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<Excerpted from July 12, 2013

Test drive: 2014 Kia Cadenza surprises with value and style

by Sam Haymart

Testing the new 2014 Kia Cadenza this week, we marveled at how the company that just 20 years ago was selling $8995 compact cars could get this far, this fast.

The new 2014 Cadenza is a top of the line model, starting with an MSRP of $35,100. It shares its chassis with the Hyundai Azera which means it has front wheel drive, a 293 horsepower 3.3 liter V6 engine and a smooth as silk 6-speed automatic transmission.

Styling is down right stunning with European lines that seem more like Audi or BMW than anything we have seen from Korea. It's details are decidedly upscale and crisp, every element seems to fit just right and please the eye.

And the interior is no different. The cabin is lined with rich wood-grain trim, top quality switchgear, and has one of the best laid out dash designs we have experienced in some time. Fit and finish are more what you'd expect from Japan or Germany and every little detail seems to flow together with design perfection.

The UVO Infiniti stereo sound system sounded phenomenal. Its associated touchscreen display, navigation and driver interface is second only to Lexus in how well it works and how easy it is to use. Kia makes this look so easy, its a wonder why some car makers still struggle to do this right.
Our Cadenza had the optional Luxury Package which gives front and rear seat heaters, but only the driver gets a cooled seat. This is a Hyundai-Kia quirk that we hope they grow out of. Rear seat room is extra generous though and there are vents back there to keep them cool or warm.

The Technology Package included a number of driver assistance features like radar based cruise control, blind spot warning, and lane departure warning just to name a few. The radar cruise control worked well unless your freeway has mild curves where it tends to get a little surprised and suddenly slows the car at times.

On the road the Cadenza makes no promises to be high performance car, but rather gives you a luxury car ride with precise enough handling control to make it fun to drive when you prod it. It never feels heavy or sluggish, having a light touch that always rewards your inputs with a willing response.

On a windy road it loves to play and run up to a point. The suspension and optional 19” wheels provide a firm enough platform to be sharp but still gives a boulevard ride when cruising in town. Brakes are adequate but do get warm and fade if you start treating the Cadenza like a BMW M3.
Its 3.3 liter DOHC direct-injected V6 is a gem of a power plant, with a nice sound and a smooth revving character. It never feels rough or thrashy, and is always happy to jump at the chance to you thrust. The engine is paired with a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission which has a manual shift mode and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Where the Cadenza impressed is fuel efficiency. The EPA rates it at 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with 22 mpg combined. In our own testing which included plenty of mountain romps, city driving as well as freeway drives we well exceeded this averaging 26.7 mpg.

All said, the 2014 Kia Cadenza is a car that provides phenomenal value as it hits every item on the punch list with ease. It has great looks, excellent quality and fit, pleasing performance, above average fuel economy and is a lot of fun to drive.
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