Who remembers the Kia Amanti? Back in 2004 Kia released the Amanti sedan, which was the automaker’s first attempt at selling a near luxury sedan. Sadly it never really appealed to anyone and was easily forgotten. Fast forward to 2014 and Kia is trying it again with the much more memorable Cadenza. This time around does the Kia Cadenza have what it takes to compete against luxury rivals like BMW and Lexus?
Kia continues to move upmarket with the introduction of the Cadenza and most recently the K900 luxury sedan. The Cadenza is bigger than the Kia Optima and rides on the same platform as the Hyundai Azera. The Cadenza is a large sedan that competes with models like the Toyota Avalon and the Buick LaCrosse, but then also can hold its own against more luxurious models like the Lexus ES 350 and BMW 5-Series. On the outside it’s easy to see that Kia’s designers were influenced by many of the Cadenza’s European competitors, like the Audi A6, but either way it’s attractive.
The Cadenza is powered by a 293-hp 3.3L V6 that’s mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. Kia only offers one engine in the Cadenza and even though it rides on the same platform as the Hyundai Azera, Kia’s engineers tweaked the Cadenza’s steering and suspension to give it a sportier feel. The Cadenza is a large sedan, but still manages to reach 0-60 mph in just under seven seconds and it does it with ease. With the Cadenza loaded with four adults and a weekend’s worth of luggage, the Cadenza zoomed around town with ease and it’s suspension is more composed and less floaty than other models in the segment. The Cadenza is rated at 19/28 mpg, but we averaged around 20 mpg.
Inside the Kia Cadenza’s interior is one of the most lavish interiors we’ve ever experienced with a Kia badge on the steering wheel. Our tester had white leather seats that contrasted with the black doors and center stack, which created an atmosphere that not only felt luxurious, but was also calming. The Cadenza’s interior is roomy with big comfortable seats that are sure to please even the tallest passengers. The panoramic sunroof may rob a few inches of headroom, but who doesn’t love the view?
The Cadenza comes in two trim levels, Premium and Limited. The base Premium trim comes standard with a 12-speaker Infinity audio system, leather seats, heated front seats, power folding side mirrors, automatic climate control and a navigation system with an 8-inch display. If you want even more, the Limited trim level adds blind spot detection, smart cruise control, lane departure warning, Nappa leather seats, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and more chrome and wood trim to the interior.
While it may still be a while until Kia’s badge carries as much prestige as BMW or Mercedes-Benz, the Kia Cadenza is a luxury sedan for people that don’t need to pay extra for it.
2014 Kia Cadenza:
Base Price: $35,100
Price as Tested: $41,900
Pros: Comfortable ride, Smooth V6, Long List of Features
Cons: Steering is a bit light, rear seat headroom, fuel economy