Read the 2014 Kia Cadenza's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2014 Kia Cadenza's long-term updates.
What We Got
Two trim levels were available on the 2014 Kia Cadenza, Premium and Limited. Both had the 3.3-liter V6 good for 293 horsepower and 22 mpg combined. Each was equipped with the standard six-speed automatic transmission, navigation with 8-inch display, rear parking sonar, 19-inch wheels and dual-zone climate control to name a few. The Premium started at $35,900.
A step up to the Limited increased entry to $43,200 and added heated steering, seat coolers, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, HID headlights and blind-spot monitor, among others. Kia loaned us a $43,250 Cadenza Limited for one year. The only option on our test car was a $50 cargo net.
- "There's nothing remotely sporty about the Cadenza. Its suspension is tuned for comfort above else, and that's a good thing...the Cadenza has a soft, compliant setup that soaks up big hits without a shiver, all while gripping the road with enough tension to keep it from feeling like a balloon-tired cruiser from 1985. It's a well-tuned compromise that makes the car enjoyable to drive at a moderate pace." — Ed Hellwig
- "Kia has done a nice job programming the six-speed automatic transmission. The most noticeable aspect to me is that the transmission downshifts properly when you press down on the gas pedal. There's no delay or rush to sixth gear as soon as possible like you can get on some other cars." — Brent Romans
- "July also delivered the Kia's best single-tank fuel economy performance of 28.1 mpg, which is right on the sedan's EPA highway estimate. Previously we'd only squeezed a best of 24.8 mpg from the Cadenza's big V6." — Scott Oldham
- "A smooth and quiet ride, ventilated seats and adaptive cruise control made the five-hour trip much more civilized. On the drive up I managed to get 17.9 mpg, but I wasn't driving very economically. On the return trip, I was more docile after driving on track and being calmed by sea creatures. I got 27.1 mpg." — Mark Takahashi
- "This is an exceptionally comfortable car. Its seat fits my 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound frame perfectly...I also find the adjustability of the seat to be quite high, and the Kia packs a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, so I'm quite confident that 99 percent of buyers would find a sweet spot and agree with me on this one." — Scott Oldham
- "Over the weekend, the Cadenza's capacious rear seat was put to use.... She's 5-feet-2 and he's 6-feet even. Both were comfortable during the 45-minute each-way ride and remarked how good the support under their legs was thanks to the high seat cushion. They also appreciated the large, plush center armrest which sits up high enough to allow resting one's arm without leaning in toward the middle of the seat." — John DiPietro
- "Our Cadenza Limited has standard heated rear seats, but they don't fold forward to augment trunk space. I recently bought a tree trimmer from the home improvement store. While 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space was generous, it didn't fit. I was grateful to find the armrest pass-through." — Chris Walton
- "Because there's so much rear-seat space, there was room aplenty for our soft cooler to sit just behind the center console in the rear (even with four people in the car), with the snack bag my girlfriend packed in between the rear seats. Easy road-tripping, for sure. We weren't exactly living hard." — Mike Monticello
- "I'm a big guy, linebacker size. Ample space in the drivers cockpit is important to me, maybe more so than the average framed 6-footer because I'm wide. The Cadenza cabin is perfect for a bigger person, or somebody who just needs room to stretch out. The seats have generous hip room, and great shoulder room. They also offer good support, but don't hug me. I like them." — Matt Jones
- "Accessible storage space isn't always a given in modern cars, even high-priced luxury models?the Cadenza has a handy space just in front of the shifter. It's not a huge compartment but there's enough room to toss a wallet, a cellphone and some keys. The proximity of the USB port also makes it handy for phone charging. This kind of thing is hardly ground-breaking, but it does make our Cadenza seem that much easier to live with." — Ed Hellwig
Audio and Technology
- "The Kia's navigation system, which is standard equipment on our top-of-the-line Cadenza Limited, is a perfect example of this. It has a large 8-inch touchscreen with clear, uncomplicated graphics and simple prompts. No big iDrive-like dials. No multiple screens. No endless maze of menus." — Scott Oldham
- "On a fairly steep, downhill, slightly curvy portion of Interstate 5 with the adaptive cruise control set, a few times it freaked out and stabbed at the brakes suddenly, then got back on the throttle, even though there wasn't a car right in front of us." — Mike Monticello
- "It is worth mentioning that since we got our Cadenza, Kia has halted the free maintenance program. Cars delivered after March 1, 2014 are no longer eligible. Had we paid for this visit it would have cost $139.95." — Cameron Rogers
- "First, the fuel tank neck was not securely attached to the car's body...and consistently triggered fuel pumps to shut off early...the Cadenza entered its limp mode as he drove around town. Our sedan was only out of service for a few hours while most of our needs were met...free thanks to Kia's complimentary three-year/37,500-mile maintenance plan for the Cadenza." — Cameron Rogers
- "In the year we've had the Cadenza, it really proved itself to me as a worthy near-luxury sedan. I can say that I was quite pleased when I heard this would be the car I'd log 700 miles or so in a weekend. It's quiet, comfortable and has enough power to easily blast down the highway. So long, Cadenza, it's been a pleasant experience." — Mark Takahashi
- "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." — James Riswick
Maintenance & Repairs
Routine service was due at 7,500-mile intervals for the Cadenza. We took the sedan in for maintenance at the prescribed 7,500 and 15,000 miles before returning the car to Kia at 20,000 miles. Thanks to the three-year/37,500-mile complimentary maintenance plan, our cost was zilch.
The only issue beyond normal maintenance involved the installation of four bolts to secure the fuel filler neck. They were missing.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The combined EPA fuel economy estimate for the Cadenza is 22 mpg (19 city/28 highway). We averaged 21.9 mpg over 20,970 miles of testing. Our best single tank was 29.9 mpg. The best range on a single tank was 441 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
MSRP on our Cadenza Limited was $43,250. At the conclusion of our test Edmunds TMV Calculator valued the vehicle at $27,395 based on a private party sale. This equated to a very high, 37-percent depreciation. For reference, a comparable Toyota Avalon depreciates about 30 percent under the same conditions. This suggests more of a trend for this segment than a knock against the Cadenza specifically.
Pros:Smooth ride in most situations, spacious and quiet cabin, driver seat accommodates wide range of body types, easy-to-use navigation system, generous storage space, more than 400 miles or range on a single tank, delivers its mileage rating, solid reliability.
Cons:Ride quality suffers somewhat when the car is loaded down with cargo and passengers. Resale value under the circumstances of our test was poor.
Bottom Line:A well-designed, reliable and easy-to-live-with near-luxury sedan, the Kia Cadenza suffers only from a sizable entry price and considerable depreciation. If those numbers don't bother you, the car itself will rarely let you down.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||None (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Warranty Repairs:||Install 4 bolts to secure fuel filler neck|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||None|
|Days Out of Service:||None|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||29.9 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||15.3 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||21.9 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$27,395 (private party sale)|
|Depreciation:||$15,855 (37% of original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||20,970 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.