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I recently picked up a 14 White Cadenza SXL. I thought I would do a quick comparison for people searching like I was when trying to pick my next sedan. I wanted Adaptive Cruise for sure, a very comfortable ride, good power, back seat room, and tech features. I cross shopped the 300, Genesis, Avalon, ES350, Azera, Impala, CTS, LaCrosse, 328i, 528i, and Maxima. I have owned the following sedans in the past, S8, A8L, E550, Maxima SL, and Olds Aurora.

Cadenza comparisons :

Looks - I like the looks quite a bit, they are conservative but I think they will age well. The A8 was and is still one of my favorite designs and I think the Cadenza has some of the same qualities. Obviously subject but this is where I thought the Cadenza ranked in exterior appearance - CTS, 15' Genesis, Cadenza, 14 Genesis, Impala, Avalon, ES350, 300, Azera, Maxima, LaCrosse.

Interior - The fit and finish of the Cadenza is very near where my E550 and A8 were, with the A8 being the best but the Cadenza is right there, not much of a difference at all. I also liked the CTS and 15 Genesis interiors but I felt like there was another notch down when you went to the Avalon, Impala, 300, Maxima, etc as there seemed to be more hard plastics. I think the Napa leather puts the Cadenza in the league of the Audi, BMW, and MB. All of the dash seems like quality materials, almost as good as the Germans but not quite all the way there. But at the same time, a little better than the others in the Near Luxury class.

Ride - The A8L is the best riding car I have owned, and when I judge a cars "ride" I am mostly talking about suspension, ability to handle rough pavement, cornering ability, body roll, stability, and overall comfort. The A8 was very good in all aspects with the Quatro and super suspension. The Cadenza is not on the A8 level, but I feel like it is not that far behind and is very near the E550 was. The Cadenza is significantly better than my Maxima was in all categories. The Maxima handled well, but I have been able to push the Cadenza much farther than I thought I could and farther than the Maxima was able to go. The Cadenza is not super soft, but it handles the bumps pretty well. I liked the 15 Genesis better in the ride department, but the Cadenza topped the rest that I cross shopped except for the BMWs which are in a class of their own really.

Power - I would say the Cadenza is sneaky fast. It doesn't have a ton of low end torque off of the line, the car doesn't slam you back in the seat, but you are going very fast very quickly and it will absolutely shock you when you look down at the speedo. I am pleasantly surprised at the power. The 3.8 in the Genesis is a great engine but the 3.3 Cadenza is enough to make it fun too.

Tech - I love the Adaptive Cruise, the Voice Activation works great for me, I like the Blind Spot warnings, Brake hold, and Infinity sound system. I found the Adaptive Cruise to work better than anything else I tested with the exception of the Volvo system. I do wish a Heads Up Display was available but other than that, the rest of the Tech is very easy to use, very intuitive, and so far works fast and flawlessly.

Value - Here is where the Cadenza won hands down for me. I like several cars better for different reasons - BMW ride, CTS looks, 15 Genesis looks ride power and tech. But at the end of the day the cost of the Cadenza was outstanding. I looked at new cars, but I also focused on low mileage 2014 models and the Cadenza could be had at a very good bang for your buck. It was a good news bad news situation really. The good news was you can pick up a car that lists for $43K in the mid to high $20s. The bad news was the depreciation. I ended up finding a demo that had 3500 miles on it for $25900. I couldn't pass it up at that price compared to the rest of the vehicles I cross shopped that I thought were close to the same in looks, ride, power, and tech features. The other cars could not come close to that price range for the same features, not to mention the Cadenza is better in a lot of the comparisons anyway despite being less expensive.

I have driven cars with a "badge" and although they ride great, they are expensive to maintain. I have no problem driving a Kia knowing I have nearly the same quality, nearly the same driving, handling, power, and more tech features, at a cost of thousands less. I still can't believe how much car you get with the Cadenza vs what I paid for other cars that were equal or lesser in many areas. I paid quite a but more for my Maxima and it doesn't compare to the Cadenza in my book. The only cars I really liked better than the Cadenza were the 328i, 528i, CTS, and 15 Genesis with only the 15 Genesis being better in all categories but all of those cars are much more expensive.
 

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Great review. Interesting to see how previous premium car owners rate the Cadenza. I agree that you get a lot for your money, in a quiet comfortable ride with very good performance. I think the Cadenza does many things well and it looks great too!
 

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Welcome to the Cadenza Forums.

Outstanding review, thank you for taking the time to write it up.

WOW you got a steal for getting the car for only $25,900.

David
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I like the car a lot. My wife loves it.

I posted a similar review over on the Genesis forum because I joined over there a few months ago when I thought I was going to buy a Genesis. Man oh man. What a bunch of panzies. Well not all of them, but several guys are trying to say the Cadenza is not a competitor to the Genesis and it is apples to oranges. Sure the Genesis is rear wheel drive vs front wheel, but other than that to me they are very much competitors. The 3.3 vs 3.8 V6s are not that different. The 3.8 has a little more pop but not that much when you are 400 lbs lighter with the 3.3. The Genesis has an 8 speed vs a 6 speed but to me that is irrelevant as well because you can't really feel either shift because both transmissions are so well mated to their engines and both get similar gas mileage. Who cares if you have two more gears or five more gears if both are well mated and get similar mileage?

Personally, I like the 15 Genesis better than the Cadenza. I like the looks better, the 3.8 is slightly better, and it rides slightly better. But the price is significantly more, especially when you are looking at used cars with less than 10K miles on them since the 15 Genesis is hard to find used. I like the Cadenza better than the 14 Genesis though. Cadenza is better exterior styling, better interior styling for sure, but the 3.8 again has a small edge. But for some reason the Genesis crowd says it is apples to oranges. Oh well.
 

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I like the car a lot. My wife loves it.

I posted a similar review over on the Genesis forum because I joined over there a few months ago when I thought I was going to buy a Genesis. Man oh man. What a bunch of panzies. Well not all of them, but several guys are trying to say the Cadenza is not a competitor to the Genesis and it is apples to oranges. Sure the Genesis is rear wheel drive vs front wheel, but other than that to me they are very much competitors. The 3.3 vs 3.8 V6s are not that different. The 3.8 has a little more pop but not that much when you are 400 lbs lighter with the 3.3. The Genesis has an 8 speed vs a 6 speed but to me that is irrelevant as well because you can't really feel either shift because both transmissions are so well mated to their engines and both get similar gas mileage. Who cares if you have two more gears or five more gears if both are well mated and get similar mileage?

Personally, I like the 15 Genesis better than the Cadenza. I like the looks better, the 3.8 is slightly better, and it rides slightly better. But the price is significantly more, especially when you are looking at used cars with less than 10K miles on them since the 15 Genesis is hard to find used. I like the Cadenza better than the 14 Genesis though. Cadenza is better exterior styling, better interior styling for sure, but the 3.8 again has a small edge. But for some reason the Genesis crowd says it is apples to oranges. Oh well.
Same here i was looking at the Genesis very closely and almost bought one although it was a 2013 R-Spec, although when i checked at consumer reports they gave it a bad rating under the Genny so I was glad I switched at last minute. The 15 look to me exactly like the Audi a8 and i know because of Peter. Although the Cadenza does compete more against its cousin the Azera.
 

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Great review and comments; I think you need to look at the sibling Hyundai Azera for Cadenza comparisons. I like the look of the Cadenza much better than Azera; the only disadvantage is that Cadenza rear seats don't go down for extra large luggage.

Outside of the Hyundai family; the Toyota Avalon (sales leader), Lexus ES350, Nissan Maxima, Chevy Impala (LTZ V6) and Buick Lacrosse (Premium V6) are the usual competitors. Think front drive neo-luxury V6 4 door sedans.

I think the Cadenza is by far the best value and the best in many key areas of the bunch. The more I drive mine the more it is winning me over for all the things it does so well. I know there's a hit on depreciation but I see the brand getting better established in the future and I'm not selling soon anyway.

Maybe Car&Driver or Road&Track will do a comparison some day on this segment. See Motor Trend's review of the new Kia Sedona van (same engine); they picked Kia over the Honda and Toyota vans.
 

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I drove the Genesis and felt somewhat disconnected from the road. The Cadenza just had a better "feel" for lack of a better word.
I also think the Cadenza is ahead of the curve as far as public recognition. My las car was a 2012 Optima and I thought it was a fantastic bargain and couldn't understand why I didn't see many on the road. But all that changed in the 2 years I owned it and I feel the same will happen once the public catches on to the Cadenza.
 

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I drove the Genesis and felt somewhat disconnected from the road. The Cadenza just had a better "feel" for lack of a better word.
I also think the Cadenza is ahead of the curve as far as public recognition. My las car was a 2012 Optima and I thought it was a fantastic bargain and couldn't understand why I didn't see many on the road. But all that changed in the 2 years I owned it and I feel the same will happen once the public catches on to the Cadenza.
I doubt Cadenza sales will take off, and I think Kia is OK with that. The Cadenza and K900 are meant to further the brand image of Kia from a budget brand to a budget/luxury brand (my opinion). Most people still can't get their head around a Kia with an MSRP above $40K.

Azera sales never took off for Hyundai, and there are rumors that 2015 is the last year for Azera in the states. But, Hyundai has the Genesis, which I think takes away from Azera sales. Kia doesn't have a Genesis equivalent, which may help Cadenza sales.

I personally like Cadenza sales right where they are - love not seeing others on the road.
 
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