2014 KIA Cadenza: Luxury Car Without The Luxury Price [Review]

2014 Kia Cadenza Profile

The 2014 KIA Cadenza might not have a luxury badge, but in looks and features it’s every bit a luxury car just at a decidedly not-luxury price.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2014 KIA Cadenza $35,100 $41,900 293/255
EPA Rating MPG As Tested MPG
Rating: BUY IT! 19 / 28 Combined 22 23.2 Combined

KIA isn’t generally though of as an upscale brand and is known for more for value than luxury, but the 2014 KIA Cadenza aims to change that perception. It starts with the exterior design and moves right on through to the inside of the vehicle where you’ll swear you’re sitting in something that costs many thousands more than the number that’s on the sticker.

2014 Kia Cadenza Front

The exterior looks fantastic with a very European performance car flair although it’s definitely not a sports sedan. The lines are clean and smooth with a wide stance and a blunt hood with a wide grille trimmed in just enough chrome, but not too much. It’s not garish or flashy, but elegant and subdued even with the optional 19″ alloy wheels.

2014 Kia Cadenza Wheel

Once you open the door and take a seat you are surrounded by the full luxury car treatment. There are soft touch surfaces everywhere with a combination of leather and wood finishes that never become garish. Once again this is luxury, but in the most tasteful way possible without becoming ostentatious.

Leather trimmed, heated, front seats are both power adjustable with ventilation and heated rear seats available. There’s dual-zone climate control, a navigation system with 8″ display, Infinity surround sound audio system, UVO eServices Telematics with rear camera display, Sirius/XM satellite radio with a 3-month subscription, Bluetooth, push button start with smart key, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. Features? The 2014 KIA Cadenza has plenty.

2014 Kia Cadenza Rear Quarter

There’s also plenty of safety with airbas, ABS brakes, traction control, electronic stability control and vehicle stability management all standard. Additionally there are LED positioning headlights, front fog lights, power-folding mirrors with turn signal indicators, LED tail lights and a backup warning system.

2014 Kia Cadenza Rear

The 2014 KIA Cadenza is powered by a 3.3L direct injected V6 with 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission w/Sportmatic. Torque is lacking at the low end of the range so it’s not quick off the line, but once you hit the sweet spot it’s a powerful and fun ride. Yet, if you’re looking for a performance sedan, all you need do is take a corner to realize that the Cadenza doesn’t qualify. The Nissan Maxima is a better choice for a sporty sedan at the same price, but it won’t match up on luxury.

2014 Kia Cadenza Engine

Body control is good, but it handles unmistakably like a large sedan without the responsiveness of more performance oriented vehicles. Steering feel is good and the majority of the time it’s more than adequate, but on hard corners at higher speeds it doesn’t have quite the chops performance buyers seek. Braking is solid and manages the bulk of the sedan effortlessly.

The ride and comfort in the 2014 KIA Cadenza are somewhere between performance and cushy sedan. It doesn’t have the overblown, couch-on-wheels feel of some large but avoids the stiffness of performance vehicles, managing to provide a comfortable and easy ride for all passengers. It’s also a blissfully quiet ride with minimal road and wind noise that make carrying on a conversation with rear passengers easy. The Hyundai Azera comes close to the Cadenza here though with not quite the ambiance.

2014 Kia Cadenza Interior

Yes, it has all the hallmarks of a luxury sedan, save for the price. The base Premium trim, which is already loaded with features, starts at $35,100. Technology and Luxury packages are available at $3,000 each. The Technology package adds smart cruise control, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, electronic parking brake, hydrophobic front door windows and 19″ alloy wheels.

2014 Kia Cadenza Front Quarter

The Luxury package adds an even longer list of features that includes panoramic roof with power sunshade, HID headlights with adaptive lighting system, Nappa leather seat and interior trim, power driver’s seat cushion extension, ventilated driver’s seat, heated rear seats and steering wheel, power tilt and telescopic steering column, supervision meter cluster with 7″ color LCD, integrated memory system and power rear window sunshade.

Those are a lot of features, and even with both packages you’re looking at $41,900 total. That’s easily tens of thousands of dollars less than what you’d have to pay to get a comparably equipped vehicle from other brands.

The 2014 KIA Cadenza delivers a genuine luxury car experience, with all the features, comfort and technology you’d expect at an entirely unexpected price.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2014 KIA Cadenza a Buy It!Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.