave, I signed out the SUV to make sure we would all fit. We found out the hard and uncomfortable way that a couple of six-footers couldn't be crammed into the third-row seats, which are more suitable for children. We would have to take two cars.
Knowing I only had to schlep three passengers to Vegas, I started to shop around for something a little more comfortable. Maybe something that needed some last-minute miles so we could hit the 20,000 we strive for on each car. On Matt Jones' recommendation, I asked Mike Schmidt, Keeper of the Keys, for the 2014 Kia Cadenza. Big Blue has a roomy back seat, considerable trunk space, and the always important cooled seats for driver and front passenger (good thing, because Vegas temps were approaching a sweltering 80 degrees).
The Cadenza proved to be a worthy highway companion. One large-ish suitcase and four smaller bags were swallowed by the cavernous 15.9-cu.ft trunk. The driving experience can be a little boring, but the sedan's soft leather, panoramic sunroof, and seemingly endless amount of leg room kept my passengers happy. You just sort of waft along without a sense of drama, which is what you really want on a trip like this.
We moseyed on up to Las Vegas with nary a complaint from those being chauffeured. We found that Vegas is rather nice in the autumn. It's the one time of year the town isn't crippled by stifling heat or the bitter, frigid wind that sweeps through the Strip in winter. You can actually swim in the hotel pool, whereas aquatic relief during the summer months requires becoming one with the mosaic of wasted college students as they writhe to club remixes of Coldplay songs that the second-rate DJ is pumping through the 10,000 waterside subwoofers.
Gorging ourselves on food is another time-honored Vegas tradition for my flock. A Google search for "best burger Las Vegas" returned numerous recommendations for Holstein's at Cosmopolitan. I can attest the Gold Standard with its aged goat cheddar and garlic-chive aioli is worth the hefty $18.50. It's the kind of place that offers foie gras as a burger topping. Don't tell Mark Takahashi, he'll run off in the Jag and we'll never see the car again.
The 500-mile round trip highlighted a few of the Cadenza's shortcomings. The seat bottom doesn't angle downward as much as I'd like, but adjustable thigh support helps somewhat. I wish the air assaulted me when I switched on the seat coolers. All things considered, however, the Cadenza's easygoing road manners and generous dimensions make it an ideal car for this sort of trip.
Good call on the Cadenza, Matt. I'll grab you a pepper-crusted burger next time for the suggestion.
Cameron Rogers, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 19,234 miles