2014 Kia Cadenza Review

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2014 Kia Cadenza Overview

2014 Kia Cadenza

After sending the Avanti back to the drawing board nearly half a decade ago, Kia launches its largest and most luxurious sedan ever for 2014. The all-new Kia Cadenza shares the same front-wheel drive, suspension style, engine, transmission and wheelbase with Hyundai's Azera, but style and feature content much more like that of the maker's midsize Optima. To look at the Cadenza, you would never guess it shared anything with any other car but the Optima. To drive the Cadenza, you might venture to guess it's more Audi than Hyundai.

Sure, the steering is a bit light and under-communicative for a true Eurosport feel, but the Cadenza's highly responsive suspension was reportedly tweaked in the transfer from Azera to Cadenza specifically to give it an edge over the parent company's less-expensive full-size entry. Mind you, these tweaks still don't make the Cadenza a sports car by any stretch, but it's definitely a cozy cruiser even on imperfect pavement. Also true to its price segment, the Cadenza provides a more serene cabin quiet than the Azera and a hefty helping of high-end features to boot.

Thus far offered in one well-appointed trim, standard features include such highlights as 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather upholstery, 10-way powered, heated and ventilated driver's seat, 4-way powered and heated passenger seat, rear-view camera, rear park assist, 8-inch touchscreen, navigation system, complete Bluetooth connectivity and a 12-speaker Infinity sound system all at your beck and call through Kia's voice command UVO system, included free of charge for the life of your 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. And that's just highlights of the standard offering.

The Cadenza's two option packs (technically there's a third, but the White package is entirely cosmetic) span from Premium features like a panoramic sunroof, memory for driver's settings, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and even a power rear window sunshade, to Technology features such as 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, water-repellant front windows and a reportedly annoying lane-departure warning system.

Its only sticking point thus far, aside from a steep entry fee, is very likely the Cadenza's limitation to a single powertrain. Where the Chrysler 300 also offers a robust V8 over its V6 and Toyota's Avalon can likewise swing a hybrid option, the Cadenza offers only a 3.3-liter V6 with a 6-speed automatic—albeit a V6 and automatic that should muster about 7 seconds down the pipe to 60 mph for its 293 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. That said, don't expect fuel economy to do much better than the Azera's 20 mpg city/29 highway, especially if you make extensive use of the paddle shifters, but first drivers are nevertheless highly impressed with the Cadenza's smoothly punctual power delivery.

Updated

Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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