Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kia gets fancy with its new Cadenza

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

This review originally appeared in the September 2013 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Kia has an all-new-for-2014 flagship offering called the Cadenza, and for those of you familiar with the typical Kia offering, prepare to be surprised.

This full-size sedan  with a handsome two-tier grille and jewel-like wheels is downright luxurious, loaded with pleasing comfort and convenience features.  From its perfectly fitted headlights to its nicely sculpted back end, the Cadenza is a head-turning bit of classy artwork.

Be advised: The price of the front-driver is not a bargain-basement deal, starting at $35,100.  And with the addition of a Technology Package and Luxury Package (my tester had both), the bottom line on the sticker swells to just shy of $42,000.

Call it a fancy Kia with a lot of extras.  Yes, I liked my week in it, with the full understanding that Kia needs a high-end offering in its vehicle lineup.

The 3.3-liter V-6 rated at 293 horsepower gives you more than you need to be sure, but you have to put your foot pretty deep down the well to get the full, press-me-to-the-seat rush.  The power plant provides more than enough to hold your own in a busy rush-hour commute, and hill climbs are likewise butter in the hands of the six-banger.  The Cadenza is pleasingly firm in slalom maneuvers.

The Technology Package is a nicely loaded mix, with a good blind spot detection system.  Only a couple times did it give me an unnecessary alarm when I was blazing past stragglers.  The lane departure warning system was not too sensitive, a big plus in my book.  I hate other systems that don’t understand the concept of a freeway exit.

The Luxury Package was likewise good.  I don’t expect to see a power tilt/telescoping, heated steering wheel in a Kia.  White interior leather touches?  Yeah, cool and classy.

Another cool thing with the tester: power exterior mirrors automatically unfolding as I approached the Cadenza on foot.  So with a proximity sensor fob capable of engineering that trick, you’d think the driver’s door would automatically unlock when my hand touched the door.  Alas, it doesn’t do that.

No big deal, I guess.  But if you have a system that unfolds the mirrors before you touch the car, you’d think they add the already established system that unlocks the driver’s door when hand skin touches door metal.  That absence produces the same reaction as opening a hotel mini-bar stocked only with 2 percent milk.  Just saying.

One other thing: You kind of have to dig deep in the center-mounted audio/navigation control systems to get what you want.  It might take you a few days of playing around and consulting the owner’s manual.  But once you get the pattern down, you’ll do fine.

Overall, a solid B-plus grade for this new arrival.  Hey Kia, any chance of putting a V-8 in it up the road?  I’d like that.

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