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Why the 2014 Kia Cadenza Matters:
The inevitable range-topping luxury sedan from Kia has arrived, and it’s not a moment too soon. The brand had a very solid 2012, with sales up by a healthy 14.9 percent, and the success of its mid-sized 2013 Kia Optima—which alone lifted sales by 80 percent last year—has shown that the company is ready to more firmly establish itself as something beyond a low-cost (albeit high-value) auto brand.
And it’s the 2014 Kia Cadenza that will do the heavy lifting here. The Cadenza is due to go on sale in the second quarter of the year, at a price that’s still to be announced, and Kia is positioning it as the logical next step in the brand’s evolution.
“Since the introduction of the range-topping Optima SXL last year, we have seen an increasing number of customers in our retail outlets looking for a sedan with even more upscale amenities and technology,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of Marketing & Communications for Kia Motors America. “The Cadenza is the new flagship for Kia in the U.S. market, and when it goes on sale later this year, it will introduce a number of advanced systems that promise to set a new standard in the premium segment.”
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What’s New for the 2014 Kia Cadenza:
- A taut, Euro-style exterior design
- The most powerful V6 engine ever offered in a Kia vehicle
- Standard tech features that include navigation and Kia’s UVO telematics platform, enhanced by a high-res eight-inch touchscreen
- Premium audio, courtesy of a 12-speaker, 550-watt setup from Infinity
- Lush interior appointments, with standard leather seating
- Dual-zone climate control and rear-seat HVAC vents
- Keyless entry and push-button start
- Bluetooth wireless technology
- A standard 10-way, power-adjustable driver’s seat
- Exterior LED lights and interior ambient lighting
- Sophisticated and athletic suspension layouts at the front and rear
- A single trim level with two available option packages, adding a further wealth of comfort, convenience and safety features
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New 2014 Kia Cadenza: Styling and Design
An advanced, forward approach to design has become a hallmark of the next-gen Kia lineup, and the 2014 Kia Cadenza looks to bring that tradition to the upper levels of the marketplace with an unexpectedly subdued exterior design. The brand’s “Tiger Nose” front-end design still leads things off, but the Cadenza’s sculpted and contoured hood, wide stance, and tasteful use of chrome accents recognize that many luxury customers shy away from ostentatious and cluttered designs, and prefer more subtle touches, like the way the chrome bezels around the side glass create a sort of droplet shape.
Overall, according to Kia, “The striking design has a distinctive sport-sedan form, as if the car would be equally comfortable on the Autobahn or carving through the Swiss Alps.”
Clean, well-executed design cues also enhance the cockpit of the 2014 Kia Cadenza, where a fusion of high-tech features, like an available seven-inch reconfigurable TFT gauge-cluster screen, combine with traditional luxury touches such as an elegant analog clock. The center stack shows an exceptionally coherent approach as well, with switchgear and controls set in a horizontal, layered configuration that echoes the look of the Cadenza’s touchscreen setup.
Capping off the driving environment are premium leather, chrome and wood accents, deployed with obvious attention to detail and craftsmanship.
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New 2014 Kia Cadenza: What’s under the Hood
The engine bay of the 2014 Kia Cadenza cradles a technologically advanced V6 engine that boasts gasoline direct injection, dual continuously variable valve timing, a three-step variable induction system and all-aluminum construction, which combine to help extricate 293 hp and 255 lb.-ft. of torque from 3.3 liters of displacement. With that output, the engine is the most powerful V6 in the Kia lineup, and it routes that power through a six-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission complemented by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Kia has yet to reveal fuel-economy projections for the 2014 Cadenza, but it’s worth pointing out that a similar powertrain, used in the stylish 2013 Hyundai Azera, returns an EPA line of 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway/23 mpg combined.
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New 2014 Kia Cadenza: Features and Technology
To simplify the purchase process, Kia will offer its new flagship at just a single trim designation, but with two available option packages that provide progressively higher levels of accoutrements.
The basics are as follows:
Right out of the box, the 2014 Kia Cadenza comes with standard features such as Kia’s next-gen UVO telematics system and navigation, both of which are complemented by a large eight-inch touchscreen—that also acts as the monitor for the car’s rearview camera technology. Of course, it also can be used to control the 550-watt Infinity sound system with 12 speakers (including rear surround-sound speakers and a subwoofer). Other premium amenities standard on the entry Cadenza include LED front positioning lights and taillamps, 18-inch wheels, Bluetooth, keyless entry, and push-button start.
The Premium Package brings into play a panoramic sunroof that stretches the length of the vehicle and is equipped with a power-retractable sunshade, along with upgrades like an adaptive front lighting system with HID headlamps, seven-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, heated steering wheel, powered rear sunshade and a significant seating upgrade. All seats get Nappa leather appointments, while the driver enjoys a 12-way power-adjustable seat with heat and ventilation, and front and rear outboard occupants revel in heated seating.
Luxury offerings on the 2014 Kia Cadenza reach their acme with the Technology Package. At this level, the Cadenza wears 19-inch alloy wheels and welcomes driver-assistance benefits such as Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Kia’s Blind Spot Detection system, lane-departure warning and even an innovative, water-repelling front windshield.
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New 2014 Kia Cadenza: What Autobytel Thinks
Yes, the 2014 Kia Cadenza is being touted as the brand’s inaugural “entry into the premium-car segment,” but customers’ reactions will likely depend on their own definition of what exactly a “premium” car should be. That’s because the Cadenza isn’t so much Kia’s version of the Equus, or even the Genesis sedan, as much as it seems to be the brand’s new spin on the 2013 Hyundai Azera: a car that occupies a sort of twilight zone—with rivals like the Toyota Avalon—somewhere between the mainstream and “real” luxury cars from explicitly premium brands like Lexus, Infiniti, etc.
For that kind of experience, drivers will have to await the launch of the Kia Quoris.
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