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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

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.


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.

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