The appearance of our long-term Cadenza had everyone in the office buzzing, in a way that we really haven't with a new Kia before. A $41,950 Kia -- who wouldn't be eager to check that out? Even people outside of Automobile Magazine's walls wanted to get into the plush sedan.
Just a few days after the car arrived, friend of the magazine Charley Sullivan whisked the Cadenza away for a weekend in Chicago. He knew nothing about the car -- but he did know something about the name. "Cadenza," said Sullivan, "is a virtuoso and improvised section of a concerto in which the soloist shows off his or her individuality, technical brilliance, bravado, and style. Driving this car should therefore make us feel like Vladimir Horowitz or Yoyo Ma at Carnegie Hall, take the brilliance of Mozart or Beethoven to new levels, and stir our souls. While I like the car, and while I think its power and responsiveness are great, it's not a specially tuned Steinway. It's simply a well thought out and tailored production car that's far more desirable than previous Kia offerings."
He enjoyed using the Cadenza's infotainment system and called the navigation "completely intuitive." After the car returned to Ann Arbor, editor-in-chief Jean Jennings drove it and concurred that the Cadenza's media interface is well done. "I paired my phone, plugged it into the USB port, and quickly sorted out how to toggle between my iPhone music playlist and the nav."
Assistant web editor Jake Holmes also likes the Cadenza's entertainment system, but the car's suspension impressed him more. "This Cadenza has the best ride of any Kia I've ever driven -- heck, of any Korean car I've ever driven." Contributor Preston Lerner thought the chassis tuning was somewhere between that of a luxury car and a sport sedan. Mostly, though, he enthused about the whole package. "Exterior styling is dramatic by segment standards, and the corporate grille manages to be distinctive without looking goofy or overwrought. The interior is especially attractive, with a contemporary look that contrasts well with the stodgier Toyota Avalon. It's not perfect in some small details, but it's a very impressive effort for the company's first car in this segment."
Our glowing comments caught the attention of senior editor Joe Lorio, who quickly requested the Cadenza come stay with him in New York for a while. We'll see whether Kia's latest is as big of a hit on the East Coast as it has been here.