2014 Kia Cadenza triumphed in a Motor Trend test against a
Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300S and Ford
First, a pop
quiz: Who can remember the last luxury entry from Kia?
No one? Well,
canít blame you there. It was the Amanti, an easily forgettable
sedan that came out in 2004 and actually looked like a weak
imitation of a Mercedes. To make matters worse, its performance was
soft and limp, much like its suspension.
generation in í07 was an improvement, but by í09 Amanti was
thankfully, Kia started over with its newest near-luxury candidate,
the 2014 Kia Cadenza. This time, friends, the result is
my word for it. Motor Trend magazine crowned it champ over four
worthy rivals in a comparison test, crediting its ride comfort,
interior space and fuel economy. As a bonus, it said, the Cadenza
has a features list that could rival an $80K BMW.
Hard to argue
with any of that. Cadenza cruises quietly and with great comfort,
has a clean fitting and well-designed interior, and comes with the
most powerful V-6 engine that Kia as ever produced.
easy on the eyes, too. It has a European-influenced design featuring
LED lights surrounding swept-back headlights, nice contours on the
long-nosed hood, and a broad lower fascia. Chrome accents highlight
the foglights and doors. In the rear, twin oval tailpipes offer a
front-wheel-drive Cadenza is powered by an aluminum 3.3-liter
direct-injected V-6 engine that has decent guts. It generates 293
horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque and it works extremely well
with its tranny mate, a 6-speed automatic. Shifts are smooth and
efficient, though more so on the downside than on acceleration.
shifters flank the leather/wood steering wheel for those in a sporty
mood who want to take back some control of the drive.
On the road I
find the Cadenza drives smaller than it looks. Itís easily
maneuvered around town, handles and corners with ease. And its
sport-tuned suspension ó MacPherson strut up front and multi-link
rear design ó gobbles up the imperfections on the road.
On the open
road, Cadenza has plenty of oomph to get up the ramps and pass the
slower folks. Zero to 60 is rated at 6.3 seconds, which closely
matches competitors like the Chevy Impala, Chrysler 300S and Toyota
cruises are sweet: Serene, quiet and comfortable. And the credit
here goes to the interior as well as the outside mechanics.
cabin has comfortable, nicely contoured seats with great back and
leg support. Add to that improved sound-deadening materials and itís
easy to see why the ride is so quiet and comfy.
trimmed in soft napa leather and adjusted with 10-way power. As
comfortable as they are, extra tall folks need to try it out for
roominess. At 6-2, I was feeling somewhat maxed out with headroom.
And legroom in the rear is less accommodating than, say, the Avalon.
Cadenza has an
elegant feel inside and, with ambient lighting and wood and chrome
accents, itís no wonder why. A classic analog clock sits among the
includes a virtual speedometer much like the one in the Mercedes
S-Class. And a high-res 8-inch screen presents an advanced
navigation system with traffic and services, plus a 550-watt
Infinity 12-speaker audio system. It also features the rear-camera
display for backing safely out of the driveway.
not the only tech safety feature here. In fact, Cadenza has most of
the high-tech safety stuff youíll find in high-end models like the
S-Class and BMW 7-Series: blind-spot monitors, precollision systems,
lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control which slows the
car if it gets too close to the vehicle in front. Most of these can
be found in the optional Technology package.
in just one trim level, but itís nicely equipped: navigation with
the 8-inch screen, back-up camera, leather trim, push-button start,
premium sound, the 10-way power front seats.
packages are available. The Technology has much of the
aforementioned safety stuff, A Premium package adds a huge sunroof,
power retractable sunshade and adaptive headlights.
So what have
we learned from this history quiz? Amanti? Fugettabout it.
Considering its premium ride and interior refinement and comfort,
this is an entry-luxury car worthy of including on your shopping
tested:$41,900 (including premium and technology packages, priced at