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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2014 KIA CADENZA REVIEW


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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE CADENZA VEHICLE
Premiering in as the most technically advanced Kia in the lineup to date, the all-new Cadenza hopes to captivate shoppers with a sophisticated full-size sedan focused on delivering as much luxury as possible for a fair price. Performance is also aimed to be spirited under direction of a gasoline-direct injection 3.3-liter V6 engine with 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque.

I drove a 2014 Kia Cadenza with the 3.3-liter V6, a sport-tuned suspension and a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters flanked at the steering column. Available in a Premium or Limited trim, my Premium model featured the following standard features: dual-zone climate control; an upgraded Infinity audio system; UVO eServices telematics; backup camera; a navigation system with an eight-inch touchscreen; leather seat trim; heated front seats; power front seating; push-button start; leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls; fog lights; LED lighting; back-up sensors; and eight-inch alloy wheels. Price as described comes to $35,100.

This all-new sedan will shake up the market with its more European-influenced design and technology edge (including available popular safety features).The Cadenza is poised against other accessible full-size sedan models dressed up in their finest trims, like the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon and the Chevy Impala; but trim structure and refinement put the Cadenza in competition with the Acura RLX.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: From the signature grille flagged by nestled crystalline headlights to the wide and lowered front fascia, the Cadenza conveys a message of elegance and power from every angle. Kia’s in-car UVO eServices adds voice-command navigation, music and calls, in addition to an eight-inch high-resolution touchscreen display with a backup camera. Upgrade to the Limited, and you get soft-touch white Nappa leather and wood-grain accents, LED fog lights and nineteen-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, a power retractable rear sunshade – plus safety tech like Blind Spot Detection System that subtly reminds you of objects not in your field of view with visual and audible signals; and a Lane Departure Warning System to help maintain vehicle cadence by monitoring your position on the road.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the 2014 Kia Cadenza as a Top Safety Pick with “Good” results in every crash test area. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the car.

Cost Issues: The Cadenza follows the philosophy of an Acura: give as much convenience and luxury as possible with one price tag. The Premium starts at $35,100 with the Limited at $42,500. A big spread, but that Limited does add quite a world of possibilities in comfort. That’s quite a stretch from the Acura RLX’s base of $48,450 (and packages can send the total price to $60,450).

Activity & Performance Ability: Responsive and smooth acceleration supported by excellent handling give the Cadenza its cadence credentials – never does this larger sedan lag or feel bulky carving out tight turns. The advanced safety technology is becoming more and more a welcomed benefit as it takes the tension out of everyday driving situations like backing out or changing lanes.

The Green Concern: The 3.3-liter V6 gets 19-city and 28-highway for a combined 22 miles-per-gallon. The RLX gets a bit better at 20-city/31-highway for an overall combined 24 miles-per-gallon and will debut a hybrid version with all-wheel drive in late 2013.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
High expectations will be met with the all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza, as this full-size sedan never deviates from its path in providing an immeasurable amount of excellent performance, luxury and comfort at a very reasonable price.

©2013 Katrina Ramser