Car Review: 2014 Kia Cadenza Limited


Kia continues to roll out new models, and since the debut of the all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza sedan, this offering from Kia has garnered praise for its premium feel and long list of amenities. We drove the new Cadenza for a week and had the opportunity to find out if Kia is still churning out winners!


With the Cadenza, you first notice the broad shoulders, contoured hood, large wheels and wide stance that give it a strong, grounded appearance. The striking design has a distinctive sport-sedan form that you normally find on much more expensive models. The signature grille and front fascia make Cadenza instantly recognizable as a Kia. Flanking the grille are quad headlights that nestle deeply behind crystalline lenses. The lower fascia is wide, lending to the Cadenza’s imposing stance, and chrome trim accents around the fog lights and grille add to the vehicle’s premium presence. LED positioning lights and projection beam headlights provide additional European sophistication. The vertical nose is imposing and the long hood is sensuously sculpted to meet the swept-back windshield. The greenhouse curves gracefully to the C-pillar and is surrounded by a tasteful chrome bezel that flares upward at the rear door, effectively creating a beautiful glass droplet. Beginning just aft of the front-door cutline is a chiseled indentation that sweeps upward, seamlessly transitioning into the tail lights. Classic chrome accents adorn the lower portions of the doors and the treatment continues into the rear fascia. The 19-inch alloy wheels offered in the Technology Package resemble a jet turbine and add to the Cadenza’s athletic stature.

Moving to the rear, the standard LED taillights sit high on the deck and are designed to cut across a large portion of the vehicle, lending to the Cadenza’s broad stance. The twin oval tail pipes accentuate the Cadenza’s sporty and elegant design. What universally garnered plenty of attention were the sleek 19-inch chrome alloy wheels that give this new Kia some street cred.


The interior of the Cadenza envelops its occupants in a premium environment complete with soft leather upholstery and tasteful accents of wood and chrome. Ambient lighting and a horizontally positioned switch gear communicate an uncluttered and sophisticated aesthetic. An elegant analog clock positioned between the automatic climate controls lends a classic feel. The center console is angled slightly toward the driver for optimized control, and an available large 7-inch high-resolution TFT LCD screen in the gauge cluster showcases a wide range of vehicle information, including turn-by-turn navigation and infotainment. Elegant chrome bezels surround the HVAC and audio controls, air vents and the standard push-button start. Standard Bluetooth, wood-trim door inserts, one-touch automatic up/down power front windows and power-folding heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators all enhance the Cadenza’s premium image.

At $42,400 MSRP, the SX Limited builds upon the Luxury Package with 19-inch alloy wheels, electric parking brake with auto hold and Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), which maintains a set distance to the vehicle ahead and helps bring the car to a full stop if necessary. This package also includes water-repellant hydrophobic front side windows, radar-based Blind Spot Detection system (BSD) with Lane Change Assist, and Kia’s first-ever Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which provides audible and visual alerts to the driver should they unintentionally drift into another lane.

The fully-equipped Cadenza SX Limited also offers a White Interior Package at no additional cost. This optional appearance bundle includes White Nappa leather trim, wood-grain accent window switch surround and a premium headliner material that extends to the pillar trim, rear parcel shelf and sun visors. The fully-equipped Cadenza SX Limited also offers a Gray Interior Package at no additional cost. Standard features include an advanced navigation system with SiriusXM Traffic and UVO eServices, displayed on a high-resolution 8-inch touch screen, as well as a Rear-Camera Display, Back Up Warning System and a premium 550-watt Infinity 12-speaker audio system including rear surround speakers and subwoofer that provides an entertainment feast for the ears. Cadenza’s standard equipment level exceeds many premium brands, as all vehicles come equipped with leather seat trim with heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear seat ventilation, Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and Bluetooth wireless technology.

Space is plentiful in the 2014 KIA Cadenza Limited and the new sedan is more upscale that we anticipated, but the overall feel is still not in the same league with others in this segment.



You can feel the power of the Cadenza from the first time you hit the gas pedal, so first impressions behind the wheel were strong! The Cadenza is equipped with Kia’s most powerful V6 engine ever. The smooth-revving 3.3-liter utilizes gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology that improves performance while producing fewer emissions. Power is seamlessly transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that includes a Sportmatic manual shift mode and paddle shifters flanking the leather and wood-wrapped steering wheel. The GDI powerplant produces 293 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 255 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm. The advanced all-aluminum engine features dual continuously variable valve timing for improved fuel economy and performance, a maintenance-free timing chain, a three-step variable induction system for enhanced torque, and is designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline. During Kia’s long-term durability testing, the engine is run 300 continuous hours at redline under full load, then for an additional 20 hours at 10 percent above redline under full load.

To maximize driver engagement and performance, the Cadenza features a sport-tuned fully independent suspension with a MacPherson strut setup in front and a multi-link rear design with dual flow shocks to enhance ride and performance. The Cadenza rides on standard 245/45R-18 tires, while 245/40R-19 tires are included with the Technology Package. To further enhance performance and safety while reducing NVH, 60 percent of the body structure is strengthened with High Tensile Steel (HTS), which is lighter and stronger than traditional steel and results in reduced overall vehicle weight and improved torsional rigidity. HTS is produced through a 1,650 degree hot-stamping process, designed to toughen steel. Cadenza also features an extensive list of noise-reducing technologies, including a hydraulic transmission mount, optimally tuned damper on the rear cross member, triple door seals and specially designed wheels (the multiple fins help reduce wind noise at highway speeds). The 2014 KIA Cadenza Limited isn’t going to break any fuel efficiency records, but the 19mog in the city and 28mpg in highway driving is respectable for a car this size and with substantial power.


The Cadenza is easy to like due to an upscale European-influenced design aesthetic and plenty of muscle with Kia’s most powerful V6. The cabin features soft touch points, tasteful chrome details and premium wood accents. All of these elements fused with an abundant roster of technology demonstrate the Cadenza’s ability to bring value to new levels of sophistication in the emerging market between mainstream and luxury. Although this segment is very competitive, the Cadenza’s first-class appointments, advanced technology and design place Kia’s entry into the premium car segment as a real option.