KIA EXPANDS ITS REPERTOIRE
2014 Kia Cadenza
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Feb 3, 2014
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Zoran J. Segina
In a concerto, cadenza refers to a portion in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone. It was initially improvised, but nowadays the well-known cadenzas are written out in full. Some of these have become effectively part of the standard repertoire. Upon encountering the 2014 Kia Cadenza—a Korean luxury sedan—one finds it aptly named (beyond revealing its creators’ love, and talent for, classical music) because this product represents an exuberant, seemingly unexpected, and improvised addition to a repertoire, while actually being well-thought out.
The initial reaction of otherwise good-natured people is unflattering: “What’s wrong with it?” The Cadenza shares its luxury-laden platform with the Hyundai Genesis. A very pleasing line is complemented by angular accents on the hood cover. Headlights are encased in the bezel surrounded with white lining that glows when turned on. The rear end of the car is swooping into a tightly designed rear with a mere hint of a raised trunk cover. The chrome accents on the side are followed around to the back and the large fender area has two oval exhaust openings at the bottom. The rear light assembly has a nice trapezoidal look which makes the rear visually smaller.
Inside the luxury cabin the search continues for potential fallacies. Despite a high belt line, nowadays so customary among modern sedans, the interior does not leave occupants feeling claustrophobic. Open the door and the dashboard lights up, alerting the driver that the system is on, while, on the door sills, a glowing Cadenza logo reinforces the sense of luxury. Start the engine and the electronic dashboard magically appears. The numbers on the instrument panel—with tachometer on the left, speedometer in the center, and an engine temperature and the fuel gauge on the right—can be made larger for aging users with deteriorating eyesight. Another convenience offered to agility-challenged drivers is a seat that slides back upon entry. Driver seat has lumbar support adjustment and extension thigh support for the long trips.
The instrument display shows average consumption, available range, and offers a series of user settings allowing the driver to adjust the Cadenza to his or her own preference. For example rear view mirrors offer lane change and side traffic warning alerts, and can be programmed to fold. The controls on the leather steering wheel with wood accents on top are simple with volume and station control on the left and cruise control on the right.
Below the navigation display sits a climate control setting with an analog clock in the center and the CD player for the audio system with a blue tooth connection, high definition and satellite radio. Further down, one can adjust classic round buttons for the radio and various other controls, such as destination, route, information on the roadside assistance, and services. With the power off, the Cadenza even offers an image of the Kia logo on the screen. The touch screen is intuitive and highly reactive, and the keyboard—to type the addresses—can be set to QWERTY or ABC system. Under the center console, clad in dark wood, one finds a 12V plug, and USB ports.
The cabin is roomy, a sense augmented by an interplay of dark and white leather on the seats and suede-like upholstery which also covers a large panoramic sun- and moon roof. Back seats are comfortable with plenty of space. Between rear seats there is an opening for the access to the trunk for transporting long items like a pair of skis. Back seat passengers can protect themselves from the harsh sun rays by raising shades.
Both front seats and the steering wheel can be heated while driver seat can also be cooled. Cadenzas (and other parts of the concerto) are piped through an impressive Infinity audio system with the speakers seemingly everywhere—underneath the rear glass, two in each door, thus four speakers for the rear seats, same number for the front plus a big speaker on top of the dashboard.
Nearly 300 hp from the 3.3 liter V6 provides plenty of power, but consumption suffers. A driver can shift gears with a paddle shifter on the wheel through a Sportmatic transmission, or (preferably) leave the shifter in fully automatic mode because soft suspension creates a challenge for a spirited driver. Overall, the Cadenza feels luxurious and leaves its users with a sense they travel in a high-end automobile. On the freeway, following another Kia Cadenza, I marvel how nice the car looks.
There is room for improvement, though. My right knee repeatedly hits some plastic protrusion on the lower side of the dashboard. The key fob design malfunction—more specifically a side button that detaches the fob from the key ring—results in two frantic searches for the lost item. A specialty package allows for remote entry and exit with a push button on the door to unlock the car—made useless if the key fob fell off. The satellite reception on the XM radio is spotty, and the navigator’s pronunciation of the Sepulveda Boulevard and other local street names leaves the passengers in stitches.
And then there is radar. Intelligent cruise control on the Cadenza initially seems straightforward. Set the cruise control and the desired distance from the vehicle in front of you, and the Cadenza will accelerate, slow down, even stop, and resume going if stopped for less than three seconds. In the intense local freeway traffic, adjusting the distance to a conservative setting leaves so much room in between that everybody cuts in. The solution is to program in the shortest distance, which eliminates the intruders, but frequently raises the driver’s adrenaline to heretofore untested levels.
RAdio Detection And Ranging—hence radar (did you know this?)—operates by emitting a microwave signal that bounces off a target and returns to the unit. By analyzing the return signal strength, the radar calculates the distance between the master unit and the target, and—in the moving Cadenza—also calculates respective speed and distance. The radar thereupon sends a signal to the brake system to apply the brakes and slows the car down. If this sounds complex and complicated – it is. The whole process described above has to take place in a very short time to be effective. Unfortunately, like any other complex technological system, radar is not infallible. If the target is at an angle, or covered with microwave absorbing material (think of a stealth fighter—why so many angled surfaces and fancy paint cover), the reflected signal may not be strong enough to trigger the requisite calculations. Cruising at seventy in the automatic mode, the driver feels most comfortable following a fifty-three-foot-long and fourteen-foot high trailer with a shiny metal door—now that’s a radar target. Any car changing lanes, and coming at an angle, or a motorcyclist sneaking in creates some unforgettable driving episodes. Of the kind that the driver would like to forget but cannot.
This entire luxury package the comes with a sticker price of smidgen below forty-two grand which is the cause of incredulity with the otherwise good natured folks who encounter the 2014 Kia Cadenza. The car should either cost more, or because of its origin, cannot be that good. Yes, it is prejudice. After a detailed inspection they will mutter: "I cannot find anything wrong," or "Like, I am not in the car." All of which shows that the 2014 Cadenza to be a great addition to the Kia's luxury opus.
For information about Kia products, go to www.kia.com
Name of vehicle:
2014 Kia Cadenza
$41,900.00 (as tested)
EPA mileage estimates (city/highway):
19/28 miles per gallon
(LA Car observed: 15.8 mpg)
3.3-liter direct injected V6 engine, double overhead camshaft
293 @ 6400 rpm
255 pound-feet @ 5200 rpm
Front wheel drive
Electronically controlled 6-speed automatic overdrive with Sportmatic™
Rack and pinion, motor driven power steering
Front: Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear: Independent multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Wheels and tires:
19 inch alloy wheels with Hankook Optimo P245/40R19 V-rated tires.
Front: 12.6 in. vented discs
Rear: 11.2 in. solid discs