If you haven't noticed KIA and Hyundai have been lighting the world on fire these last couple years and proving to be a huge headache for companies like Honda and Toyota.
And what they have done to make these great achievements possible is plain and simple. They have built some beautiful cars that give way more for the money than the competition.
Full 2014 KIA Cadenza Photo Gallery
Just take a look at the the KIA Optima. The game changer for the entire company.
Designed by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, it is without question one of the most beautiful cars on the market today. An ESPECIALLY unique attribute for a car that sells for mid $20's street price. Talk about taking the game to the next level and bringing the rest of the market up with it!
All of sudden because of Optima and Sonata, companies like Ford had the fear of God struck in them and now are making cars like the gorgeous Fusion.
That's what makes competition great. And in the end because of it the customer wins. Before Optima and Sonata, consumers were relegated to driving uninspired and unemotional sedans in this price range.
My, how this segment has changed. And changed for the better.
So how do you follow that up?
For KIA, you add more models and go upmarket. And upmarket is exactly where they went with the all new Cadenza.
Similar in size and power to the Hyundai Genesis, the Cadenza takes on a newer, fresher interpretation.
Think of the Genesis as the Mercedes E and the Cadenza as the BMW 5. Cadenza reminds me of a better looking and more European driving feel Genesis. It looks younger and more athletic, and it drives and handles MUCH better than the Genesis. It's not too taught or stiff, just a nicely controlled comfortable daily driver with lots of luxury appointments found on much more expensive products.
The one that stuck out most to me is their active cruise system. Not just ANY ACC, but full stop and go capability.
That is unheard of in a car in the low 40's.
I consider myself an ACC connoisseur, driving the first stop and go version back in 2008 on the 5-Series, A6 and Q7.
The KIA system is outstanding and as good as the German versions.
But you won't have to buy a 70k 5-Series to get it.
The Cadenza is a very attractive expensive looking car but in my opinion I still think the Optima is their best looking car.
That said, starting at $35k and topping out fully loaded at $41,900, the Cadenza will cause disruption in the marketplace.
And the brands that need to worry?
Acura, Lexus, Toyota, Cadillac, Infiniti, Buick, Ford, Chevrolet and HYUNDAI.
Hands down if I were cross shopping Cadenza vs. Genesis, 001 is driving the Cadenza home.
Better than Genesis on every single mark.
But in the end, here is the dilemma I would face and what I would recommend to you if you are in market for one of these cars.
Cadenza on paper and on road is a very good looking excellent product.
But KIA has yet to gain the brand cachet of the premium marques so I couldn't see myself putting it in the mix if I was looking to buy a near premium car.
2014 KIA Cadenza
Elegant and stylish looks
Lots of bang for the buck
Awesome Active Cruise availability
Nappa Leather has one of the nicest feels of any car interior I've been inside
Front seats need more adjustment capability. I couldn't find a comfortable position no matter how I set it up
Dual zone thermostat wasn't very effective. With driver side set at 74 and passenger set at LOW you could hardly feel a difference coming out of the vents.
19MPG city rating on a 2014 car...MEH. Sorry, we're all getting spoiled and expect AT LEAST mid 20's city going forward.
As I look across the board at ALL these brands in this price point the only two cars I would consider are the KIA Optima Hybrid or Ford Fusion Hybrid.
All the stuff in this segment to me is pure appliance with practicality.
Yes, the Cadenza is better, more powerful and luxurious than Optima or Fusion Hybrid, but I would choose amazing fuel economy and looks over the luxury amenities and power.
And the Optima and Fusion are still better looking cars in this reviewers humble opinion.
Final Grade: B+