Highlight: The front-wheel drive Cadenza is based off the same platform as its sibling, the Hyundai Azera.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $41,900 (Base Model starts at $35,900)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags (front, rear mounted, curtain and side);ABS; electronic stability control; hill-start assist control; a tire pressure monitoring system; LED tail lights; a back-up warning system; a back-up camera; heated power-folding mirrors with a turn signal; and a perimeter approach lighting
Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; dual zone automatic temperature control; a push-button keyless starter; power seats; leather seats; heated front seats; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a 7-inch screen to house the navigation system
MacPherson struct (front)
Standard Audio: a 12-speaker, 550-watt AM/FM/CD player with satellite radio
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes
MP3 Compatibility: Yes
Standard Engine/Horsepower): 3.3-liter, 6-cylinder/293-horsepower
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 19-city/28-hwy
What’s New: The Cadenza is the latest entry to join the Kia’s line up, offering room for five along with a host of high-tech safety features.
Pros: Kia’s big body sedan proves the Koreans are ready to enter into the luxury car segment. The perceivably well-built Cadenza we reviewed, with the winter white Nappa leather interior, was outfitted with a number of high-tech and luxury features, which added a mere $6,000 to the sticker. Even without these add-ons, the Cadenza is still is a great value.
With that said, the high-tech package consisted of a radar cruise control system, a blind spot detection system, a lane departure warning system, an electronic parking system and 19-inch wheels. While larger wheels always improve the ride, handling and overall look of a vehicle, we’re puzzled as to why 19-inch wheels make-up the high-tech package, although we welcome them.
Added to that, the luxury package consisted of Nappa leather seats, with a power driver’s seat cushion extension, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a power rear sun shade, a dual power sunroof and HID headlights, with cornering approach features.
And to compliment the luxury package, one will immediately notice a keen attention to detail. The designers thoughtfully slotted everything from the Swiss -like clock to the infotainment system to the gauges in the right place. And, with that being the case, everything is both easy to read and use. Unlike in some other brands, there are no complicated touchscreen systems to utilize.
Cons: While overall the Cadenza seems like a well-built, high-tech, roomy sedan, the super firm suspension system was our biggest gripe, especially when compared to the other large car sedans. Kia’s large car engineering team should consider adding a variety of suspension settings.
Furthermore, after almost being stuck in a midnight traffic jam, we realized this high-tech vehicle lacked real-time traffic data. Thus, this could have saved us time from avoiding a major back-up on the expressway had we been alerted of this information in advance.
Moreover, some of the competitors in the segment offer a 4-cylinder engine, helping to achieve upwards of 35-mpg on the highway. Currently, Kia’s flagship is outfitted with only one engine.
Lastly, Kia’s design and engineering team should also offer a sportier wheel package to make the vehicle standout in a crowd of new large car contenders.
The Verdict: Until the recent announcement of the read-wheel drive K900, Kia’s $60,000 plus BMW 7-Series fighter, at this year’s LA Auto Show, the Cadenza will temporarily serve as the brand’s current flagship sedan. In fact, Kia’s recent entrée into the large car segment shows that they are truly moving beyond being known for building small to midsized budget-minded, mass market vehicles.
The Cadenza proves that the Koreans are serious about moving the brand upscale, offering a well-equipped, well-built vehicle at an affordable price. Kia’s biggest challenge will be getting potential buyers in this segment to literally get behind the wheel to test drive the vehicle. Besides the firm ride, potential buyers, we believe, will be highly impressed with this large sedan.
Competition: Chevy Impala, Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, and Nissan Maxima
About The Reviewer: Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.