2014 Kia Cadenza First Drive

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,237
edited September 2014 in Kia

image2014 Kia Cadenza First Drive

We go for a spin in the 2014 Kia Cadenza Full-Size Sedan.

Read the full story here


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  • elie_jelie_j Member Posts: 1
    What a great early review! I am literally biting my nails as I count down to see how well the cadenza will do in the markets. I would love to purchase a k7 this year if and only if the pros outweigh the cons. So far I am all go for KIA!
  • dfelix70dfelix70 Member Posts: 143
    This car does absolutely nothing for me. For this price, I'd easily head to the Acura dealer for a base TL. The Acura may not be as roomy, but it is better looking both inside and out, and probably drives better.

    This Kia is just a disappointment. I truly love the Optima's relatively original design, both interior and exterior, and was even more hopeful for that to be taken up a notch with the Cadenza. Oddly, the opposite occurred. The Cadenza's exterior design is trying too hard to be a 5 Series and A6, so it immediately screams "derivative". And the interior, while handsome, would put me to sleep, almost like an "interior-by-numbers" design.
  • hank39hank39 Tallahassee, FLMember Posts: 144
    When I first clicked on the link, I thought it was the redesigned Optima. The rear looks similar. The front end doesn't really scream excitement or sporty like the Optima.
  • jeffinohjeffinoh Member Posts: 156
    Attractive, luxurious, and startlingly conservative. Every other premium FWD sedan I can think of is loaded up with polarizing tech features and swoopy styling. Kia seems to have created a curmudgeon's dream car. Unique strategy.
  • throwbackthrowback Member Posts: 445
    I would need to drive them to really decide, however I would be hard pressed to take the Kia over a loaded Toyota Avalon. If I were in this market I would probably go with a lightly optioned Lexus ES350.
  • cobrysoncobryson Member Posts: 110
    Just wanted to compliment you on some great writing in this piece. Nice work, Mike.
  • s197gts197gt Member Posts: 486
    the brand name is an issue. the model name is worse. major fail. makes me think of credenza. nothing exciting about that.

    good luck, kia.
  • 330i_zhp330i_zhp Member Posts: 55
    I agree with the others saying this is an attractive car, both inside and out. It also has a very nice slew of standard equipment. However, I'd be hard-pressed to buy a Kia if I'm spending over 30k (let alone 40k for a fully-loaded model). AWD would certainly be a great way to attract buyers in this segment, IMO.
  • bonzjrbonzjr Member Posts: 44
    Inflation is what it is and this is an exceptionally well-equipped and thoroughly modern car. But I still struggle with the notion of paying $40K for front-wheel drive large family-ish car. The struggle turns into full recoil when I see that it's equipped with a Kia badge. I guess I'm in that weird middle ground. I'm not old enough to appreciate the value of a car geared toward this particular narrow market segment (large, FWD, family/near-lux) and I'm not young enough be blissfully unaware that the Kia badge used to carry so much negative association. I would pony up $40-large for a RWD Genesis from the sister brand though. Go figure.
  • agentorangeagentorange Member Posts: 893
    " We're one brake application away from an order of Kung Pao carpet." PRICELESS!! jeffinoh "Kia seems to have created a curmudgeon's dream car. Unique strategy." It may be the secret to their success. Too many car makers are trying too hard with their interiors. I passed on the XF and the Mercedes C-class for that very reason. I found both hateful for different reasons. One thing I did catch in the review was the suggestion that HIDs only came with a sunroof. That's a fail for me with the way many cars are optioned.
  • ctizzlectizzle Member Posts: 0
    Hey "What's Hot" folks....good to see you STILL lather up REEEEEL Guhd even W/O the 'Inside Line' moniker for Hyundai/Kia cars! Nice car, but nice way to make sure you convinced how Kia and Hyundai aren't participating in "Platform Sharing" in the traditional sense, when that's EXACTLY what it is!

    I hope you're as nice to the new Impala...good OR bad! If its good or bad, TELL us its good/bad, but don't go giving reasoning for folks to look at this car COMPLETELY different than an Azera! Does Krafcik write the Kia reviews TOO....geez!
  • tbone85tbone85 Member Posts: 27
    Gotta agree that some companies get a complete pass on platform sharing/badge engineering while others are crucified.

    I also get a real chuckle from the underlying belief that I should find the Avalon more attractive based on brand. When was the last time that Toyota made the best sedan in it's category? This kind of brand whore-ism is as out of touch now as it was for Detroit brands 20 years ago. I buy based on current achievements, not past glories.
  • greg128greg128 Member Posts: 500
    Looks like an uglier Optima. The crooked grill is getting old, and to me is stylistically uninspiring almost like the designer tried to outdo the Optima but failed. I'm not impressed with the dash either.
  • eric_leric_l Member Posts: 7
    It would have been easy for any reviewer to write the same generic review for any of the large FWD upscale sedans - nice interior, competitive powertrains, safe handling, but snoozeville because we car enthusiasts must have RWD (despite the fact that in the real world with speed limits and traffic, 99.99% of the time it doesn't matter if you have RWD or FWD)! Kudos to Edmunds/IL/What's hot (whatever it is called now - why can't we just have Inside Line - it has brand recognition!) for writing a balanced if not unexpectedly glowing review of the Kadenza. It isn't a terribly exciting car but it does show that this category of vehicles has become extremely competent and competitive. I think Kia could have the styling more aggressive, but then the Germans seem to do fine by just making the next higher up series of vehicles look like larger versions of the smaller ones (a key example is the Audi A4, 6, 8 and Kia doesn't hide behind the illusion that its styling department isn't run by the guy who formerly worked at Audi.
  • bassracerxbassracerx Member Posts: 188
    idk i think just reality is finally sinking in that new cars are just super expensive. i remember when 35 grand was a ton of money for even a bmw 3 series not too long ago. now its hard to find even a sub-compact with little options for less then 20k i guess 35k is a bargain for all of this. i used to like the maxima as a go-to fwd sport sedan but with the CVT only i think this car is great. it looks sharp!
  • bobadbobad Member Posts: 1,587
    Honestly, I love the exterior styling. I can't form an opinon on the interior styling without sitting in the car, and neither can anyone else. For those who dislike the car, it's because Kia did their job. They didn't design this car for everyone, so it's no surprise that not everyone likes it.
  • bobadbobad Member Posts: 1,587
    Honestly, I love the exterior styling. I can't form an opinon on the interior styling without sitting in the car, and neither can anyone else. For those who dislike the car, it's because Kia did their job. They didn't design this car for everyone, so it's no surprise that not everyone likes it.
  • bassracerxbassracerx Member Posts: 188
    after reading this article a 2nd time i get what the author was trying to say although very subtiley. this car is a very nice place to be in. and is very roomy. " i can't reach the backseat" "the idling truck next to us" you are aware of your surroundings but you are not "IN" your surroundings! (compared to my honda fit you are practically standing in traffic with the amount of outside noise is let in unless you have the radio blaring) driving my honda fit i really miss that quality about my old lexus just having a car that is just a great place to spend time in. but then i see the advertisement for the mitsubishi lancer on the bottom of this page and i think "hmm"
  • twistedridertwistedrider Member Posts: 4
    I actually like both the Azera and now this Credenza, stylistically speaking. But after hearing reviews of the Azera being more of the luxo cruiser, I'd probably be more inclined to take the sportier Credenza. I get the feeling from this review that the driver and passenger are coddled in a luxo sporty kind of way. And that's right down my alley. Compared to an Acura TL and even the new Lexus, this is simply a beautiful car to look at. The other two have gotten too tacked on with beaks, gaping Predator grilles, and side skirts....which have gotten too out of hand. There's a reason why Kia put Peter Schreyer as the Chief Design Officer, he just makes beautifully understated cars and put Kia in the right direction.
  • mlowery85mlowery85 Member Posts: 5
    Uhhh.. that looks way more like an Optima than a Avalon looks like a Camry.
  • lions208487lions208487 Member Posts: 240
    A nice sporty alternative to the Maxima and Avalon's of the freeway world. I can also appreciate the fact that Hyundai went for Harman's Infinity system, rather than the industry standard Bose system in this Azera fraternal twin.

    I hope to test drive one soon.
  • bridgeport23bridgeport23 Member Posts: 1
    I have been saving money to purchase a new car this year with eyes on Audi, Infiniti, and Acura. I recently visited the auto show in Washington DC, and was absolutely surprised by KIA’s DISPLAY of the KIA Cadenza. If you are trying to judge the absolute beauty and fit of this car through reviews, photos, and video you are not doing yourself fair judgment. In order to purchase a car with all of these amenities, you will have to pay over $55,000.00. My good friend who is an Acura dealer was presenting the Acura RLX at the show, and could not believe the anticipated under $40K for the Cadenza. I drilled the Internet for information on this car, and found overwhelming positive reviews (including first drive tests). This car is new to the US, but has been around for a few years in Korea. Tested and ready to go. I cannot afford to pay $15K more for a high profile name, when I can have the same if not better with a Cadenza for greater value. This is not about if I will buy the car, it is all about interior and exterior color selection. Deposit is in the bank, and can’t wait.
  • reformeddaddyreformeddaddy Member Posts: 1
    If Kia or Hyundai want to follow in the success of Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti, and Honda/Acura, it has to generate a fresh luxury nameplate for above $30K vehicles. Otherwise you are mixing potentially great vehicles with unrefined Kia's and Hyundai's of the past. There is also the Hyundai distant past of reliability concerns that the big three Japanese didn't have to hurdle (at the same level). So what will it be .. Kia/Saja (Lion), Hyundai/Yeou (Fox)?
  • agentorangeagentorange Member Posts: 893
    @reformeddaddy I think the snobbery over badge has faded somewhat over the last few years in the US. I feel that many Americans have rumbled that a lot of the "premium" imports are not worth the money charged for them. Having looked at a lot of
  • wesedmundswesedmunds Member Posts: 1
    Just drove this car today. REALLY nice. Comfortable, quiet, nice pickup, nice options.

    Great technology but the Nav seemed a little finicky and the old school gas cap seemed out of place. The interior is trying a little TOO hard to be BMW and the grill is a hair pig nosed to my taste.

    The interior is uncommonly spacious (better than a Chrysler 300 I'm also looking at, though the back seats could use more support in the Cadenza IMO) but the fact that the SEATS DO NOT FOLD DOWN IS A DEALBREAKER! It's too bad, it was a serious contender until that point.

    Overall, I liked the car very much. Is it $40k good? I'd say yes seeing that's the new "normal" for this class of car. With exception of the seats not folding down, I felt it was very competitive.
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